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Catie

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Catie was 18 years old when she moved from Colorado to San Francisco and met a man at a nightclub. She began a relationship with this man that soon became coercive and manipulative. Catie was forced in to prostitution and threatened with violence daily. Catie was eventually able to escape her situation and twenty years later as a survivor has moved on with the help of Oakland-based non-profit AnnieCannons whose mission is to teach sex trafficking survivors how to develop software and websites.

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Fainness

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.  Fainness started working for a diplomat in Malawi. Fainness states that while in Malawi everything was fine and there were ‘no red flags’. However, once she was taken to the US everything changed. Fainness was forced to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week and was paid less than 50 cents an hour. She was forced to sleep on the basement floor and wasn’t allowed to use the family’s soap or shampoo because she was told she would ‘contaminate’ them. Fainness was subjected to constant surveillance by her employer, who would tell her as a diplomat, she was immune from the law. After three years, Fainness was finally able to escape when her employer came home drunk and left the garage door open. Fainness’ friend took her to a lawyer and she was able to sue her employer, being awarded over $1 million in damages.

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Taylor

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Taylor was forced to provide sexual services by a man who told her he would care for her. Taylor tells of how she was completely controlled by this man and branded with a tattoo. It was only when her mother saw her on Backpage and reported it to the police that she was able to leave her situation.

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Katrina

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.  Katrina Owens, sex trafficking survivor and peer advocate for sexually exploited children, gives her perspective on the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), how she got out, and what the public should know about the young victims of commercial sexual exploitation. 

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Samantha

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. At 14 years old Samantha ran away from home and became involved with a local gang. She tells of how she was controlled by these people and forced to provide sexual services. The gang controlled when she ate, when she slept and if she showered. Samantha was finally able to escape by jumping out of a car while with a customer.

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Christi

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Christi became addicted to drugs while in high school. Though she went to rehab at the age of 18, after leaving her drug abuse continued. One day, her boyfriend told her that she would have to prostitute herself to get them drugs. Even after leaving this man, she met another who took her to Memphis and forced her to provide sexual services, using her addiction as a form of control. Christi states that when she got arrested, she hit rock bottom and called her mom to help her get out of the situation. Christi is now a wife and mother active in her church and community. She supports the local drug court as a mentor and speaks publicly about sex trafficking and awareness.

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Sara B

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Sara B fell in with the wrong crowd during high school and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. After school, Sara began working for an escort service where she believed she could earn good money. However, Sara did not receive any of the money she earned and felt like she could not leave. Sara’s drug addiction became worse, until one day she was taken to a drug house and raped by several men. It was after this that Sara decided she couldn’t do it anymore. She moved to St Louis, attended college, worked with inner-city kids and travelled to Thailand to council exploited women on how to get help. Sara is currently a health care worker.

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Brittany

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.  Brittany ran away from home at the age of 10 or 11, after her stepfather became abusive. One day while in a supermarket she met a man who offered her a modelling job. However, instead, Brittany was put in a van, taken to Chicago and forced to provide sexual services for men. She was finally rescued at the age of 14/15 after an undercover police officer visited the brothel. She has now been adopted by a foster family.

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Tricia Grant

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Tricia Grant was approached by two men offering a way for her to make some money to support her son. However, upon arriving at the address she was given, Tricia was forced to provide sexual services against her will. The men threatened to take away her son if she refused.

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Dee Clark

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Dee was in and out of foster care as a child. At the age of 12 she was taken to a party where a man invited her back to his apartment. Once there, Dee was taken to a pimp named Red and subjected to commercial sexual exploitation. She was arrested for prostitution at 13 years old. Dee talks about the hardship of recovery and finding support after escaping the life and now works to support other survivors of sex trafficking.

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Taylor

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Taylor was trafficked out of Florida by a family friend when she was 16 years old. Taylor was subjected to sexual abuse and trafficked around the country, forced to provide sexual services. She was finally able to escape and went to her mother who called the police. Taylor was in FBI witness protection while her trafficker was being prosecuted. She is now 18 years old and her trafficker has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison followed by lifetime supervised release.

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John

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. John was 4 years old when his father started selling him for sex. At the age of 16, he was abandoned on the street and forced to continue selling himself for sex to survive. He knew no different.

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Brooke

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Brooke was trafficked for sex by her nanny at 7 years old while her mother was in hospital and her father travelled for work.

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Jessa

There are an estimated 17,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Canada (GSI 2018). Both Canadian and foreign citizens are exploited in forced labour and sex trafficking. Forced labour affects migrant workers under ‘low-skilled’ temporary visa streams including the low-wage and primary agricultural streams. These workers are often in restaurants, hotels, agriculture, food preparation, construction or domestic work. Sexual exploitation of Canadian citizens is the most common form of slavery detected by authorities in the country, with 93% of sex trafficking victims being Canadian. As a child Jessa was sexually abused by family members and given to child pornographers. She tells of how this then led to the pornographer selling her body to men and other pimps. Jessa was trafficked across Canada, the US and other countries, forced to provide sexual services to men and women. At the age of 21 Jessa was approached by a woman working with survivors of trafficking. This began Jessa’s journey to freedom.

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Jamie B

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018).  Among this number, are children subjected to forced marriage. A study published on child marriage in 2011 determined that the prevalence of child marriage among women in the US was 8.9 percent, meaning that over 9.4 million US women were married at age 16 or younger. Forced marriage and child marriage are understudied problems within the United States and more research is needed to determine what drives its occurrence.   Jamie was forced in to an arranged marriage when she was 19, to a man who beat and raped her and abused their children.

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Ana

here are an estimated 403,000 people in modern slavery in the US (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Low, semi- and unskilled domestic and foreign labourers are at risk of forced labour within the agricultural sector. Migrants from Mexico have been found in conditions of forced labour in the USA, where they are subjected to poor living and working conditions including excessive working hours, withholding and non-payment of salaries, confinement to plantations, refusal of medical care and physical and sexual abuse.  Ana crossed the Mexico-US border seeking the American Dream and to provide a better life for her son. However instead, she found herself forced to work long hours picking fruit, with little pay and poor living conditions under the threat of violence. Ana was finally freed when two people she had asked for help called the police. 

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Jasmine Grace

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.  Jasmine Grace was 18 years old when she first met Brian. They began to see each other often and Brian bought Jasmine Grace nice things. One night, Brian took Jasmine Grace to see her friend who had become engaged in prostitution after also meeting a man. Her friend told her about the amazing life she had, how much money she was making and how her ‘boyfriend’ took care of her. After being taught how to service johns, Jasmine Grace recalls how Brian kept her under his control through beatings, violence and threats for 5 years. Though Jasmine Grace managed to escape her trafficker, she notes how her life spiralled as she became homeless and addicted to heroin, taking another 3 years before she was able to get clean. 

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Bianca

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.  Bianca was a teenager when she began talking to a man named Shy on the internet. At the age of 16 she travelled to San Jose to meet him. Bianca was taken to Shy’s tattoo shop and prevented from leaving. Shy placed an ad on the internet and took photos of Bianca, and then forced her in to prostitution. Bianca was finally able to leave when she feared for her life after being threatened by Shy.

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Tika

There are an estiamted 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States. Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.  Tika ran away from home at 12 years old. She was kidnapped, beaten, raped and sold for days. After this experience Tika remained on the streets, being forced to prostitute herself by a pimp. It was after being badly beaten by her pimp at 18 years old that she was finally able to leave her situation. 

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Maya C

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the Unites States. Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the US. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Maya tells of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and how her subsequent addiction to drugs led her in to a life of prostitution. Maya was forced Maya was forced by people, including her boyfriend to prostitute herself in order to obtain drugs. Maya recalls how a group of men locked her in a room filled with dog faeces, put a collar and beat her. After being locked up for 3 days she was finally able to escape and is now sober.