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In the Dark

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Diane Dinndorf Friebe

Sex trafficking…

In Thailand? Yes.

In China? Yes.

On the North Shore? No! Of course not!

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Sex trafficking…

In movies? Yes.

In the newspapers? Yes.

But in my back yard? No! Of course not!

On those ships I see out on the lake? No!

In these northern woods I call home? No!

But I was in the dark.

Just as in the dark as they keep the girls when they take them

From their lives

Their fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers

Promising money and a better life

A way out of any situation

They lie and lie to get the girls in

And then don’t let them out

Those young, vulnerable girls are tricked

Baited and switched

Offered a helping hand, then given a life in hell

And it’s not just on TV or in Thailand

It is here

It is in my back yard

Our back yard

Many of those taken are Native American girls

They are taken, have been taken, for generations

To feed the male dominated industries and pastimes

Shipping, logging, mining, hunting, fishing

All so synonymous with northern MN

Also synonymous with sex trafficking

A link I had never known before that afternoon in Duluth

I’d gone to see my niece in a play

She played a detective interviewing a bottom,

A recruiter for a sex trafficking ring

Where they took young girls and used them up

For the pleasure of men

The girls destroyed, disposable

Another cash business

The product: young girls

But this play is not fiction

Not a story from a writer’s imagination

This play is reality

Researched and written to show me

To show us all

What is happening

In our back yard

While I look out at the white snow

I contemplate this black stain in our lives

This dirty secret of the vacationland that is the Arrowhead

Colorful brochures show the beauty of our area

But no pages tell of the ugliness of our area

Girls, lost to sex trafficking

Young lives ruined

A terror in our midst

Shock turns to confusion

Settling to an awful awareness

A desire to do something

Help stop this situation

But awareness, given time

Can become apathy

Just one more horrible story

In the newspaper

Forgotten about at the end of the paragraph

We can’t let that happen.

Not for these girls.

Instead of apathy, let’s have action.

Take a step.

Help stop sex trafficking

Here on the North Shore

In our back yard.

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