By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor
Imagine a 5-year-old girl, blonde curls bouncing as she skitters to her ballet class in South Central Kentucky. Then imagine the same little girl going home to be sexually exploited, sold like a commodity for her body.
That little girl was Margeaux Gray, now 35 years old, living in Louisville, and speaking out nationally about human trafficking.
She shared her story during an annual prayer service held April 28 in downtown Louisville to raise awareness about trafficking.
“What no one knew was that while I was going out having fun with my friends, I was also being trafficked by a trusted adult in my life,” she said. “My horror lasted until I was 18 years old, until I found the strength and the courage to stand up and realize what was happening to me was not OK. I repeat, it was not OK.”
About 75 women religious, high school students and other laity gathered for the service at Sixth and Jefferson streets to pray, sing and speak about the scourge of trafficking.
The prayer service is organized annually by women religious during Derby week because, organizers say, trafficking increases during major sporting events.
Catholic school counselors learned about trafficking —and how to recognize victims — on Monday, April 27, during a program presented by Marissa Castellanos, who runs Catholic Charities’ trafficking outreach program.
She told the counselors that trafficking victims can be hard to recognize, but that any young person can become a victim.