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She Lives, a Poem by Debra Ayis

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

She Lives - Modern Poetry
Photo by Ira Gelb

Human trafficking is an ever-increasing area of international concern. Trafficking in humans is one of the fastest-growing criminal activities in the world[1] and is stated to be the 2nd largest criminal industry globally[2], it is utilized for the suppression of human rights, the institutionalization of sexual slavery; forced labour, and to exert control over women’s reproduction[3]. It is a global scourge that affects communities from every continent. This is the portrayal of a woman who has gained physical and emotional freedom from the chains of slavery that once held her captive.


by Debra Ayis

She'd forgotten how to smile

She looked into the mirror

Urging her muscles to remember the pattern

Her fingers edged her cheeks upward

Tracing the outline of what she sought

She clawed into the depths of her soul

Into the darkness that plagued her

She searched for a marble

A sparkle of joy and light

They had put her down

Stripped her of her purity

Chartered her like an object

Sold her to the highest bidder

Her identity lost in more ways than one

She’d survived, she’d escaped

She rebuilt

A new identity, a brave voice

Fighting for the voiceless

Protecting the innocent

Past the hate, anger, and nightmares

Building on precious lost years

Healing from within

Telling the world her story

Learning about love and happiness

Walking out in freedom

Embracing life as the sun rises at dawn

Like a dead seed sprouting to life

She is gradually moving past her horror

Learning to find her smile again




[1] UNHRC, Conference Puts Focus on Human Trafficking, Fastest Growing Criminal Industry, (Oct. 11, 2010),

[3] Coalition Against Trafficking, The Growing Role of Terrorist Groups in Human Trafficking, (Dec. 27, 2014),


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