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Alana Martinez – California – GenerateHope

Greetings from San Diego!

You might be thinking as most did when I left to come work here, “Wow, what a hard summer you will have in beautiful San Diego.” San Diego is recognized as a premier summer vacation spot. And, yes there are days when I think, “It does not get more gorgeous than this.” But what amazes me is that a city renowned for its beauty is also deeply infected with evil and corruption. I learned this week that San Diego is ranked 8th in the country for human sex trafficking, and yet few know this plagues the city.

Last week was terribly overcast and foggy where I am living due to the marine layer. However, if you drive just 15 minutes inland, the sun shines bright and the heat beats down on you. Though I live on the coast, I am working inland in East County. When I came home the other day, I told my roommate how sunny and hot it was all day. She informed me that the sun did not peek out once all day at home. You might wonder why I mention this, but when I thought about it, it reminded me of the situation of Domestic Human Sex Trafficking in the United States. My roommate and I were both in San Diego County, however, she had no clue that it was sunny anywhere else and I could not imagine an overcast day. This parallels the perspective of many people as they have no clue and are shocked to learn that there is human trafficking of American girls in the very city they live in. I sat in our volunteer training and many volunteers came with big hearts and a desire to learn more about this epidemic. They began to ask the very questions I did when I began my research last semester. They cannot imagine how Human Sex Trafficking is occurring in our own backyard. Yet they drive the streets everyday where young girls are working after school, evenings, and weekends, or drive past the hotels that hold these girls captive. I am learning that one of the most important things that can be done is simply educating the public and bringing awareness to this heinous crime.

I came to GenerateHope with the mindset of “Lord, please let me be of help in whatever way they need it.” Well, little did I bargain that it would be working on property legalities since property wasn’t exactly my favorite subject in law school (no reflection of our outstanding professors!). However, as I have been working the last couple weeks on this issue, I am reminded that it’s not about me! What matters is that this organization and these girls need this done, and God chose me to come and help. What an amazing honor! As an Ambassador of Christ, I am equipped to do whatever God needs me to do, and when I think about that, I am HAPPY and ENJOY doing research on the property legalities. It’s like a puzzle sometimes and I have come to enjoy the challenge. I have found that I am beginning to become a bit of an expert on zoning and permits! I am learning that just because I didn’t think I did well in a class, or have knowledge and expertise with a particular topic, that does not dictate the abilities of what I am called to do in this moment.