Stuck in the Mud!
Updated: Feb 14
Did the title get your attention? In this episode, we will not discuss anything related to being in the mud or stuck. It would be interesting to get some feedback about the experiences other advocates might have, especially if they resemble mine. Anyone who knows me knows that I am that “guy” the one who says hello to everyone I come in contact with. If you meet me in person, I will say “Hi, my name is Justin, what’s your name?” I do this with servers at restaurants, people at the dog park (followed by “my dog is Max, what’s your dog’s name?), and random people just about anywhere. I will often comment, ask a question, or both that may go something like “I like your socks, where did you get them?” Some way or another the conversation will sometimes end up with the “so, what do you do for a living?” question. I love this part because I get to talk about Anti-Human Trafficking. The problem is my official title says I am a “specialist.”
This is a problem because, when whomever I am speaking with will ask me or talk to me about catching the traffickers. The assumption is that a “specialist” must be covertly going after the traffickers. Let me be clear, I am NOT in law enforcement. My job has nothing to do with finding the “bad guys” or catching traffickers. Sure I would like to, but I’m not here for that. “Specialist” is just a job designation. I am an ADVOCATE. If someone connects with me for help, I am here to help them find resources and ways to change their situation. I am not here to save, rescue, or become a knight in shining armor either. The challenge is to define what I do in ways that make it comfortable to make connections. In these moments, I just smile, take a breath and remember my mantra of one survivor at a time.