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Ali

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States. 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.    Ali, a young woman who fell into a life of drug addiction and prostitution in Philadelphia, describes the hold sex traffickers have on their victims and how she was ultimately able to escape the life with the help of a deputy sheriff on an FBI task force. 

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Amy

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States. 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. Amy was a single mother struggling to provide for her children when she began working in an adult club. On her second night of work she met a man that offered her what she thought was a legitimate job. Once she reached his place of business, however, she was held against her will and subjected to physical and sexual abuse until she agreed to provide sexual services. In this narrative, Amy talks of the importance of training emergency services on how to deal with sex trafficking victims.

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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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Ana B

There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. 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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Angela

Angela Guanzon was brought to the United States from Bacolod City, Philippines, in 2005, to work at an elderly care home in California. But upon arrival she was told she owed $12,000 in fees, to be deducted before wages. She worked 18 hours a day and slept on hallway floors for two and half years. The FBI rescued Angela and several other workers in 2008. Angela testified against her trafficker in criminal court and the woman received a five-year prison sentence. Angela is now a survivor-organizer with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), a nonprofit organization that provided her with shelter and legal assistance.

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April

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States. 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. Young people who run away from home are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation by traffickers: the Department of Justice estimates that 293,000 youth are at risk. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) estimates that “1 in 5 of the 11,800 runways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2015 were likely sex trafficking victims.  April ran away from home at 15 years old and became involved with a primp named 'Tom' who held her hostage, threatening her with physical violence if she tried to escape. 'Tom' forced April to have sex with men where she was subjected to verbal abuse and sexual violence daily. April was finally rescued by the FBI. 

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Arien

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States. 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. Arien was feeling alone when she met a man who made her feel like he was there for her. After building up her trust this man began to abuse Arien and forced her into commercial sexual exploitation. Taken across the United States by her trafficker and subjected daily to physical and sexual abuse, Arien was finally able to escape one night while her trafficker was sleeping.

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Asia

In 2004, at age 16, Asia Graves was trafficked in Boston and spent two and half years trapped in sexual exploitation. In 2009 she testified during a six-day trial that resulted in the conviction of two men at the centre of a major child-trafficking operation. They were both sentenced to 25 years in prison. Before testifying, she had moved to Tennessee, fearing for her safety, and returned to Boston only to speak at trial. In 2012 she moved to Washington DC and began work as the Maryland Program Coordinator and Survivor Advocate at FAIR Girls, a nonprofit group fighting sexual exploitation.

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Barbara

Barbara Amaya is an award winning author, advocate and survivor. From the age of 12 she was trafficked in Washington DC and New York for over a decade. A sought-after speaker and advocate for trafficking victims and survivors of trauma everywhere, Barbara has shared her story on television and college campuses as well as with multiple civic, legal, faith and women’s organizations. Barbara is called upon by law makers and law enforcement to train others and to add her expert testimony to aid in the passing of human trafficking legislation in her home state of Virginia as well as other states. In 2014 Barbara was awarded the James B. Hunter Human Rights Award. She is the author of the book Nobody's Girl: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery and Transformation (2015).

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Barbara (Narrative 2)

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States. 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. Young people who run away from home are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation by traffickers: the Department of Justice estimates that 293,000 youth are at risk. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) estimates that “1 in 5 of the 11,800 runways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2015 were likely sex trafficking victims. Barbara Amaya ran away from an abusive home in North Virginia at 12 years old. By the age of 16 in 1972 she had been sent to three detention centres and lived on the streets of Washington DC and New York City. She spent over 10 years as a victim of commercial sexual exploitation where she was forced to work as a prostitute and hooked on heroin. Today Barbara works to bring awareness of the adversity that survivors of violence and trauma have overcome and trains law enforcement, health care professionals, teachers and counsellors how to interact with victims.

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Beth

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. Beth Jacobs ran away from home at the age of 16. Beth recalls how she was ‘befriended’ by a trafficker, drugged, raped, and taken to another state. She was forced to provide sexual services for six years, subjected to daily abuse including rape and beatings. Beth calls on the Arizona legislature to enact provisions supported by the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force to end the criminalization of human trafficking victims.  

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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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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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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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Bukola

There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. 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. Bukola was trafficked by her husband who promised her a better life and loving relationship in the US. Bukola’s husband withheld food and prevented her from leaving the house, forcing her to work braiding hair in their home and taking the money for himself. It was after reaching out to a public health nurse that Bukola was able to escape to a shelter, where she stayed for 8 months with her son and was referred to a support group for immigrant women and refugees.

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Bukola Oriola (Narrative 2)

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. Bukola Oriola, a Nigerian international news journalist was on a visit to New York to cover the UN 50th Anniversary, when she was invited by the man who it had arranged would be her husband to visit him in Minnesota. Upon arrival, he convinced her to stay, organising a spousal visa. However, Bukola soon found herself confined to the home with her movements monitored at all times. She was finally able to escape her situation after the birth of her child with the help of a public health nurse.

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Carissa

Carissa Phelps is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the organisation Runaway Girl. She grew up in California and, enduring a troubled home life, dropped out of school when she was 12 and ran away. After meeting a pimp, she was forced into prostitution, and later arrested alongside him. After returning home she was arrested for joyriding and sent to a juvenile detention centre, where she began to receive therapy and an education. She went on to graduate from high school, university and obtain a law degree from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). A documentary about her story was released in 2008, named Carissa.

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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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Celena

Celena is originally from Mexico, but was forced into slavery in the US performing sex work from the age of 19. In the US, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended, prohibits all forms of human trafficking, but there are still an estimated 57,700 people living in slavery within its borders. According to the Global Slavery Index, “The U.S. attracts undocumented workers, migrants, and refugees, who can be at particular risk of vulnerability to human trafficking upon their arrival and during their stay in the U.S. Research undertaken on vulnerable migrant labourer populations in San Diego, California, and in North Carolina suggests that these populations often include undocumented seasonal labourers who experience significant language barriers, cultural non-assimilation, and fear of deportation.” Here Celena discusses how medical services she accessed while in slavery failed to seize opportunities to understand her situation and act appropriately to remove her from those who enslaved her. The US Department of Justice estimates that of the 14,500 and 17,500 foreign-born individuals trafficked into the US annually, some 80 percent are female, and 70 percent of these women end up as sex slaves. Feeder countries include Albania, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico (many from the central region of Tlaxcala, a haven for modern-day slave traders), Nigeria, and Ukraine. Often the women are forced to work to pay off the debts imposed by their smugglers—debts ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 per person. They might perform 4000 acts of sexual intercourse each year to meet their quota, at $10 to $25 per act.

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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.