I’m Gwen Adams the Executive Director of Priceless and I HATE MY JOB. It’s simply a terrible, terrible job. Let me help you understand.
⇒ My team and I spend time hearing the worst stories: Stories that have cause me, I admit it, some secondary trauma for which I’ve had to meet with a therapist. Stories of such graphic dehumanizing sexual torture that I couldn’t simply go home and share my day. Or attend the BBQ and chitty chat.
⇒ It’s not all that safe. Most of our clients are referred in from the State Troopers or FBI and therefore they are attached to an open case against a trafficker….whom we are attempting to take his merchandise, his merchandise worth an average of 200G’s a year. I work in an unmarked office without windows inside of a locked building. I hate it. I hate that I have to look over my shoulder or never sit with my back to a doorway. I hate living with necessary paranoia.
⇒ The messes we have to sort through are endless. When a client comes our way, she most often comes with huge obstacles, drug addiction, medical issues, homelessness, mental illness, no documentation and such a deep sense of hopelessness that she looks at us as another paid person trying to get inside her head.
⇒ We spend time on pornographic websites. We have a team looking for our girls who have gone missing or women who are clearly being trafficked. We look for markings, tattoos and bruises and other signs that she is owned. Then, who likes cold calls? We call and offer help and a way out.
⇒ I abhor reading legislation and senate or house bills trying to understand ridiculous language where loopholes for traffickers are hidden. Yes, there are traffickers lobbying in Juneau as we speak.
⇒ As a team, we have to know what gangs are moving into town, what symbols they use, where they tattoo their victims and how the internet is being used. I have to constantly be looking at the next trends in trafficking, watching how the profitability of this crime has now reached epidemic proportions. We have seen even high school students traffic classmates or engage in sextortion through the internet. I don’t even what to know this junk, let alone study it.
⇒ I listen to heartbroken parents and grandparents tell the same story over and over again about a run away teen who they believed lured and tricked into a life of trafficking.
⇒ I have had to sit in the ER or API with a young woman who has yet again, attempted suicide to get out of appearing in court to testify against a trafficker, scared to death (literally) over facing her monster.
⇒ AND… to top it all off, for the privilege of doing a job I hate, I have to raise money or said job goes away. It goes away for the dozens of survivors who need Priceless to just be there. I have to raise funds in a climate of economic uncertainty for a crime that so many people still think happens overseas – NOT ON ALASKAN SOIL.
So Why do I do it? Why does my team of 3 paid staff and 8 non-paid staff and over 200 volunteers do this?
⇒ We do it because people matter. They should never be owned, locked in hotel rooms and sold to mop up the perverted needs of sex addict for fuel the power-hungry gangs.
⇒ We do it because this is our state where we want to raise our children in safety. It does not belong to traffickers and we won’t sit around and let them take over. We refuse to have Alaskan soil be known for this crime along with all of our other terrible statistics around sexual abuse.
⇒ We do it because who else will if we don’t?
Let me get a little personal here. I do this because I know the heart of my God is broken over this issue and He is on a mission of freedom. He asked if I would join Him, suffer with Him, fight with Him and even cheer with Him as each small victory is won. I simply said YES.
⇒ I may hate my job, but I love watching God work.
⇒ I love watching dreams change from: “I dream of a day when I can sleep behind a door with a dead bolt where no-one can come in and hurt me,” to, “I dream of getting my nursing degree.”
⇒ I love getting notes or hearing of my teammate getting notes that say,
“I got my child back from Foster care.”
“I got a job!”
“I’m clean and sober.”
“Thank you for loving me even though I hated you.”
“Where would I be without you?”
“You are the first person to reach out to me who didn’t expect something in return.”
“I know I would be dead if I had not been introduced to Priceless.”
⇒ I love being with a team of amazing mentors talk about stories of breakthrough and a team that can cry together.
⇒ I love watching government officials, law enforcement and a multitude of non-profits finally starting to understand what it looks like to work together.
⇒ I love, love, love watching the faith community get past the walls of their churches and see that they can make a difference and stand together and say, “It might not be our fault but it is our problem and we own it.”
Post originally published at gwenadamsfiles.com.
I love how Gwen’s story gets straight to God’s heart of bringing justice and freedom into our world. Yet so many followers of Jesus believe in a gospel that says following Jesus means being comfortable. Her story is one of willing embracing suffering because of God’s heart and joining his work. There is brokenness in our community wherever you may live which God is longing to redeem. Read Gwen’s practical advice for how you can join in God’s mission as she uses the beginnings of Priceless as an example.