First trip to the Dream Center

sunset pink sky
Pink sunset sky Tuesday night.

I took a tour of the Phoenix Dream Center with a group of women yesterday. It’s the residential facility that heals and houses victims of human trafficking.

I wrote about The Dream Center HERE.

The building itself is an old Embassy Suites. It has security from Homeland Security as well as their own security staff surrounding the building.

I was impressed that it had it’s own medical office. They said they want to check the victims out physically within a day of them entering the program. Often human traffickers keep the victims documents like driver’s license or social security card when they escape, so it could take 45 days to get new documents and a doctor’s appointment. They lost one young woman to organ failure and felt that they could do better. So, they built their own medical office and doctors volunteer their time so there is no need for documents or insurance.

The girl who died said she was at peace, because she was free and felt like the Dream Center was home.

The center also has a dental office and optometrist office.

I cleaned out my closet the day before my visit and found they have two rooms for men’s and women’s clothing that were clean and organized. Residents can go into the clothing rooms and pick whatever they want off the racks for free. Residents also are responsible for maintaining the clothing rooms.

There’s a garden which is healing for the residents to work in. They also have a chapel, therapists and psychiatrists.

One of the eye popping statistics was that unlike the drug traffickers who sell their product and then need to find more to sell, human sex traffickers can sell their victims from 12 to 16 times a day for years. Young boys around 11 years old can earn $300,000 a year for their traffickers.

We were told that 95% of the residents grew up in the Phoenix area, they are not coming from the southern border. The number one trafficker is a Romeo, who a vulnerable young woman falls victim to and is manipulated into sex trafficking. They may meet their trafficker online or in person.

It was a worthwhile day, but I’m emotionally exhausted.

I thought human trafficking was a border issue, but it turns out it’s not and it’s throughout our country and the world.

What are your thoughts about human trafficking NOT being a border issue?

Just what I needed

Waffles the pug

My daughter’s pug Waffles.

I’m back home and I feel so much better mentally than when I left. I was wallowing in grief after my mom’s sudden death. I found myself aimlessly wandering through our house, alternating between tears and shock.

The six days with my kids was like a healing balm or salve that my heart needed.

What did we do? I was busy with my son, making his pour-over coffee, overnight oats, grocery shopping at my favorite Berkeley Bowl. I walked Waffles, played Scrabble, went to lunch and shopped with my daughter on Fourth Street, enjoyed time with my son’s fiancee and family. They lost their father several years ago and I felt their empathy and understanding.

The mushroom aisle at Berkeley Bowl, my favorite grocery store.

I was busy most of the time, I felt needed, and I felt my mom is in a better place.

We watched good movies including Metropolitan and Nausciaa of the Valley of the Wind. The voice of the Princess in Nausicaa was done by Alison Lohman, who is a local Palm Springs girl. She was in my ballet class more than 25 years ago. I’m always interested in watching her movies.

The food in the Bay Area is so much better than in Scottsdale. We ordered in most nights because of the storm. We had Japanese, Korean, Mexican and take out from Berkeley Bowl.

My son’s charcuterie with cheeses, salami, prosciutto, blackberries, grapes, crackers and comb honey.

If you find yourself in a funk — not necessarily grief like I’ve been experiencing — how do you get out of it?