Nancy Drew books were fun. She was always getting kidnapped or held hostage. The bad guys would say, “We’re going to kill you,” but then they’d go to the grocery store or somewhere else, giving her a couple of hours to come up with a creative way to escape.
Thanks in part to Nancy, I grew up thinking that to be captured was cool, that it would be exciting to get close to danger because there was always a way out, and I would be a heroine.
Then I grew up. I found out that Nancy Drew isn’t real, and the bad guys aren’t that stupid.
Sadly, there are girls who don’t figure that out in time. I have a friend who works with prostitutes. Several of them said they got into prostitution after watching the movie Pretty Woman, about a prostitute who meets a nice, rich guy, they fall in love and live happily ever after. These girls thought that might happen to them.
But it doesn’t.
Since my suspense/romance novels on human trafficking have come out, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to lots of groups of women and girls. Teen girls are especially important to me, because in America, they are the ones at risk. In the US, the big target is runaways. Pimps are good at seeing what a girl is seeking and becoming that…for a time, until they are trapped.
I want to talk with teen girls because they can make a difference. Not just by getting involved in different activist groups. They can make a difference themselves, where they are. And you can, too. Here’s how:
1. Teach teen girls to find their worth in Jesus Christ, so they don’t look for it in dangerous places.
2. Keep open communication with your teenager. Be the kind of person they can come to if they are struggling.
3. Be real with your teen about the dangers out there, especially on the internet. Predators can pose as young girls, or even be young girls working for traffickers. Know who your kids hang out with online.
For teen girls:
1. Know how much you are loved and valued by God. The One who made the universe says you are worth dying for. That’s pretty amazing. (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 31:3, Zephaniah 3:17, John 3:16)
2. Don’t look for your worth, or try to prove your worth, by your looks, your body, or the attention you can get from guys, especially the older, edgy kind. I know if feels powerful, but it is often a door to a place you don’t want to go.
3. Never, ever go alone to meet someone you met over the internet. If someone online even suggests a meeting, tell your parents about it. I’m in my 40s and I’ve been propositioned online – it happens.
4. Befriend the girls on the fringe, the ones who – if they disappeared–people would assume they ran away. Those girls are targeted, so your friendship could actually save their lives.
5. If you know your worth in Jesus, share it with other girls, so they don’t need to be looking for it in the wrong places either.
Nancy Drew stories aren’t true, but that does not mean that happy endings are impossible. We can change the world, one person, one heart at a time.
Let’s start with the hearts of the girls closest to us.