Do you remember where you were and what you were thinking in January of 2020? What were the issues that floated through your mind before the words “corona virus” popped up in your daily conversations? When did COVID-19 become real? When schools closed? When a loved-one got sick or, worse, died?
If you are interested in one man’s journey through COVID blindness, read Tony Green, What Are We So Afraid Of?, Washington Post, October 11, 2020.
Throwaways is a book about children we don’t see. Jake Savage, the protagonist of the book, doesn’t wake up wondering about young girls who are being trafficked for sex. He is more concerned with the damaged caused by lionfish than the plight of girls who have learned to live on the street. That’s not to say that the lionfish invasion isn’t important. But until Jake encountered the body of young girl floating in the Gulf, homeless girls weren’t on his radar. Hisfirst reaction is to want to help, that is, until someone who understands these girls sets him straight:
“For the love of God, you have no idea what you’re dealing with. You’ve got a heart full of good intentions and a head filled with images of homeless girls pining for home. They aren’t. By the time they get here, they’re feral. They’re throwaways. No one’s looking for them because they aren’t wanted. The ones who make it here have acquired survival skills the hard way. A few make it back to the world you live in. Most don’t.”
Throwaways is a novel. But while the story is fiction, the problem isn’t. Children leave home every day and become prey for predators. Perhaps in the process of entertaining, Throwaways will also enlighten. Hopefully, the story will stimulate conversation that will lead to questions.
The first step to saving these kids is to see them.