Today we look again at the dark reality of child sex slavery and exploitation in order to shine a light, to flood the dark corners of the world with light, so that no child will ever have to endure sexual oppression or abuse, will never again live in fear.

Diana lives in the Philippines. She endured abuse at her family’s hands, including sexual abuse that resulted in a pregnancy when she was 12. Her family forced her to get an abortion.

Diana hated her life, hated herself—she threw her little 12-year-old body into the path of a truck.

She lived.

She was rescued from her abusive home and brought to the Round Home, Love 146’s safe house.

Today’s found poem is from a video on the Love 146 website called “Diana’s Love Story”, in which she shares her story of healing and restoration.

The Leaf and the Tree

I used to be like this leaf.
When the storm comes,
the leaves of the tree

And sometimes I felt that I
was the tree
whose leaves all

Hopeless. I felt that my life
was hopeless.
I felt that ever since I was born
I have always
had problems, as if I was
in problems. And then
I felt like a leaf that was
withered. Lost.
I felt dead.
I felt all alone.
I felt hopeless.

Now I am like a big
It is so strong that whatever typhoon comes
it will not fall.
It will still be here.
Even though some of its branches are gone,
the tree will still sway happily
as if declaring
that she continues.

There may be many storms, but
the leaves continue to move
with meaning.
Like me

If I did not come to the Round
Home I would still be hopeless. Like
Giving up every time something bad happened.
But now
I’m different.
I’m like a strong tree that no one can fool with.
I cannot be downtrodden
and laughed at any more.

Here in my heart
is what the mommies in the home
have taught me. They are the people
who loved me
who valued me
at a time when I
thought I was alone.
It was here
that I felt love. It was here
that I became
It was here
that I learned

how to be

and how to love
myself and other people
and God.

shall not
be moved.

This post is part of my Stop Slavery series, a fundraiser for International Justice Mission and Love 146: for every comment, ten lovely women and I will donate a total of $10.50 ($5.25 to Love 146’s aftercare programs for girls like Diana and Serey and Pross, who have been rescued from the sex trade and another $5.25 to IJM).