My name is Michelle Licata and my story is similar to many other’s. It’s all too often. That sex trafficking is happening all over the globe and actions need to be taken in order for the greater good of everyone. If we work together and help motivate each other in the right direction then we can make this world a safer place. Educating ourselves and our children is the first step in becoming aware of the dangers that surround us. The knowledge that comes through education will help protect us while making those possible life threatening decisions. Its important to learn how to use the power within us through our guided teachers, friends and family members. Thats why my goal in life is to help as many people as I can to achieve self love so they understand how valuable their lives really are.
My story is reversed when compared to many other victims. My parents divorced by the time I was three and my mom remarried to a man that had 3 boys of his own while she already had 2 boys and 2 girls. It was a very chaotic blended family household and none of us really seemed to get along. Even though it was a crazy place to live we did share some great memories together. Holidays were a time to share, love and care for one another. My brothers played all the sports while I became their cheerleader. I won MVP medals, was awarded the spirit stick and even had the opportunity to be apart of the pro bowl in Hawaii. While I was winning at life in this aspect I was also a really great student and had plenty of friends. I was a typical teenager with the usual drama that came along with the difficulties of school, family and friends. While my life seemed pretty normal, I had no awareness that I could be faced with a life changing event. I trusted someone who I thought was my friend but only to land me on the doorstep of evil. She brought me to a strangers house and left me to fend for myself against a very powerful and dangerous man. He sexually assaulted me and then threw me away like a piece of garbage. All it took was one time for me to go down a long and dark road alone by myself. I turned into someone who I no longer knew. I lost most of my friends and hurt all of my family members. I started using my body for men’s personal pleasure and eventually turned into a sex addict. After that no longer satisfied me I participated in using drugs of all kinds. If I had been educated on the dangers that surrounded me I may have never ended up going through all those years of pain and could have become somebody different.
Today I have pulled myself out of those murky waters and see life more clearer through a beautiful new perspective. I have a smart, young and amazing son who has helped me become the independent woman I am today. He is the reason behind everything that I do. My first thought in protecting him is to educate him about the dangers that circle his life on a daily basis. And with the knowledge I know now I can do my part to make sure he lives in a safe world and a happy environment. Always having an exit plan or plan of escape is important for him to know even at his young age of 4 years old. Being aware of the signs to look for in a troublesome situation and knowing who to not associate with are just small parts of living a healthy lifestyle. I’ve learned to focus on taking care of myself by making healthy food choices and treating my body with respect by taking care of it. I have realized that If I want to help others I need to start by helping myself and love myself completely day in and day out. Its always a work in progress but my life is worth every minute of it.