Posts Tagged ‘human trafficking’

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Sure, without the pimps, there would be a lot less human trafficking of young girls and boys. I’m in favor of prosecuting the customers and helping the prostitutes. It’s the whole “supply and demand” factor.

But you have to dig much deeper to find out why that child went down the path they did.

What was lacking in their life? How was someone able to grab them and whisk them away?

For each child, there is perhaps a different answer.

I’m often asked “But what can we do? How do we stop this?”

I always answer “What can YOU do in your immediate area?”

Because that’s how this is done. You deal with your block, your neighborhood, your school, your city and start helping individuals.

Don’t expect anyone else to do it. Don’t wait for the government for they are always late on the scene. Laws are being passed, awareness and understanding is increasing, but it’s not enough.

To quote “Truckers Against Trafficking:”

“Imagine if these pimp’s words fell on deaf ears because young people knew they were worth more, knew people loved them, knew they had a future and a hope.

It is very important to be investing in the lives of our own children but also the lives of the youth around us.

Get involved in your community’s outreach programs.

Mentor, tutor, donate much needed supplies to local assistance programs, be kind to the kids in your neighborhood. 

Say hi to the morose teen.

If non-exploitative adults get involved, pimps and exploiters will struggle to get a foothold. Let’s stop allowing this to be so easy for them.” 

Pay attention to your children. Pay attention to the kids around you. Learn the signs. Teach them that they need not look outside themselves for validation. Give them love, too much love. Show them by example, that they are priceless and start with yourself.

Children learn by seeing more than by listening, but they do listen. They watch everything. They miss nothing.

Suicide

Posted: April 10, 2015 in jail
Tags: , ,

Her cuts were strong and deep. No hesitation marks. No second thoughts. Just clean, firm, and deep. The decision was made and she carried it out. Her room was clean and tidy. What few bills she had were paid. Her laundry was done and placed in bags. She didn’t have money for suitcases, but that didn’t matter. Everything was perfect. Her bed was made. She even fluffed the pillows and smoothed out the blankets

A note had been left to give all of her belongings to her daughter, but she didn’t know where she was or if she was even alive. She had given her up for adoption and never looked at her face. Her daughter was the result of rape, but there had been so many, there was no way to know who the sperm donor was, not that it mattered. She left her medical records next to her note, just to make it easier for everyone.

She had started out as a normal and happy child. Just like most of us, but she was snatched away by an insane and drug addicted mother when she was 5. She was often sold to men to pay for her mother’s addiction. Soon that beautiful child was turned into nothing more than a bartering tool. What humanity she had been born with was soon gone.

I remember her dead eyes and slouched shoulders. But that’s all I remember. She wasn’t anyone who stood out, who said anything, or did anything remarkable except one thing:

She learned how to disappear. I don’t know how she was able to do this, but often times, she would be sitting there and yet you never really saw her. You would forget she was taking up space. Your eyes would scan the room and yet you’d never see her.

On her last day of life, I imagine she may have smiled. I like to think she did. I can’t say what she did was right or wrong, though I wish she had stayed. I wish her life had turned around enough to give her hope. I wish she had called, but I’m not surprised she didn’t.

She was made into nothing at an early age.

She had disappeared years before she slit her wrists.

WARNING: This is an extremely graphic post about the rape of a 12-year old girl and is the first part of how she was forced into prostitution at an early age. I do not recommend anyone reading it who could be triggered and/or has a weak stomach. These stories are not for everyone.

Please see https://idisagreecompletely.com/2013/09/01/i-dont-see-your-tears-i-hear-them/ before reading this one. These stories will eventually be made into their own page.

Her story. My words.

I knew something was wrong as soon as he came in the door. It was the way he looked at me. It sent a chill up my spine. I looked away quickly and went back to reading my book. I could tell he was still looking at me. I shrank into the chair as much as I could. I heard my father whispering to him. They stepped outside the camper and talked. My little brother was playing with his toy truck on the floor next to me. He ran it over my foot. I jumped up and slapped him on the head with my book. He cried out, stood up and moved away from me.

I was used to people coming to our camper at all hours of the day and night. I didn’t know why at the time. I was told to not ask questions so I never did. We lived in a small camper with my father, mother, my younger brother and sister. Sometimes we would leave in the middle of the night. Sometimes we stayed somewhere for a few weeks.

My father came back in and looked at me. He looked at me and then at the man. The man was smiling at me again and nodding his head. My mother came in from outside and stood behind my father. She was wringing her hands and crying. I was too scared to get up and go to her. I watched them. Finally the man came over to me and held out his hand. I shrank back.

“Andrea! Go with this man!” my father yelled at me. I shook my head. I got up and stepped away. The man smiled more.

“Come with me, little one. Do as your father said. I’m going to take you to get ice cream. You’ll like it,” he said and stepped closer to me. I backed away again. I couldn’t go any further. My back was pressed against the wall.

“Jose, NO!” my mother screamed and rushed towards me. My father pulled her back and told her to be quiet. She stopped but continued to cry. The man turned around and looked at her.

“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt her. I’ll have her back by tomorrow morning,” he said. He turned back, walked over to me and took me by the arm. He led me out of the camper and into his car. I began crying and pulling away from him. He picked me up and put me in the back seat of his station wagon and locked the doors.  He drove off.

“Where are we going?” I asked. I choked on my words. I was so scared. I could still my mother crying and my father yelling at her to be quiet. I had never seen this man before. I learned to look the other way or walk away when men showed up at our campsite. Last year when someone showed up, my mother would rush over to me and lead me away. She often put her shawl over my shoulders and covered me up. Lately some of the men had asked her not to take me away. They wanted me to sit with them. My mother would glare at them and push me away from them.

Now I was in some man’s car, driving through the night to get ice cream. I knew there wasn’t any ice cream at the end of the drive. I didn’t know what he wanted or where we would end up, but I didn’t like it. I wanted to go home and crawl into my sleeping bag and read.

“Don’t worry, little one. You are safe with me. I will take good care of you. You have nothing to fear,” he said. He looked back at me and smiled. I cringed and sat back. I couldn’t get far enough away from him.

He pulled into a driveway and turned off the engine. He came around to the back seat, unlocked the door and opened it for me. I slid away from him to the other side and shook my head.

“Get out of the car. Do as you’re told!” he said.

I shook my head again and reached for the door handle.  Before I knew what was happening, he lunged for me, grabbed my foot and dragged me across the seat. He picked me up and slung me over his shoulder, slammed the car door and walked into the house. He carried me into the kitchen and sat me down at the table. I sat very still. I was too scared to move. He got ice cream out of the freezer and scooped some into a bowl. He put it in front of me with a spoon, sat down across from me and told me to eat it.

I didn’t want it. I was shaking and starting to sob again. My stomach was in knots. I was afraid I would throw it up if I tried to eat it. I pushed it away. He pushed it back.

“Eat it. I told you I was going to give you ice cream and I am a man of my word.” His eyes were harsh and cold. I was terrified of what would happen if I didn’t eat it, so I took a spoonful and put it in my mouth. It was chocolate. I haven’t been able to eat chocolate ice cream since then.

He smiled. When I was done, he put the bowl in the sink and told me to get up. I did. He took my hand and led me down the hall to his bedroom. I pulled away and he picked me up again and threw me down on the bed.

He smiled again as he reached over and yanked my pants off. I started kicking and screaming. This made him chuckle. He pulled off my underwear and told me how beautiful I was. I began screaming louder. He told me if I didn’t shut-up he would beat me and then go kill my family. He yanked my shirt off and ran his hands all over me. I stopped screaming. He put his hand over my mouth and pushed my head down into the bed. He climbed on top of me and pushed my legs apart. He thrust himself in me and I screamed as loud as I could.

I thought I would die from the pain. He thrust himself into me over and over and with each thrust, I screamed louder. I couldn’t help it. I tried not to. I didn’t want my family to die. I thought I would be torn into two. I fought and clawed and screamed. He slapped me across the face and told me I liked it.

When he was done, he rolled over and sighed.  I curled up into a ball, pulled a pillow over my face and tried to die. I tried to be nothing and to be nowhere. I haven’t wanted to be alive since then. I was bleeding and scared. He kept telling me I wanted this, that this was what I was good for and that it was natural.

I was locked in the bedroom with him. I heard other people walking around the house and talking during the night. I got up several times at night and tried to leave. I couldn’t open the door. I banged on it and woke him up.

He raped me again.

No one came to help me. There was blood all over the sheets. It wasn’t from my period.

In the morning, he made me take a shower with him. He washed me everywhere. He cooed and told me how beautiful I was. He held me up when I couldn’t stand. He washed my hair and dried me. He dressed me back in my clothes. He cooked me breakfast and made me eat it.

I could not move. It was hard to bring the fork up to my mouth and chew. I was dead but my brain didn’t know it yet.

He took me home. When he pulled up and let me out of the car, my mom came running to me.

“Your debt is paid…for now,” he said. He got back into this car and drove away.

She picked me up and carried me into the house. She was crying. I started crying and couldn’t stop. She rocked me for a long time. She wanted me to shower and I started screaming again. I still can’t take showers and only do so if I have to.

I didn’t see my father that day or the next. When he finally came home, he didn’t look at me. He didn’t for a long time and then only for a few seconds.

That was the first time I felt shame and it never stopped. Ever since then, no words can get rid of it.

I didn’t realize that tears were running down my face as she spoke. Her story was not as concise as I have written it but while she spoke, each word was branded into my mind. I have never been able to get rid of them.

This was the beginning of her life as a prostitute. She was sold to men when her father could not pay a debt to drug dealers. She was taught at an early age that this was all she was good for.

The actions of the adult always teach the child.

To be continued.

She was so pretty even with the scar that ran down the right side of her face. It was still pink and the surgeon hadn’t done a very good job of stitching it up. I could still see little marks where they had been.

She often ran her hand over it when she talked, completely unaware of doing so. It was as if as long as she knew it was there, that meant she was alive.

“How old were you when it all started?” I asked. Even though I had asked the question, I didn’t want to hear the answer. A part of me hoped she would burst out laughing and tell me they had all played a terrible prank on me and I really wasn’t talking to a prostitute.

A prostitute.

A hooker.

An actual whore. A woman who got paid money to sleep with men. The type of woman I had always heard was beneath me and society. The type of woman men went to for various reasons and who often said they wished all women were whores so they could be properly satisfied.

I could never quite assimilate the dichotomy between respecting a woman and in the same breath wanting her to be a whore.

How could anyone respect or even want to be near such a vile creature? A slut and something worse than a rabid dog.

I waited while she thought about her answer. She was so tiny and petite. Her dark hair was pulled back and hung down her back. She was too thin and her nails were chewed down and ragged. Her dark eyes darted and she rocked slightly in her chair.

“I dunno. I guess about 12 or so. Something like that,” she said and looked down at her shoes. Her name was Andrea. She was wearing a baggy pair of jeans and a sweat shirt. Her hand came up quickly and rubbed her scar again.

“Twelve?” I asked and gasped. My hand came up to my neck. She shrank away from me and bent further down towards her knees.

I wasn’t prepared for her answer. My mind reeled as I thought of myself when I was twelve. I was still in love with John Lennon, played records all day long on the weekends and barely knew what sex was.

“Yes ma’am” she whispered. She was hanging her head down in shame.

I felt horrible about my reaction. I hadn’t meant to make her feel bad. I leaned over and gently placed my hand on hers and patted it.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t expect for you to have been so young,” I said.

She looked up at me for a brief moment, smiled and looked away. “I didn’t like it. It hurt really bad.”

My stomach clenched into a knot and I fought the urge to scream. My throat closed up and sweat broke out on my forehead. I was going to be sick.

This wasn’t right. This wasn’t what I had heard all these years. These women chose to do this, just like I chose where I worked and what I did. They chose to be whores and chose to be used by men sexually because they liked it.

I was better than them. I wasn’t a whore or a slut. Only bad women did these things. That’s what everybody said so that made it true.

But she wasn’t like that. She was sweet, polite and funny. She was a decent and kind young woman.

“So…how…I mean…” I stammered. I didn’t know what to say or what to ask.

“We needed the money, I guess,” she said.

“Who is we?” I asked.

She shrugged her shoulders and brushed her hair back. “My family. My parents couldn’t feed us, so a man gave them money for me.”

I didn’t believe her. I didn’t want to believe her.  This had to be some tall tale to gain sympathy from me. These things did not happen. They were all urban legends. They had to be because if they weren’t, then everything I had ever been told was a lie.

I could hear the anguish in her voice. I looked closer at her face. Her eyes were dry but her voice dripped with tears and despair.

I looked up. Several of the other women were watching me. Jackie smiled at me and nodded. She seemed to know what I was thinking. “Yes, it’s true,” she whispered. Suzanne reached over and grabbed Jackie’s hand and held it.

“You? And you too?” I asked them. Jackie and Suzanne nodded.

“You guys are prostitutes too?”

“Yep,” they both said.

“Nice to meet you Susan,” Suzanne said and laughed. I guess the look on my face earned me her teasing.

“Does it matter to you?” Jackie asked me and leaned forward.”Would you like us to leave because our presence is offensive to you now?”

“No,” I said. “I just..”

“Never met a real live one before?” Suzanne asked. She had a half-smile across her face.

“No, I haven’t,” I said. I felt foolish and judgmental.

“Well, we don’t bite, unless you pay us first,” she said and laughed.

“DON’T SAY THAT ABOUT YOURSELF!” I said and shot up out of my chair. My mind was reeling. All that I had known to be true was gone. It dissipated and I had nothing to hold onto.

Suzanne’s smirk was gone. Jackie sat back and Andrea cowered in her chair.

“Don’t ever make fun of yourself again. At least not around me. I won’t have it,” I said. I stood there, looking at all of them. I didn’t know what I wanted to say but I knew what I didn’t want to hear.

“Yes ma’am,” Andrea whispered. I sat back down, took a deep breath and tried to gather my composure. I had shouted at them and I should not have. It bothered me much more than them. They were used to being yelled at, shoved around, raped and tossed aside as I was going to learn in the weeks ahead. But at that moment, I knew none of that.

As soon as I had raised my voice, they shrank back. It didn’t matter that I was also a woman or that I would never harm them. We were not equals. They were inmates and I was a civilian. I had complete power over them and I could use it to help them or to harm them.

The call was all mine and they had no choice but to take whatever I gave out. One word from me and they could be sent back to their cells without any further explanation or proof. I could make their lives a living hell if I wanted to.

Or I could help them as difficult as it might be.

I had a choice. I had come to a crossroad. A very unexpected crossroad that I didn’t know what to do about. If I turned left, I could ignore who these women really were and carry along with the program and choose to not know anything I didn’t want to know.

Or I could turn right and enter a world that I knew nothing about, that was filled with darkness, horror, pain and evil. If I did that, I had no one in my life to pull me out of it. I would have to go it alone and hope for the best for myself.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you guys,” I said.

“I guess we shocked the shit out of you,” Suzanne said and smiled. Her eyes were kind and the smirk was gone.

“You might say that,” I said and smiled back. It was getting late and I needed to get them back to their cells.

I turned and looked at Andrea. Her head was still down and she was being as quiet as she could be. I placed my hand on her shoulder. She looked up.

“You have nothing to be ashamed of,” I said.

“I keep telling myself that,” she said.

I dismissed the class and told them I would see them again next week. I drove home, lost in thoughts that I wanted no part of. I pulled up into my driveway and cursed myself for not leaving any lights on. My house was dark and I hated that.

I grabbed the mail, opened the front door and turned on the lights while my dogs clamored for all of my attention. I petted them and put them outside. I changed into my pajama’s and sat down on the couch to read my mail.

It had finally arrived. I knew it was coming and here it was.

The foreclosure notice on my house.

It was finally real.

I knew I was going to turn right at my crossroad and turning left had never really been an option.

To be continued as I begin my adventure into human trafficking.

This morning was freezing cold. I was bundled up as best as possible. We all had heavy bags to carry. We each had our literature we were going to hand out and it was time to get started.

Nothing like spending a Sunday morning in a bad neighborhood going door-to-door.

We were paired up. Two people together at all times and always within each others eyesight. Each woman had a man with them. We had each others cell phone numbers and were as prepared as we could be.

This area had been picked due to a recent shooting and human trafficking. Our work was to reach out to people and give them some help. Handing out booklets about better living and their rights is the entry point. Always start with education and information.

I wasn’t nervous but I also am not stupid. The air had an electric feel to it. Many people looked at us suspiciously as we approached and very quickly returned our smiles and eagerly took the information. Each and every one of them thanked us, blessed us and a few wanted to shake our hands.

One person wanted to feed us and was worried that we were cold.

Standing there, looking at her and the ruined house she lived in made me smile. Here she was, living in very horrible conditions and she was worried about me. She probably didn’t have two nickles to rub together, but she wanted to feed me. When I declined, she then wanted to give me coffee. I laughed, shook her hand again and told her I was fine and warm enough.

We worked as fast as we could, going door to door and up so many stairs that I lost count. I could feel my legs getting tired and was still feeling the soreness from working out 2 days before. We would periodically take a quick break, drop our heavy bags and stretch.

As I was walking down one side of the street, a homeless man came around the corner. He had his shopping cart filled with all sorts of things and he was walking slowly. He looked hungry and cold. I guessed his age as his late 50’s with a 3-day growth of whiskers and his clothes were filthy. He had holes in his shoes, no socks and he walked aimlessly with his head down.

I walked up to him and stopped in front of his cart. He looked up and then looked away. I didn’t move.

“Hi,” I said.

He looked up and straight into my eyes. They were a brilliant blue and clear.

“Hi,” he said.

Then he smiled.

It was a beautiful smile.

I reached out my hand to shake his.

He put his hand out.

“You can see me?” he asked as he shook my hand. His hand was cold and dirty. I held it for a moment and looked down at it. I looked back up at him and let go.

“Yes, I can see you,” I said. “I am sorry for your troubles.”

He tilted his head and maintained eye contact. He nodded his head. I reached into my bag and gave him the information.

“I don’t know if this will help you, but I hope it does,” I said. He reached over and took it.

“You’re the first person to have said anything nice to me in…I can’t remember how long. I thought maybe I was invisible…”

“No, you’re not invisible. Maybe you are hiding?”

He laughed. “You might say that.”

He was completely lucid and sweet. I didn’t know his story and didn’t have time to find out, but I knew I would never forget him.

We shook hands and I walked away. As I was crossing the street, he said “I’m glad I met you.”

I turned around and felt the tears starting. I quickly wiped my eyes. “I’m glad I met you too,” I said as I waved and walked away.

We finished up the day, cold and happy. We packed up the van, said our goodbyes and each went our respective ways. I turned on the GPS on my phone to find a way home, cranked up the Pandora app and checked my email and text messages before driving off. The heater was on and I was beginning to thaw. I still had a lot to do that day and my house was not going to clean itself.

As I drove down the street, I kept looking for him. I don’t know why but I wanted to see if he was OK. I’ll probably never see him again but I hope he found a hot meal and a warm place to sleep tonight.