How You Can Help . . .

Each of the resources can give tips on what to look for and how to safely make a difference. I do not have the experience that these folks do.

From my own personal experience in hindsight, in the future, I will carry cards of encouragement on how to get rescued, engaged this affable young woman in conversation while in the restroom. Does she need help? How did she get that significant triangular-shaped scar on her forehead? If she indicated she did want help, while her driver was in the men's room (though at the time, her driver's status was unknown to me), I would have called the TN Hotline on her behalf providing the exact location, the direction she was travelling with the license plate # and model of the vehicle. If she felt comfortable, I may have engaged one of my friendly trained Rottweilers as a distraction to keep stalling. When her driver returned from the restroom, out of safety, I would have ended that interaction with my dog and made a quick and light-hearted departure.

As for the two individual men just sitting at the pullouts, waiting for only God knows what, out of caution, I would take down their vehicle information. It may be for naught, but then again they may have well been there for nefarious reasons.

After leaving the area and not having a clue as to what had likely taken place, both Mike and I felt the least we could do is to learn about the subject and make contributions from our Giving Fund to to organizations that are involved in rescue, sheltering and rehabilitating these desperately sad victims.

If you know of someone who has an incident like my friend, Melanie, tell them to call the hotline immediately. The hotline can determine if it is just a "family matter", or whether law enforcement action is needed. Never pass the buck when it comes to children's well being.

PLEASE SUPPORT ONE OF THE NUMEROUS CHARITIES LISTED IN RESOURCES.

Find one that calls to your heart. Donate to their 501(c)3 (any amount is so appreciated). These folks are doing work that is vital to rehabilitation and teaching what trust and love can be about. Many of these victims have never known what a family is. Several of the charities have a schedule to provide meals to a neutral location. For the safety of staff and their rescues, please understand that many rescues need to cloak their location in secrecy. Several offer clothing exchanges which might appeal to some. Ask the individual charities what they need. If they make products, purchase their products as gifts for your friends and family. I know there are likely other ways to support, but these are the first ones upon which I stumbled.

Write your local, state and national state legislators to enact laws for stiffer penalties for those trafficking. Ask to ensure signage is posted in public places so victims can see and hopefully get free.

My parting words are that I pray everyday for the young woman we encountered on the Natchez Trace. Her scarred face is forever engraved in my mind and I pray that someday, I will see that face on one of the "Rescued" pages. I have faith . . .