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As I started planning for that, however, it became very clear that the issue was enormous, encompassing many aspects and requiring much wisdom that I didn't feel as though I had the authority to express. But then this week this happened.
A dear friend of mine works in a small town emergency department. She told me this story of what happened to her the other day while she was at work. In her words....
"I think I've been drugged" my patient said.
Usually I'm skeptical when people start off with this reason for coming in to the ED, but I waited to hear more.
She started backing it up. "I went to a bar with a friend tonight. I've been unemployed and feeling really depressed lately and he wanted to cheer me up, so we went out. I went to the bathroom and he got me a drink. The drink tasted kind of funny to me, but I took it anyway. After a little while we left and went to another bar.
On the way to second the bar he told me he knew of a place I could go for work. I could get a fresh start. I could do something very lucrative. I could begin new.
He also told me that I shouldn't tell anyone. That I should just get started and contact my family later.
I started to feel more light headed and he took me home. I decided to come here to see what was wrong with me."
While my patient was talking to me, her phone started ringing. She answered it.
"Yes. I'm fine. I'm at home. In my kitchen. Yes, I still feel weird. Okay. Bye."
I asked what he said.
"He asked me where I was. Then he wanted to know where EXACTLY I was in my house when I told him I was home. He told me to stay right there and relax and just fall asleep when I wanted to."
I told her not to go home. Not to interact with this person, go with him anywhere, take anything he wanted to give her. Nothing. I told her about trafficking. She had heard of it before, but thought it only happened in third world countries. Karyn, I'm pretty sure I saw the potential face of trafficking tonight.
The myth that this doesn't happen here, or in the community YOU are in is a lie. Countless women and children are exploited into trafficking every day. Here.
So, I'm not a studied authority. I'm just a regular person. I can't promise to have all the answers, but I can give you a platform to start off with. I can give you a conversation to begin in order to figure out how to combat this in your own life, in your own families.
So, that's what we're going to do.