“I was 8 when I learned the world wouldn’t always be sunshine and rainbows.
There was a young girl abducted not too far away from where I grew up. At that time, I found her missing child poster everywhere. I can remember standing outside of my 3rd grade class room looking at that poster knowing she was still alive. The thought I remember the loudest though, was “I’ll bet you she’s screaming and no one can hear her.”
That thought changed my life and made me who I am today. As I grew up, I kept coming back to her story and the feeling of wanting to save her but being too young to know how. I chose to go to college so I could give a voice to those I felt like got theirs taken away, in honor of the girl I heard of so many years ago.
It was my freshman year of college and I was sitting on my bed when my mom called me to tell me to turn on the news. She exclaimed, “Devan she was found! She’s alive, she’s safe! Honey, she’s going home!” And in that moment, 10 years later, I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be.
As graduation approached, the last paper I had to write was a twenty page ethics paper. I chose to write it on The Ethics of Human Trafficking. Completing that essay showed me that it was not just a few kids who no longer had a say in their life. It was moms, daughters, dads, sons, rich, old, poor, young, individuals from all ethnic backgrounds and my heart broke again.
So I went on to become a Police Officer. I sat down with every detective I could find to learn about the ins and outs of creating a case involving human trafficking. I learned that it wasn’t an easy case to build. And an even harder case to prosecute.
I also worked with the victims. In a facility that helped Ohio children ages 8 to 18 years old, 6 beds at all times were reserved from trafficking victims. I heard stories from many kids who were still learning that what happened to them is not their fault and that life can be different for them from here on out. But I was also able to love on them and watch them be a kid again. Which was beautiful.
I teach anti-human trafficking trainings, lead SOAP outreaches, and help coordinate Cleveland’s Walk for Freedom because I know that there are people out there silently screaming for help, and if I can equip one person with the knowledge needed to help save a single individual, then I have done what God has called me to do.”