Sheila was a young girl growing up in an average city in America. She had friends, got good grades, played sports—on the outset, she was a perfectly normal little girl doing perfectly normal little-girl things. But what she kept hidden from her friends, family, and especially her mother, was that she was being molested repeatedly by her stepfather.
To avoid the pain, she ran away from home when she was 12, only to be scooped up by another man, Michael, who promised to keep her safe. Like many young victims of sexual abuse, Sheila saw in Michael someone she could trust—someone who would take care of her and love her, unlike her stepfather. What she didn’t realize was that the kind man who supposedly rescued her was actually running a child prostitution ring from his home.
“Michael took me to a fancy townhome,” wrote Sheila. “There were seven other girls my age there. I thought, This is like a boarding place for girls who need help. I never noticed that the doors were bolted from the outside . . . About 30 minutes later, the front door opened. Three men staggered in, laughing. ‘Well, hi there, honey,’ one said. His words were friendly, but his voice was not. These men made me nervous. Something didn’t seem right. My instinct was correct. All of a sudden, one of the men grabbed me by the arm and roughly steered me into a bedroom. Before I knew what was happening, they pushed me onto the bed and held me down. They pulled my clothes off. Then they raped me repeatedly.”
It took months for Sheila to flee Michael and seek out help. And as heartbreaking as her story is, Sheila is not unique. In fact, she represents just one of the millions of girls forced into the sex trade each year.
There are 27 million men, women, and children worldwide who are trapped in some form of slavery, which means there are more slaves now than at any other time in human history. In the US alone, there are well over 100,000 children forced into sex slavery, and worldwide, the sex trade generates an estimated $32 billion in profit each year.
These aren’t just statistics—this is the heartbreaking and tragic reality of the modern world.
The White Umbrella: Standing with Survivors of Sex Trafficking by Mary Frances Bowley tells the stories of survivors of sex trafficking, like Sheila, and the people who helped them through recovery. It details the heartbreak, pain, and triumph experienced by young women from across the nation.
The White Umbrella not only documents the untold stories of survivors of the sex trade, it offers guidance for anyone who has a heart for helping young women and slaves, and it’s the perfect resource for organizations and individuals seeking to understand how to help victims of sex trafficking.
According to Andy Stanley, “The White Umbrella will break your heart and inspire you to do something.”
Profits from the sale of The White Umbrella go directly to Wellspring Living—a recovery home that confronts the issue of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation through awareness, training, and treatment programs for women and girls.
Learn how you can help bring an end to the sex trade: download The White Umbrella today.