The thing is I’m 13 and I’ve never done a blog before so here it goes. I always loved to create art and write, but I never was serious in my work until I realized that this could be my future. So then I started getting serious writing short stories, full-fledged pieces of art, and unfinished books; that all started in the writer’s corner lunch club. Here’s one of my drawings.
Recently I interviewed with Thomas Estler, the founder of the Freedom Ladder organization and writer of the Abolitionista! book. I was going insane; I had to interview someone and I was meeting a published author. It was amazing.
Freedom Ladder’s mission is, “To equip children with tools that will put them at the forefront of their own self-protection and inspire them to live courageous lives of power, compassion and joy.” They do this by making manga books on sex trafficking for children. Because 12 years old is the average age that a sex trafficking victim is first trafficked, the book is geared for kids that are ten and eleven years old.
Thomas told me a story about several Russian girls who were masseuses living in a one-room apartment who worked for a man who was widely considered bad news. After he told them about the manga book he was writing, they disappeared. They had left their apartment and stopped coming to his Zumba classes. He had no idea that he was so close to things like that, but it was eye opening for him.
Once the Abolitionista book was completed, Thomas went to a middle school in New York to see if his book would connect with the students. By the time Thomas arrived, the students had already read the book. They had connected with it and they flocked to him, but one particular girl came to him, opened her composition book, and showed him what she wrote. It said that she was grateful that he had shown her how to know if she was being manipulated and that she could defend herself.
You can get involved with Freedom Ladder. Artists, writers, teachers, or any anyone else can volunteer with Freedom Ladder.