Human Trafficking Survivor Stories
Hello, my name is Theresa. I am a survivor of slavery in America.
When I was 15 years old my parents moved to a new city in Michigan. I was shy and new, which is why when a popular boy at school started paying attention to me, I was flattered. Knowing him from both school and church led me to believe that he was trustworthy.
He offered me a ride home one day and I accepted. On the way he had to make a quick stop at his house and invited me in. When we got inside he told me how beautiful I was, and then he started kissing me. The kissing was okay, but what came next wasn’t. I told him “No”. I begged him to stop. He didn’t listen. That was just the beginning.
I was horrified at what had happened and terrified of what my parents would say. The next day at school he showed me pictures that his cousins had taken while hiding in the closet. He threatened to use them to destroy my family’s reputation unless I “earned” them back. From that day forward I became his slave. He would pick me up in the middle of the night and sell me to dozens of men at a time. They drugged me, hurt me, and used me until I was left like a dirty rag, bleeding, betrayed and alone.
NOTE: Theresa escaped slavery two years later, when her father’s job was transferred to another state. Too scared to tell her parents, she lived with her secret until adulthood.
Theresa’s is one of many human trafficking survivor stories. She is now the mother of two, an international speaker on the subject of modern day slavery, the founder of Traffick Free-an organization aimed at educating the public about slavery, an advocate for Grace Haven-a home for trafficked girls in the U.S., as well as the author of The Sacred Bath and most recently, The Slave Across the Street.
Shauna Newell’s Story
16 year old Shauna Newell’s story of being abducted, drugged, and gang raped
A document by Shared Hope International on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in the United States tells a typical American girl’s story:
“Tanya was walking home from middle school one day when she met her first pimp. He drove up beside her in a fancy car and told her she was pretty. She was 12 years old. She was a smart kid and taking classes for gifted and talented students. It felt good to have someone interested in her and he was sincere and had a nice smile.
Every day for six months he met her after school and they talked. He bought her small gifts and she said he made her feel special. He was making an investment and crafted an illusion of trust and loyalty that bound her to him emotionally. After six months she finally agreed to get in his car. When the door shut, Tanya’s life changed forever. Her boyfriend suddenly became her pimp. She had never left her community before, but suddenly found herself far away from home.
He took away her identity and made her his slave. For the next five years, he had absolute control over her and prostituted her to over 100 men per month. She knew she couldn’t run, he told her, “You’re mine. I know where I got you and I can get you again.” She was arrested many times and was moved from state to state. There was no place for her to run and she was without hope for rescue.”
A Beautiful Slave Music video about human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.
Little Child music video Eric Proffitt performs “Little Child” a moving song spotlighting the awful reality of human trafficking and modern day slavery.
Tina knows intimately about the trauma of being trafficked. When she was fourteen years old, growing up in Chicago, a man coerced her into sexual commerce. Ten years her senior, he pretended that he had fallen in love with her—a classic recruitment technique called “the lover boy.” After several months of courtship, he suggested that they run away from her “meddling parents.” They ended up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he said they were going to visit his relatives. That evening, several of his friends came by the hotel where they were staying, and her “boyfriend” told her to have sex with them. She refused, and the men raped her. After they left, her boyfriend simply said, “That wouldn’t have happened to you if you had just listened to me in the first place.
My Dangerous Loverboy music video One of the most often used forms of entrapment is for an older guy to show interest in a young girl. He will create the illusion of trust, but ultimately force the girl into sexual slavery.
Sex Trafficking PSA
The Detroit Free Press reported in January 2003 that Michigan police had uncovered a multistate sex-trafficking ring involving the abduction of midwestern females, some as young as thirteen years old. The criminal network was exposed when a seventeen-year-old girl fled into a store in a Detroit, Michigan, strip mall and pleaded with a security guard for assistance. Soon thereafter, her traffickers burst into the store in pursuit. The security guard noted that the girl was battered and terrified, so he thwarted the predators and called in the local police. The girl informed the police that she had been kidnapped while waiting at a bus stop in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Her captors drove her to Detroit, where she was forced to engage in commercial sex. The girl subsequently led the police to the house in Detroit where she had been held, and they arrested the leader of the trafficking ring. Upon further investigation, the police learned that the perpetrators had been kidnapping teenage girls for eight years and trafficking them to cities around the Midwest.
Innocence Lost in America’s Heartland