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Fedelina

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.  Fedelina moved to the U.S from the Philippines for domestic work in 1974. She was told she would be looking after just one person, but upon arrival found she was to work for the entire family across multiple households. She was forced to wake up at 4.30am each morning to cook, clean and care for the family’s children. Her movement was restricted, and she was forced to sleep on the floor of her employer’s house, despite there being three bedrooms. One day in 2018, when Fedelina’s employer was receiving dialysis, the Filippino nurse treating her called an ambulance after Fedelina became sick. Though Fedelina told the hospital that she was paid for her work and free to leave at any time, later the FBI showed up and assisted in her in leaving her exploitation. 

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Raymundo

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. Raymundo travelled from Mexico to California for work. He was promised it would be legal and took out a loan from his trafficker to pay for his visa. Upon arrival, he was forced to live in a room with 34 other men who had been trafficked. Raymundo was forced to work long hours under constant surveillance and threats of deportation. Raymundo was able to escape after approaching an inspector that had come to assess the farm.

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Kat Rosenblatt

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. Kat Rosenblatt grew up in an abusive home in South Florida. After her mother left her father and too Kat to a hotel, Kat was befriended by a young girl who over the course of a month groomed her into sex tourism. The first time Kat Rosenblatt’s traffickers attempted to sell her to an older man, she resisted and was left for dead in the street. Though she was able to escape this situation, Kat was trafficked again by a friend’s father who later planted drugs in her school bag. Kat was suspended and became a drug addict. However, after overcoming her addictions, Kat obtained a PhD, wrote a book about her experience and founded her organisation There Is Hope For Me.

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Sharmila Wijeyakumar

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. Sharmila ran away from her home when she was a teenager. She found herself working in a nightclub where she was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Sharmila was helped to escape by a patron of the brothel where she was being kept. However, finding herself homeless she agreed to work in another brothel. She was rescued by her family from the second brothel. While training to be a chef in Florida, Sharmila finally felt safe enough to share her trafficking experience with people she knew. However, 48 hours after doing so, she was trafficked for a third time. A church helped Sharmila escape these traffickers and she now works for the organisation Rahab’s Daughters to help other people escape their traffickers.

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Robin Flemming

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. Robin Flemming was 20 years old when she met a man who seemed like everything she was looking for. He was loving, caring and promised her the world. It wasn’t until she moved to Texas to live with him that he began using her for profit. Flemming’s trafficker, whom she now refers to as “the monster,” brought her to a club one day and told her she was going to audition to be a dancer. During her first night of dancing, she earned $3,000. Throughout their marriage, they moved across the country and lived in more than six states. Flemming said her trafficker abused her verbally and mentally, raped her numerous times and occasionally kicked out of her home, leaving her with no place to go. After secretly stashing money at work, Flemming raised about $10,000, which she used to escape from her trafficker. She went to work one day and decided that she would not come back. It wasn't until two and a half years later that her trafficker finally started leaving her alone. Flemming was able to divorce her trafficker in 2007, a year after she saw him for the last time. She then had to work to get her life back to normal. Flemming stayed in exotic dancing for six more years. After counseling, continuous nightmares and a year of being sober, her life has returned to normal. She now lives in Columbia with her husband and daughter and runs a day-care. She is currently trying to repair her relationship with her other daughter, who also lives in Columbia and is married.

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Gaby

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. Gaby was suffering from drug and alcohol addiction when she posted an ad online to find a job in modelling or web-camming. Her ad was answered by a college professor who rented an apartment for her and other women to stay in where men would come in to purchase sex. Gaby was afraid to leave because her trafficker had all of her information. He had her ID, her social security card, and he knew where she lived. Gaby was in a controlled environment where she was allowed to leave. She always went back because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn't. One day she found a church, went inside, and wrote a suicide note on a prayer card. The church's female pastor found the note and tracked down Gaby. The pastor told her to not go back and she gave Gaby a place to stay in her family's home. Gaby never went back, she went to rehab and became part of Wellspring Living Program for young girls and women who have been trafficked. She now supports herself with a government job and is raising her 8-year old son. 

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Penelope

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. Penelope’s* father became involved in criminal activity when she was a child which led to the repossession of their house. They moved into his friend’s house and when they became unable to pay rent, her father forced Penelope into child sexual exploitation, offering her to his friends as payment. One night when she was nine years old, Penelope was taken by her father’s friend and locked her in a room, where she was raped for days by adult men. After a few days of ‘breaking in’, Penelope was trafficked across the backroads of Mississippi, forced to see 15-20 men each night. After three years, Penelope’s mother came for her after being left by her father. It was a long road to recovery, Penelope entered into an abusive relationship as a teenager and suffered with alcohol addiction in college. She was finally able to receive help from a friend who introduced her to a church.

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Avery

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. Avery* was 12 years old when she was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation by a woman who promised her a job in modelling. She was kidnapped, beaten, raped, deprived of food and water, and when she returned home remained under the control of her trafficker until she was 18 years old.

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Terry Forliti

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. A series of traumatic events lead to a 30-year drug addiction for Terry Forliti. After her addiction lead to the breakdown of an abusive marriage, Terry found herself on the streets. She met a man who would eventually become her pimp and force her into prostitution for the next five years. Terry was eventually arrested and while spending time in jail was introduced to the Breaking Free organization who offered a housing programme to poor mothers trapped in prostitution. Terry spent three years in the programme, obtained a BA and began working for the organization helping others who had been through similar experiences

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Monica

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. Monica was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in the state of Nebraska. She talks about the importance of removing stigma and having conversations to raise awareness about what can lead to human trafficking. In terms of supporting those who have been trafficked, Monica puts emphasis on access to health care, social services, juvenile justice, the education system and transportation

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Alice

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. Alice was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation in 1999 in Nebraska. She talks about the importance of education for the prevention of trafficking and teaching police and medical staff how to treat people who have been trafficked. Alice also stresses the importance of safe houses, ensuring women who have been trafficked have a safe place to go and available support.

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Tina 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. Tina was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation in the state of Nebraska. Here she talks about the role that drugs play in trafficking women in the state, and how their lives are affected even after they have escaped.

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Vicky

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. Vicky was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation in the state of Nebraska. She talks about the role drugs played in her trafficking and the importance of listening to those who have experienced trafficking.

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Jane 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. Jane was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation in the state of Nebraska. She talks about not being believed by friends and family, and how women who have been trafficked are often punished to a greater extent than men exploiting them.  

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Sally

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. Sally was trafficked into prostitution in the state of Nebraska. She tells of her struggles being believed by her family at the time and how she continues to struggle years later with feelings of fear and distrust.

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Becky

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. Becky was trafficked into prostitution in the state of Nebraska. She talks about her trafficking experience and stresses the importance of differentiating between those who have been trafficked and those who choose prostitution. In her own experience, failing to acknowledge this has meant that even after escape, women are still fighting to prove their point and what happened to them. Becky suggests that education in schools and among the police is important for the prevention of trafficking and in the treatment,  women receive after escape.

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Nancy

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. Nancy was trafficked into prostitution, subjected to sexual abuse and violence daily. Nancy stresses the importance of education and raising awareness for both the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation and understanding how to support survivors. She highlights the need for survivors be supported by police rather than interrogated for information and have access to wider networks of support.  

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Susan A

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. Susan was 16 years old when she was forced into prostitution by her boyfriend whom she thought she would be with forever. She talks here about the need for greater education on commercial sexual exploitation in schools and in the prison system to prevent trafficking of young girls. She also talks about ways to support women after their trafficking experience, highlighting the need for employment, housing and counselling. 

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Tammy

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. Tammy was trafficked into prostitution in the state of Nebraska. Here, Tammy draws on her own experience to suggest ways to support women after they have escaped their trafficking situation. She highlights the lack of access to shelter, financial support and education. She also underlines the importance of rehabilitations of traffickers before they are released from jail.

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Jenny 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. Jenny was trafficked into forced prostitution in the state of Nebraska. Here she draws on her experience to suggest ways to improve support for women after they have escaped their trafficker. She highlights the importance of raising awareness and access to counselling, not just for the person trafficked but those close to them.