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Everyday Abolitionist: Susan Norris
Everyday Abolitionist is a recurring feature on the blog where we’ll hear firsthand from someone using their skills, talents, and opportunities to fight trafficking. This time around we have Susan Norris who is a mom, public speaker, and author of Rescuing Hope, a young adult novel about sex trafficking in the United States.
Here’s Susan‘s full bio: A powerful voice for hope, international speaker Susan Norris helps teens and women find freedom from strongholds in the areas of purity and spiritual identity. In her debut novel, Rescuing Hope, she frames the realities of sex trafficking in America. This woman of boldness, known to many as Miss Susan, spent countless hours with survivors, their families, detectives and a former pimp, emerging a voice for victims and a catalyst for action among her peers. She networks on behalf of organizations such as Resolution Hope, Not for Sale, and Out of Darkness, lobbies for stronger laws to protect victims and walks alongside rescued girls as they piece together shattered lives. Having graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Master’s of Education, Susan taught in public and private schools and served as a leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes before being called to full time ministry. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia, and considers them to be her highest calling. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
How did you first find out about human trafficking?
I first heard the phrase Human Sex Trafficking in America in the spring of 2010 at a luncheon hosted by Mary Frances Bowley of Wellspring Living. As she shared statistics, I was horrified to learn she wasn’t speaking about Cambodia or Thailand, but rather America, specifically Atlanta, Georgia.
What is it about the issue of trafficking that compelled you to action?
I am a writer, speaker and teacher, but first and foremost, I am a mother. When I learned girls as young as 9 years old had been trafficked in Metro Atlanta and around our nation, it was more than I could stand. I had to do something about it.
How are you using your talents and abilities to fight trafficking.
I’ve spent the past seven years speaking at women’s conferences, luncheons, teas, and youth events. I’ve also been writing a blog for most of that time. I’ve been known to say I have the spiritual gift of blab. I knew I was being called to use my gift of communication for this cause. I launched into five months of research interviewing survivors, detectives, families of girls being trafficked and even a former pimp. After I gathered their stories I wove them together into one, Rescuing Hope, A Story of Sex Trafficking in America. I also now speak on the issue of human trafficking. Even if the message I’m giving at an event isn’t focused on human sex trafficking, I look for opportunities to bring the issue to light when appropriate.
Why is it important for individuals to get involved in stopping trafficking?
This issue is a very tangled web of evil and deceit. It is not a respecter of persons and it impacts every demographic imaginable. It is as networked as any other form of organized crime and it is destroying our nation’s greatest asset, our children. In order to eradicate this evil from our nation it is going to take an army of abolitionist willing to bring whatever gifts and talents they have to the fight. We can all do something, no matter how great or small. We can all write letters or send emails to our elected officials asking for tougher penalties for pimps and johns. We can all pray for the victims, survivors, and the detectives who rescue them. We can all cut out a trip to Starbucks or a dinner out every now and then to financially support the organizations on the front lines.
How does donating to the cause have an impact on the lives of trafficked people?
When we donate to restoration centers, like Wellspring, or purchase items we’d normally buy from fair trade organizations, like StopTraffickFashion.com, we are choosing to be God’s hands and feet by sowing our resources into organizations that minister to those who have been used and abused. We demonstrate with our money that young lives matter and what is being done to them is not okay with us. Money talks.
What advice do you have for people who are interested in getting involved in trafficking but don’t know where to start?
Read Rescuing Hope, A Story of Sex Trafficking in America to grasp how easy it is for a teenage girl in to be lured away from safety into the pit of hell without being aware of it until it’s too late. Use it as a catalyst of conversation among your friends, family and teens in your life. Awareness is the first step in joining the fight.
Learn about organizations in your area that are in the fight. You can start by going to http://www.susannorris.org/get-involved/ to learn about several organizations in our nation who are on the front lines.
Pay attention. Human sex trafficking is called the crime hidden in plain sight. As we gain more of an understanding of this issue, we will become more aware of what is happening around us.