Survivors of Trauma: You are more than your story

By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times

Microphone

WASHINGTON, August 16, 2012 - This is a letter to trafficking survivors interested in speaking (continued from July 19th).

Dear Survivor,

It is very important that you realize you have more to offer audiences than just your “survivor story.”  You bring to the table a unique and vital perspective to the many issues and topics surrounding human trafficking.

You have the ability to make a difference in the lives of those who are vulnerable to falling victim to predators, those who have already been victimized, those who want to better protect and care for victims, and those who want to prosecute the predators.

Your story matters in so many more ways than just providing an example of human trafficking. You are the expert in topics like prevention strategies, victim aftercare needs, and prosecution pitfalls, as they relate to your life experience.

Read the article on the Washington Times website

Interview with Keisha Head: Professional speaker and trafficking survivor

By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times

Keisha Head Headshot

WASHINGTON, DC, 8 August 2012 – I first met Keisha Head at a conference in San Antonio, TX where she and Stacy Lewis presented a segment on professional speaking and interviewing to survivors and advocates for survivors of sex trafficking.  Keisha’s grace and posture were both inviting and powerful.  A passionate advocate for survivors of sex trafficking, Keisha Head was awarded the Paul Howard Voices for Victims award by the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.

“I am not a survivor because I escaped something horrific,” Keisha stated, “I am a survivor because I allowed my pain and losses to transform me into God’s instrument of greatness.”

Read the article on the Washington Times website

Interview with survivor Stacy Lewis: Stolen – From Playgrounds to Streetlights in DC this weekend!

By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times

Girl in hoodie in tunnel

WASHINGTON, August 1, 2012 – “When I was child, I loved to act,” Stacy said, “I actually went to California and trained with actress Penny Johnson for a summer.”

From movies to plays, Stacy said she loved to watch the dramatic arts.   Her first play in middle school sparked her dreams to act. Stacy entered several competitions which led to her student internship with American actress Penny Johnson.

Raised in the DC metropolitan area from age five, Stacy’s dreams to become an actress were cut short at the age of 19.  After accepting a ride from an elderly man in the neighborhood, Stacy was held at gunpoint.

She explains how the man’s gentle and grandpa-like personality suddenly changed to a violent nature.  Stacy said she learned that the man had been paid by a trafficker to abduct her.

Read the article on the Washington Times website