Mara Hutchins is a wife, a mother and a business owner. She’s also a survivor of child sex trafficking. When she was just 13, she was sold up and down the I-5 corridor. It affected her life for decades and spurred her to become a passionate advocate on the topic — and a resource to help other girls in a similar situation.
“It took me 20-something years just to kind of work through a lot of the trauma and a lot of the pain and guilt and shame,” she told KOIN 6 News. “It’s something I’m actually quite passionate about, the fact that victims of child trafficking can become survivors.” Hutchins said her life might have been different if she had had access to something like Door To Grace, a faith-based nonprofit that offers day services to commercially exploited teenage girls.
“They come with so much shame and so much negative feelings about themselves that they don’t really feel like they’re worth it,” said Jody Noon, the executive director of Door To Grace. “There are traumatic bonds that they have with biological family, their pimp.” Specially trained volunteers work to show the girls they do deserve better. Door To Grace has become a state-licensed child caring agency, certifying private homes for the girls to live.
Breaking the cycle isn’t easy. But for Door To Grace, giving up is not an option. “It’s really exciting to see there’s something out there really making a difference and giving these girls hope,” Mara Hutchins said.
Learn more at Amy Frazier’s KOIN News article: Girls escape sex trafficking through Door to Grace.