Even before I officially launched Apple Rose Beauty I knew I would have to write this blog. But like a root canal you keep delaying I tried to put it out of my mind. I tried to avoid facing the pain it would bring to the surface of my mind and heart. But, now … I think it’s time.
I’ve shared with you the story of how I met Apple and Rose. I’ve shared with you that my encounter with them inspired me to create my organic skin care company, Apple Rose Beauty. I’ve shared with you that Apple and Rose were victims of human trafficking and our vision for this company, named after them, is to create employment and choice for those trapped in the same horrible system of exploitation.
I’ve shared with you that I met them during a month I spent in Bangkok, Thailand where I worked with Samaritan Creations and lived in their safe house with women who were rescued from human trafficking. But there is something that I did NOT share with you. I have not had the strength to, until now.
Her Name Was Puu
Her name was Puu. I met her and her 1-year-old daughter the first night we spent at the Samaritan Creations safe house in Bangkok, Thailand. It was about 8pm Thai time and even though I had eaten dinner a couple hours before, I was famished. I went down stairs to the café where many of the survivors worked and began making my way to the kitchen. I saw the toddler first. She was sucking on a chicken wing and it smelled scrumptious! She was the cutest little girl I had ever seen and having the tremendous soft spot for babies that I do, I was immediately drawn to her and kind of forgot that I was hungry. Then I saw her mom. She was sitting on the floor next to her, texting on her phone. She spoke very little English and I spoke even less Thai but after asking permission with gestures she allowed me to hold her baby. We communicated through lots of smiles, pointing, giggles and one word sentences. I learned that her name was Puu and I immediately felt a bond with her.
In the weeks following this first encounter Puu and I spent lots of time together. At 18, Puu was the youngest woman staying in the safe house. She became a little sister to me. I taught her Thai and she taught me English. She celebrated her 19th birthday that month and to celebrate I went with her to the nearby mall where we got manicures and iced coffee, walked around and practiced our broken English and broken Thai. At the end of the month before my team and I left Thailand, Puu gave me a heartfelt note and pampered me with a shoulder massage. The next day we said tearful goodbyes. We later connected on Facebook and occasionally each shared simple pleasantries that we mastered in the other’s language.
A little knot began to develop in my stomach
As the months went by I started seeing fewer and fewer Facebook posts from Puu. A little knot began to develop in my stomach. Not long after, the woman who runs the safe house reached out to me and told me that Puu had run away, leaving her now 2-year-old daughter, and was re-trafficked. It’s hard to describe the pain news like that brings. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being punched in the stomach and all the fear and doubts that flood your mind. But even in the midst of all that pain I knew that Puu’s pain was so much deeper and greater than mine could ever be. The desperate search for love and acceptance and deep self-esteem issues that would drive someone back into the pain of selling their body for another’s profit is hard to fathom. Only as you dig deeper into their story and life experiences can you even begin to understand the void and grasping-for-love that has defined their existence from the moment they were born.
The hard truth is that when someone experiences deep trauma it takes a lot and often multiple attempts before they are truly free, not just physically but psychologically and emotionally as well.
Puu's Story (video)
I would like to invite you into Puu’s story. Not for the purpose of creating sympathy but as a way to hopefully allow us all, for a moment, to put ourselves in her place and find empathy to continue in the fight for her and all the other Puu’s out there waiting to be truly free. Watch the video below to learn about Puu’s story. Please pray for her and others like her whose lives we hope to impact by your Apple Rose Beauty Organic Skin Care purchases. Thank you for your Big Beautiful Heart!
P.S.: To support Samaritan Creations directly, visit their website at http://www.samaritancreations.org/
As you know, Apple Rose Beauty was founded to address the crime of human trafficking, perpetuated mostly against women. Another crime that targets mostly women is domestic violence. But what many of us were unaware of was the link between this crime and animal abuse. According to a recent article by Huffington Post, there seems to be a direct link between occurrences of animal abuse and domestic violence.
"It is common for abusers to attack their victim's loved pets during the onset or the aftermath of incidents of domestic violence. In these cases, the abuser seems to be sending the message, 'See what you make me do?' But contrary to his claim that he 'lost control', or 'was provoked,' the abuser is actually attempting to exert control by choosing behavior that is designed to frighten, terrorize, or punish his partner. As one abuser, who had left his wife with two black eyes, once related when I asked if he had punched his wife, "No I would never hit her like a man!" If in fact, he really 'lost control', as he claimed, he would have been able to consistently choose his violent behavior, or to seek credit for slapping rather than punching his partner. One victim told me, "It's always my cat that gets kicked, never his."
The underlying logic of such violence is to punish his partner for her defiance by telling her, "That could have been you," or "You're next," or by proclaiming, "See what happens when you make me mad?" In these cases, pets are used as props for reinforcing the abuser's rules, whether these are explicit or implied. It is no accident that the abuser is targeting his partner's and/or his children's cherished pets. Injuring or killing a pet represents a step-up from damaging or destroying the victim's inanimate property."