INK180: TRANSFORMING TATTOOS
Ever been in a situation where you were known only because of someone else? "Oh, you're so-and-so's girlfriend."
"You're the drummer in so-and-so's band, right?"
Yeah, that sucks. I've felt the sting before, and I know it can make you feel invisible and undervalued. Luckily, it's usually not as bad as we think. Our minds have a way of thinking the worst sometimes -- that dark place where imagination and self-esteem meet.
But, what if it really was as bad as you think? What if the shadow you were under wasn't an uberpopular boyfriend, but a literal master? As in, your owner? What if his name was tattooed on your neck, via barcode, so that anyone who found you didn't even need to know your name to know where to ship you back?
Turns out it's happening in the sex trafficking industry more and more. This kind of shadow isn't in someone's' head; it takes over their life. Organized pimps tattoo women with a barcode to let other pimps know who she belongs to. All someone needs is a smartphone app to scan the barcode and find out who the wayward person has escaped from. It's a form of bondage that makes simple escape pretty much impossible. Even those that do get away are left with a constant reminder of their former abuse.
Enter Chris Baker, who runs an organization called Ink 180. He's made it his mission to free people from the shadow of sex trafficking. His organization has covered, for free, over 500 of these tattoos, giving people a new life -- a 180 degree fresh start.
INK 180 is all about second chances and helping these victims put their past behind them. Check out their site and spread the word.
If you've been freed from a shadow, share your story before.