Kiara (Save Our Girls)

The following is based on a true story.

No one knew where Kiara went

 When she was born, it was like the neighborhood received its own personal sun

She was a much-needed piece of love after the summer they had

Big Wheels, ice pops, and the rapid-fire tap-tapping of Skechers dodging fast spun ropes

Double Dutch ended because breasts and hips came early – Earlier than her granny would have liked

No one knew where Kiara went

The first time, she was ten. It was a cousin. He blamed her for being ‘too thick’/granny stopped it and spanked her for being ‘too fast’

The second time she was eleven/It was a counselor at camp—he blamed her for seducing him—she was sent home two weeks early

The third time she was twelve. It hurt. He gave her money and praise.

No one knew where Kiara went

After the third time, she developed a reputation. She was ‘star’ material

Passed around from boy to boy, from house to house, from terror to horror

After the umpteenth time, she turned herself into a stone/she boxed her feelings and left them next to the moldy mattress in the basement of some unnamed house

No one knew where Kiara went

All of a sudden it stopped. He bought her nice clothes, took her to nice places to eat

He gave her an iPod with all of her favorite songs. He told her that she was the best, that he loved her, that she had the ability to make any man happy. He offered her a hug and she jumped into his arms. She cried there until she felt something stab her and the world went sideways.

No one knew where Kiara went

From car to truck to another truck to a bus—landscapes became a blur

Hands touched her, grabbed her, pulled her, lifted her and laid her down

Tears glazed her eyes, but they knew better than to fall/it wasn’t safe

Ceilings and cellars became more familiar/ as memories of her past began to fade

No one knew where Kiara went

Hollow was not an accurate description for what she felt/neither was empty

She felt like she was watching her ghost dance in an unfamiliar home

She was too strong to say goodbye to what was/no longer cared about what was driven out of her

No one knew where Kiara went

After a while, her granny stopped waiting up for her. Even she, with her church foundation, knew that reality is sometimes stronger than God/But she would never admit it

Granny laid an outfit on Kiara’s bed/bought her a new pair of shoes—she should be about a 10 or 11 now—and put her double dutch ropes next to the bed

She looked around her home—it felt as if all the smiles that had ever been had been stolen

The neighborhood was dimmer now/more grey

No one knows where Kiara is

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Children are trafficked every day. There are very few programs that address this horror, and its aftermath. The programs that do address it aren't well-funded. If you can, please donate. If you cannot donate, please spread the word. Here are a few places to start:

Misssey 

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 

SF Collaborative Against Human Trafficking