Tajuan's story: I was exploited.

Tajuan's story: I was exploited. July 1, 2014

As founder and executive director of The Wellhouse in Birmingham, Alabama, Tajuan McCarty is very familiar with the horrors of domestic sex trafficking. The organization has rescued over 120 women since it opened its doors in 2011. Not only does The Wellhouse provide a safe place to live, special emphasis is placed on the victims’ mental, emotional and spiritual recovery.

Before she opened The Wellhouse, Tajuan spent several years working for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, gaining extensive experience in social work and community outreach. She teaches at the University of Alabama in Birmingham as an adjunct professor, preparing future social workers to serve the needs of the community. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and two Master’s degrees in Public Health and Public Administration respectively. She knows how the system works and how it can unfairly punish vulnerable women, such as the drug addicted, the abused and the prostituted. She is a very vocal advocate for women’s issues, having helped set up the first program in Alabama to help chronically homeless, severely mentally ill women. She has also served as a mentor to female offenders, helping them re-integrate into society.

However, Tajuan’s experience with the grim reality that so many women face is personal. Very personal. Born and raised in Georgia, she grew up in a home where much emphasis was placed on the wrath of God, rather than His grace and mercy. As a young teenager, she was in and out of foster care and group homes, having run away from home many times. By the time she was 15, she left home. She soon found out how frightening the world can be.

Tajuan was exploited by a boyfriend-turned pimp, someone who promised to take care of her. First, he made her sell drugs, then made her strip in clubs. Before long, he started to prostitute her, at truck stops and motels, before trafficking her for sex across all 48 contiguous states, Mexico and Canada. For over ten years, this was Tajuan’s life. To cope with the pain and confusion, Tajuan became addicted to the drugs her pimp made her sell.

Recalling her childhood lessons about God, she was convinced that everything that happened to her– the beatings, the brutal rapes, the kidnappings, the psychological torture– was her just punishment for running away from home. Her multiple arrests for prostitution reinforced her thinking. At age 26, Tajuan was arrested again. This time, something was different. She saw a way out of the dark world she was trapped in. She began attending a 12 Step Program and from there, embarked on her education, gaining her degrees. But the most important thing that changed in her life was truly discovering who Jesus was and His love for her.

It took 25 years, but she finally understood that she had been victimized and that she didn’t deserve anything that happened during that frightening period. Tajuan allowed herself to be lost in His restorative love and continues to let Him heal her emotional wounds. She is determined to help other women who are lost and afraid because she knows their pain all too well. And in helping others rebuild their lives, she is able to understand why she had to go through the things that she did so long ago. Tajuan McCarty has definitely received God’s beauty for the ashes of her past.

"I'm glad you agree. As far as my message/gospel, the best thing to do is ..."

The Most Rebellious Thing a Christian ..."
"I'm in complete agreement, but I would love to know what your message/gospel is to ..."

The Most Rebellious Thing a Christian ..."
"Love. It all boils down to love."

No, Jesus is Not Headed to ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • i love that ppl share their stories here. i rarely share the trafficking part of my abuse story; i think most ppl can’t really handle the weight of hearing that, but i def. am glad to have been impressed to share it in some contexts. God is good and He restores even the ugliest situations to such beauty. thx for sharing.

    • It is amazing what people can handle because of His grace. If you ever want to share your story here, I would be honored.

      • you know, i DO believe i’ll take you up on that. i’ll see what God wants me to share. is there a word limit? let me know. is it that u have two accounts on here, btw? i’ll follow this steve austin one, too. i think i follow the grace is messy one.

        • I have graceismessy.com and http://www.patheos.com/blogs/graceismessy but I only blog from this account. Feel free to follow both. I prefer the stories to be 500 to 700 words if possible.

          • ok; i have a 400 word version done for a magazine that i’ll pray over to see what God wants me to add to it to further exemplify His grace. there’s a videoed one on youtube, as well, but i personally don’t think it captures God’s grace as much as when He’s had me write it out. i’ll be in touch 🙂

          • Sounds great! I can’t wait!

          • We can always post both (for the non-readers).

  • i love that ppl share their stories here. i rarely share the trafficking part of my abuse story; i think most ppl can’t really handle the weight of hearing that, but i def. am glad to have been impressed to share it in some contexts. God is good and He restores even the ugliest situations to such beauty. thx for sharing.

    • It is amazing what people can handle because of His grace. If you ever want to share your story here, I would be honored.

      • you know, i DO believe i’ll take you up on that. i’ll see what God wants me to share. is there a word limit? let me know. is it that u have two accounts on here, btw? i’ll follow this steve austin one, too. i think i follow the grace is messy one.

        • I have graceismessy.com and http://www.patheos.com/blogs/graceismessy but I only blog from this account. Feel free to follow both. I prefer the stories to be 500 to 700 words if possible.

          • ok; i have a 400 word version done for a magazine that i’ll pray over to see what God wants me to add to it to further exemplify His grace. there’s a videoed one on youtube, as well, but i personally don’t think it captures God’s grace as much as when He’s had me write it out. i’ll be in touch 🙂

          • Sounds great! I can’t wait!

          • We can always post both (for the non-readers).