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.
I didn’t know what a pimp was so he didn’t come up to me and say you know, here this what you’re gonna do and I did it. It was more a domestic violence situation where they pretend like he’s your boyfriend, they care about you, pick you up, you tell them too much information that they use against you.
I was raped and forced to do it and I felt like it was my fault. He told me that you know, if I would’ve just did it and all the stuff that he did for me, all the things that he bought for me. How could I betray him like that?
I basically begged police to take me to jail and that I was a juvenile. Erm so I was arrested and for a year in juvenile detention and no one believed me, no one really cared.
So then I realized that everything that he told me of police would never believe me, they weren’t going to do anything, pimping was legal, nothing would ever happen to him erm, that’s exactly what happened. That’s exactly what happened to him. So I walked away from that situation thinking that I was in the wrong.
Narrative as told to Russia Today