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Serenity’s Story 
 
Serenity: The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

Serenity is a name that was given to a little girl at birth; sadly her life would never have serenity until she got older.

I am Serenity Chavez and I was that little girl. My life from birth until a few years ago was nothing but drugs, gang life, human trafficking, drug trafficking, trust issues, hopelessness, lost, and not a believer in God.

I was born into gang life. Unlike some people that get jumped in, I was born into a gang and marked as a baby with the gang logo (MS13). I was the only girl in my entire family. I had 13 brothers and 26 male cousins and I was the youngest and only girl ever born. At the age of two, the person whom I thought was my mom, (and wasn’t), started human trafficking me to the Sinaloa Cartel. This went on for many years; my father was in prison while this was going on. Between the age of 2 - 33, I had been raped and human-trafficked over 500 times. I grew up never knowing how to show emotions; I didn't trust anyone. I didn't cry or show pain because that would just show weakness.  I took myself to a very dark place and started to become more evil then the devil himself.

In 2017 I met my husband and he is who brought me to Flagstaff, AZ. He is also the one that introduced me to Pastor Shaun who is the director of the men's shelter. Seeing how they did not have a family room for us, Pastor Shaun helped me get into Hope Cottage. I was supposed to stay there only one night.  One night turned into one year.

My life changed because of Hope Cottage. I was in the New Life Foundations Program and I was Tammy Best's first student. (Tammy is still serving as a Coordinator for Hope Cottage and happens to be a former Police Officer).  I learned a lot, not only from Tammy but from all the Coordinators at Hope Cottage. All my life I had fought to keep my guard up.  At Hope Cottage I learned that it was okay to break down those prison walls that I placed around my heart and mind. Little by little I started to trust the staff at Hope Cottage, mainly I started to trust in God and myself.

In 2018 I finally gave my entire life to God. I started to learn more and ask questions and I turned a hopeless, lost, un-trusting life into a God-centered life.  I owe it all to God and Hope Cottage, neither one gave up on me when I wanted to give up on myself.

The ladies at Hope Cottage also showed me how a mother’s love is never too late. I may have grown up without a mother figure in my life but I had many moms at Hope Cottage. Each of them played a special role in my life and none of them backed down from a very "mad-at-the-world" young lady. I thank God every day for placing me at Hope Cottage and blessing me with a church family that sees past all my past life. They accept me as I am.

Now I am fully involved with my church and the community of Flagstaff. I am also working on a book, hoping to get it published.  I am working with Mayor Coral Evans and United States Senator Martha McSally to stop human trafficking here in the state of Arizona. I want to dedicate my life to ending human trafficking and with God’s help I will.

Serenity Chavez,
July 2020

(Serenity is a living miracle and a great public speaker.  She longs to educate people on the plight of human trafficking in the US.  She can explain why women get involved in gangs and how hard it is to get out.  She wants to be instrumental in saving other girls and women from the tragedy she experienced.  If you would like to ask her to speak at your church or organization, call Hope Cottage with your contact information and we will pass it on to her.)
Serenity today, (left).  Tammy (right), still serves as a Coordinator for Hope Cottage.  
Serenity prior to coming to Hope Cottage.  Active member of MS13, drug addict and victim of human trafficking since the age of two years old.  
Serenity spent a year at Hope Cottage in recovery. Today she is a prolific writer and is devoted to fighting against human trafficking all over the US.