The Nameless Boy Who Broke My Heart

This blog was written by: Maile Smucker

Maile Silva Smucker is a wife, mother, teacher, adventurer, and justice-seeker who lives in Southern Lancaster County. You can follow her ramblings at

For the first few months, I thought about him everyday. I’d never met him, didn’t even have a face to put with my thoughts, just a vague image my mind had created: a ten-year-old boy, not unlike my own son in some ways, but very different in one nightmarish way.

This boy was trafficked.

I remember exactly where I sat on my mother’s red and green flowered couch when I read the story of this young boy’s life. Recently adopted into a new family, his dream quickly became a nightmare when his adoptive father began prostituting him to other men. My eyes glanced at the byline for the article: Troy, Ohio, my hometown, the small community where I had ridden my purple Huffy bicycle on its uneven sidewalks and chased down the tic-tac orange ice cream truck on sticky summer evenings.

Looking up from the computer screen in shock and outrage, I nearly yelled at my mom sitting in the chair beside me: “Mom, this is unreal! In Troy! What…” My voice trailed off as tears gathered and spilled down my face. How? How could this be?

The rest of the evening a coldness clung to my shoulders, a heaviness settled in my chest. I laid down to sleep but could only think of the young boy I’d read about, a desperate child who, as the article stated, did not want to give evidence against his father for fear that he would be taken away from his new family. That fact struck me the hardest, like a swift and strong slap straight across my face. How could a world exist where a child, hungry for love and the warmth of family, is instead handed such treachery and unfathomable abuse?

The sadness and despair I felt in those first few hours nearly caused me to do what I always do when the feelings are too intense and overwhelming: bury them. Because, really, what could I do? How could I find and rescue other children like him? How could I convince these obviously sick and troubled men from committing these unimaginable crimes? How could I, a homeschooling mother of 4, hope to ever change such a monstrous issue as human trafficking, that holds millions of people, mostly women and children, in its gnarly, strangling grip?

But then I thought of that boy, and even as I write this, I weep for him. I desperately long to hold him the way he deserves, with the arms of a tender and loving mother. I wish I could see his face so the prayers I send up for him everyday had a portrait to accompany them. But I will probably never know anything more of this boy. And for that simple reason, I am determined to do SOMETHING.

And I hope you will join me. Follow this link to my “satisfy your calling” page where I will keep updated information about how to fight human trafficking. There will be links to local (Lancaster County and surrounding areas) as well as national and global organizations and activities that you can get involved with.

Please, do something. I beg you not to read this and carry on as usual. A story like this young boy’s demand a response from us, from everyone.

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