Former Victim Joins the Fight Against Sex Trafficking
By Audra Smith Haney
The 700 Club
CBN.com -When Tajuan McCarty was only three months old, her father was sent to prison. “For me that meant that love equals pain pretty early on,” Tajuan said. “I couldn’t understand if he loved me and wanted me, why he wasn’t there.”
Tajuan’s view of God brought no comfort. “God was hell, fire, and brimstone,” Tajuan said. “You do this you are going to hell, you do that, you are going to hell. I saw my father not emotionally there, and or physically there…and I saw my heavenly Father, He wasn’t there either.”
When Tajuan was 12 years old, a family friend sexually abused her. During the next 3 years, she ran away repeatedly and was in and out of foster care and group homes. “I don’t think I was running from anything, I think I was running to find something. I think there was so much missing in my life that there was a hole and I didn’t have any clue what the hole was.”
At the age of 15, Tajuan ran away for good. “Within the first 48 hours, I can’t pinpoint the exact time, is when I met my first pimp.” Tajuan said. “He approached me and, I mean, to take care of myself, I had to eat. He was really, really nice and a very attractive man and said ‘I will teach you how to take care of yourself.’ He actually had 4 girls living with him.”
Within the first few weeks, Tajuan’s pimp taught her how to sell cocaine. But in a short time, his demands increased. “…and then it went to the dancing….there was a night that he told me to go to the truck stop….and I had to come back with so much money,” Tajuan said. “That is when it started. Because, he told me I had to come back with more money than I had drugs, so I knew I had to do what I had to do to make the money if I wanted to go ‘home.’”
Tajuan eventually became addicted to the drugs supplied by her pimp. “I started brainwashing myself to cope and I started reinforcing what they were telling me,” Tajuan said. “...that it was my choice, and that I was just a dope fiend and a whore and prostitute, and nothing else mattered. I never looked in my eyes. I just made sure physically I looked the way I was supposed to look, the way I needed to look to do what I needed to do.
Her pimp eventually began trafficking her all over the United States. “I have been to every State but Alaska and Hawaii in a truck, and I’ve been to Canada and Mexico too,” Tajuan said. “As a teenager, there was a group of us that they would take on circuit and the biggest circuit we went on was Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga. I remember going to the KY derby, but I never went into the derby. I remember a table of pimps sitting down and talking about the Olympics. Trafficking, pimping, prostitution, the whole industry is very, very organized.”
Over the next ten years, the violence of the men she encountered left Tajuan with emotional and physical scars. “My throat has been cut, guns placed to my head, the trigger pulled,” Tajuan said. “I have no clue how many times I’ve been raped and I’m not talking about the paid rapes that happen every day. I’m talking about the brutal rapes, rapes that you don’t know if you’ll live through or not.”
When she was arrested at the age of 26, Tajuan finally saw a way out. After prison, she went through a 12 step program. Determined to overcome her past, Tajuan went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and 2 masters degrees. “Everything had to be perfect,” Tajuan said, “to prove that I wasn’t the dope fiend the whore and the prostitute. But, there was still something missing.”
In 2009, she discovered the Birmingham Dream Center. Curiosity led her inside to ask about their programs. “There was this beautiful woman sitting behind this desk and I said, ‘What do y’all do here?’ And she starts telling me about Bible Studies,” Tajuan said. “And the last thing she says, ‘Oh! And I’m also trying to reach out to the prostitutes in the area.’ And this whole thing went off inside of me and I’m like, ‘Really, what are you doing?’”
“And she tells me and I’m like, ‘Oh honey…no…it’s all wrong. You are going to get hurt…you can’t do it that way’ and she says, ‘What do you mean? Do you know how to do it?’ She says ‘Hold on, let me grab a note pad’ and two hours later she is taking all these notes, and she looks at me and says, ‘How do you know all this stuff?’ And before I could stop myself from saying it I pointed out the window and said, ‘I used to walk the same streets.’”
Tajuan started helping Lisa at the Dream Center with outreach on a regular basis. “And what she did during that time was set an example,” Tajuan said. “And she showed me what a Christian woman looked like and walked like and loved like, because she showed unconditional love. I saw what Jesus really, really looked like because of her.”
“This one day she calls me, this lady is in there and I remember I prayed,” Tajuan said,
and all I prayed was, ‘Lord help me help her.’ I met Jesus, that moment; I met Jesus…trying to help that girl. I didn’t meet that man that they were talking about when I was little, the hell fire and brimstone. I met Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the One who loves us regardless of anything we have done.”
Tajuan says her life was completely transformed after her prayer. “I can see picture of me and I go, ‘Who is that girl?’ There is a complete transformation and the love He shows me through others and the love He gives me every day… I have a Daddy. He is not just a Father, He is a Daddy.”
Today, Tajuan is using her past to bring hope to the future of others. She runs a Christian rescue home for girls trapped in the sex industry called the WellHouse. To date, the WellHouse has rescued over 100 women and Tajuan continues to share her message with trafficked girls all over the globe.
“I am you. I have been there,” Tajuan said. “I know who you are and what is going on inside of you. God rescues, and He redeems, and He restores. You are not alone and you are not unloved.”
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