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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 B left home with the man she thought was her boyfriend at 14 years old. He trafficked her into commercial sexual exploitation. Tina B was raped daily. She went to the police for help, but instead they arrested her and placed her into juvenile detention for prostitution.

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Wendy

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. Wendy Barnes was trafficked from the age of 15 across the US West Coast for nearly 15 years, from the mid 1980s until 2000. Her trafficker, Gregory Leon Hightower, was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison in Oregon. Wendy now lives in Southern California and works full time as a customer service representative. Her narrative is from an interview with Francine Sporenda for the Révolution Féministe website, originally published in French and then in English by Nordic Model Now!, a UK secular, feminist, grassroots women’s group campaigning for the abolition of prostitution and related practices. Wendy has published a book about her experiences titled And Life Continues: Sex Trafficking and My Journey to Freedom (2015).

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Anne

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. Anne was 14 when she ran away from home. Whilst homeless in Minneapolis, a man took her in with the promise of food and clothing. He encouraged her to work as a sex worker and took her earnings. Anne worked for twenty years as a sex worker, facing constant abuse and threats from her pimps.

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Srey Neth

There are an estimated 261,000 people living in modern slavery in Cambodia (GSI 2018). The country was renowned as a sex tourism destination in the 1990s and this legacy is still prevalent today with women and girls trafficked within the thriving sex industry in Cambodia's major cities. Despite significant attempts to curb CSE, NGOs report the industry has been pushed underground and sex offenders are still able to purchase sex with children through an intermediary rather than more overt selling of sex in brothels. Boys and young men are also vulnerable to sexual exploitation, with many entering the massage industry due to a lack of training and skills.  Srey Neth is a young Cambodian victim of human trafficking. In this story she speaks of her experience transitioning from victim to survivor. At 14 she was sold by her mother to a pimp for $300; a week later he sold her virginity for the same price then he forced her to serve 10-20 men per night afterwards. Her refusal was met with beatings or electrocution. Srey Neth was later rescued by police and a non-governmental organization. During her recovery, which unsurprisingly has taken more than five years, she was diagnosed with HIV.

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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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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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Blu

On any given day in 2016 there were an estimated 40.3 million people in modern slavery across the world, with women and girls accounting for 71% of victims. People looking for work and a better standard of living are often deceived, forced and coerced in to such forms of modern slavery as forced labour, debt bondage, domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Women and girls made up more than 99% of victims of forced sexual exploitation. Moreover more than 1 million of these victims (21%) were children under the age of 18. Child victims are often difficult to detect by both law enforcement and child protection agents, as such the true figure of children in commercial sexual exploitation is likely to be much higher than the current estimate. Blu was 13 years old when she began seeing an older boy that lived near her school. This boy began forcing Blu to have sex with other men, subjecting her to physical violence when she refused. Though other people in her life – including her mother – knew about her prostitution, no one believed that she was being forced. It was only when she left school at 16 and moved away that she could escape.

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Beth A

Sex trafficking exists throughout the United States and across the world. Traffickers use violence, threats, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. According the US Federal Law, any person under the age of 18 years old persuaded into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking – no matter if the trafficker uses force, fraud and coercion or not. In many cases of sex trafficking, victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces or manipulates them into prostitution. 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.” 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 was just 16 when she met a man who said he wanted to be her boyfriend. He invited her to a party in a different state, however on the way there Beth was beaten and drugged. On awaking Beth was threatened with a gun, had her identifying documents taken from her and forced to perform commercial sex work.