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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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Duyen

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Included in the types of slavery prevalent in China is forced labour, with China's unprecedented rise to the world's second largest economy and its domestic economy specialising in the production of labour-intensive, cheap goods for export, increasing the demand for cheap labour. Forced labour occurs in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, as well as more informal industries such as brick kilns and garment facoties. Many women are also tricked in to forced labour as domestic servants, lured by the promise of good jobs with high incomes they instead find themselves confined to the house and forced to work long hours with little or no pay.Duyan was told she would just be visiting China when she was sold to a Chinese family to be their made. Duyan was finally able to escape and reported her trafficker to the police.

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Borey

There are an estimated 610,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Thailand (GSI 2018). Men, women and children are victims of human trafficking for forced labour in the Thai fishing industry, subjected to physical abuse, excessive and inhumane working hours, sleep and food deprivation, forced use of methamphetamines and long trips at sea confined to the vessel. Due to the fishing industry relying on trans-shipments at sea to reduce expenditure, some find themselves trapped on long-haul trawlers for years at a time. This makes the monitoring of enslaves labour on fishing vessels costly and difficult. Borey was trafficked from Cambodia on to a Thai fishing vessel. Though he has now escaped conditions of slavery, Borey still suffers mental health issues from his trauma.

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Atiya Z

The Global Slavery Index has estimated that there are almost 3 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in the region of the Middle East and North Africa. Oman is a transit and destination country for men and women primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, most of whom migrate willingly as domestic servants or low-skilled workers in the country’s construction, agriculture and service sectors. Trafficked persons subsequently experience conditions of modern slavery such as the confiscation of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, long working hours without rest and physical or sexual abuse. Atiya Z.,” 28, from Kondowa, travelled to Oman in June 2015. Her employer confiscated her passport and phone, forced her to work 21 hours a day with no rest and no day off, did not allow her to eat food without permission, and beat her every day. She attempted to flee after three weeks, but her employer brought her back and told her she had to pay back the money they had paid for her. Atiya called her agent in Oman for help, but the agent said it was her employer’s decision. After this incident, Atiya said her employer confined her to the house. In April 2016, she fainted because she could not eat due to a swollen throat. When they returned from the hospital, her employers beat and raped her in retaliation.

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Suzzan Blac

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. While a number of victims are trafficked from other countries such as Albania, Romania and Nigeria into the UK, UK residents are also vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.  Suzzan Blac was born in 1960 in Birmingham to a dysfunctional family in which she experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse. In 1976 she travelled to London for what she thought was a job interview, after meeting with her employer and having her mother sign a contract and consent form Suzzan thought she would begin a new life in London. However, she was taken to an old hotel building, raped by her employer and multiple other men before being forced, along with other young girls, to perform sexually in front of both a video and still camera. Subjected daily to threats, beatings and rape, Suzzan learned how to numb her mind. At the age of 16 Suzzan was able to escape from her traffickers with the help of one of the men involved in the trafficking ring. However, while she may have been physically free, she felt her mind was still trapped. At the age of 18 filled with guilt, shame and self-blame she sought medical help but was not given the support she needed by doctors who either gave her drugs to numb her feelings or abused her further. It wasn’t until the birth of her daughter at the age of 28 that Suzzan says she began to recognise her past abuse and the understanding of true motherhood. During the years 2000-2004 she was compelled to paint 42 images about her abuse in order to help process her pain and trauma into something tangible. Suzzan did not reveal these paintings for a further 10 years, finally deciding in 2011 that being a survivor was not enough, she wanted to be a voice for other survivors. Suzzan’s work is now exhibited around the world and she continues to be a voice for survivors, using her blog on The Violence of Pornography and her art in seminars to train social workers on child sexual abuse and trafficking.