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Chantha

Chantha became a child sex slave in Cambodia at age of 13. Freedom brought no restored sense of self: she observes that her life has “had no significance, no value” (though hopes that it might finally achieve “meaning” through the telling of her story). Instead, freedom brought rejection by her family, prostitution, AIDS, and—six months after she told her story—death from an AIDS-related illness.

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Chariya

Chariya became a child sex slave in Cambodia at age of seven, trafficked with her four-year-old sister. She was rescued after four years. She notes that the dreams of a “little girl” were over when she entered slavery. Her enslavement continues to cast a long shadow: freedom includes “nightmares.” Despite endemic corruption that contributes to slavery in various sectors in Cambodia, including with vulnerable demographics, the government has done little to investigate, prosecute or convict complicit officials.

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Dalyn

Dalyn told her story at the age of 17 while living in a shelter. She was enslaved at the age of 12 after a woman made false promises of a job in a garment factory. Instead, she was sold to a brothel and abused physically and psychologically until the brothel owner was arrested and the children rescued by the AFESIP (Agir Pour La Femmes en Situation Précaire, Acting for Women in Precarious Siutations). Like many other survivors, she expresses a desire to tell her story in order to prevent the enslavement of others. Despite endemic corruption that contributes to slavery in various sectors in Cambodia, including with vulnerable demographics, the government has done little to investigate, prosecute or convict complicit officials.

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Aleta

In the Philippines, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation in brothels, bars, and massage parlours, online, as well as in the production of pornography. The Philippines is an international hub for prostitution and commercial sex tourism – a highly profitable businesses for organised criminal syndicates. The demand for sex with children among both local and foreign men has continued to fuel child sex tourism. Rising internet usage rates, the availability of mobile phones and poverty has fostered online child sexual exploitation. Aleta’s story highlights how children who face abuse at home are particularly vulnerable to enslavement and sexual exploitation.

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Annabel

In the Philippines, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation in brothels, bars, and massage parlours, online, as well as in the production of pornography. The Philippines is an international hub for prostitution and commercial sex tourism – a highly profitable businesses for organised criminal syndicates. The demand for sex with children among both local and foreign men has continued to fuel child sex tourism. Rising internet usage rates, the availability of mobile phones and poverty has fostered online child sexual exploitation.

Annabel left school at 13 and began working various exploitative jobs, first in domestic service and then in a brothel, where she experienced a police raid. Instead of coming to her rescue, the effect of the police operation was to shame and stigmatize Annabel in her own community, making it harder for her to reintegrate or find other work. Annabel also discusses her future, and what changes she would like to see to prevent vulnerable people becoming enslaved.

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Bella C

Cambodia 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. Bella was sold into sex slavery by a woman she met who recruited her for domestic work. Her story demonstrates the ways in which survivors can be supported by organisations to gain self-confidence and education, in order to avoid returning to situations of slavery.

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Charlotte

Charlotte’s story explains how at the age of 14 years she was abducted from a boarding school and held captive for 8 years by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Her mother Angelina Atyam never stopped speaking out and working for her release and that of thousands abducted children in Uganda – despite threats by the LRA. According to the United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons report 2017, some Ugandans abducted by the LRA prior to 2006 remain unaccounted for, and may remain captive with LRA elements in the DRC, Central African Republic, and the disputed area of Kafia Kingi, which is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan.

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Christina A.

Romania is a significant source of sex and labor trafficking victims throughout Europe. Romanian men, women, and children are subjected to labor trafficking in agriculture, construction, domestic service, hotels, and manufacturing, as well as forced begging and theft in Romania and other European countries. Romani children are particularly vulnerable to forced begging and sex trafficking. Corruption is a prevalent issue: government officials have been convicted of human trafficking crimes, and there have been reports of local officials obstructing trafficking investigations. Married against her will at 13 and forced to steal by her husband in Spain and Belgium, Christina now lives in a youth shelter and is going to school.

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Concy

In war-torn Uganda, the abduction of boys to become child soldiers has been widely reported on. However, the fate of thousands of Ugandan girls, who were abducted and sexually exploited, forced to become sex slaves for rebels and soldiers during Uganda’s civil war, has received less attention.

Concy was one of these Ugandan girls who were abducted and forced to serve the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) through sexual slavery, fighting, and forced labour. Her story emphasizes how the stigma around those who manage to escape back to their families and communities makes it difficult to reintegrate, and can lead back into a situation of slavery.

According to the United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons report 2017, some Ugandans abducted by the LRA prior to 2006 remain unaccounted for, and may remain captive with LRA elements in the DRC, Central African Republic, and the disputed area of Kafia Kingi, which is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan.

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Dai

In the United States, slavery occurs in both legal and illicit industries, including in commercial sex, hospitality, traveling sales crews, agriculture, seafood, manufacturing, janitorial services, construction, restaurants, health care, care for persons with disabilities, salon services, fairs and carnivals, peddling and begging, drug smuggling and distribution, and child care and domestic work. Individuals who entered the United States with and without legal status have been identified as trafficking victims. Victims originate from almost every region of the world; the top three countries of origin of federally identified victims in FY 2016 were the United States, Mexico, and the Philippines. Those at particular risk of being enslaved include: children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, runaway and homeless youth, unaccompanied children, migrant laborers, persons with limited English proficiency; persons with low literacy; persons with disabilities; and LGBTI individuals. NGOs noted an increase in cases of street gangs engaging in human trafficking.

“Dai’s” story demonstrates the process by which those who have been exploited can be coerced or forced to become exploiters themselves. “Dai” escaped her situation initially by being “bought” by a wealthy customer. She eventually left him after becoming disgusted with her role as a female pimp.

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Daniela A

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.“Daniela” (not her real name) was trafficked to the US from Mexico. She was sold by her sister and “bought” by a US man who took her and her baby to Alaska. She told her story in 2012 while living at Las Memorias, the only residential free of charge programme for those living with HIV/AIDS in the city of Tijuana.

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Daria

Despite having the lowest regional prevalence of modern slavery in the world, Europe remains a destination, and to a lesser extent, a source region for the exploitation of men, women and children in forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. According to the most recent Eurostat findings, European Union (EU) citizens account for 65 percent of identified trafficked victims within Europe. These individuals mostly originate from Eastern Europe, including Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia. In Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Parliament has identified corruption and the judicial system as reform challenges towards accession talks within the EU. In Greece, the turbulent economic situation has increased vulnerability for populations seeking employment and livelihood opportunities. In Greece, unemployment reached 24.4 percent in January 2016 with a youth unemployment rate of 51.9 percent. Daria describes multiple instances in which she was exploited or enslaved as a child, and the failure of the police to stop the situation.

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K

When K.’s pimp took her for the first time to “work” in a brothel in Bremen, K. began crying and refused to cooperate, and he took her back to their hometown in Bavaria. However, after continued abuse paired with affection, he soon succeeded in prostituting K. in apartments and various legal brothels throughout Germany. During her time in prostitution, spanning over 10 years, K. rarely had days off, sometimes had 20-40 buyers a day, and lived inside the brothels and apartments. Her pimp took all of her money, and repeatedly raped and beat her inside the brothels. When K. was 20, her pimp pressured her to get breast implants. Though K.’s pimp had previously been convicted of pimping in 1970 and had a long criminal record for other crimes including fraud and bodily harm, he was able to become the manager of a legal brothel in 2001, and to get K. “employed” in various legal brothels throughout the country—in at least two of these brothels while she was still a minor. He also signed a contract on her behalf making her a manager of one of the brothels, during which time K. continued to be prostituted in the very same brothel, with her pimp taking all of her earnings.

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Kolab

Kolab does not know who her real parents are. She studied to grade 5, then was forced to worked as a family servant, in a karaoke bar, and to sell drugs and sex. After eventually escaping successfully she tried to find work outside of the sex industry but could find no work, and so began work in a massage parlor brothel. Later she was able to leave the industry with the help of an NGO named AFESIP Cambodia. Names have been changed to protect the survivors' privacy.

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Loreta

Observers estimate 40 percent of identified Lithuanian trafficking victims are women and girls subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Lithuanian women are also subjected to sex trafficking in Western Europe and Scandinavia. Having grown up in a state-run children’s home, Loreta was prostituted from age 15 to age 19 by a man who claimed to be her Godfather. After escaping her abusers, she lived at the Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Center in Lithuania for a year, where she was provided with holistic survivor-oriented services to help her regain control of her life.

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Margeaux

Particularly vulnerable populations in the United States include: children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems; runaway and homeless youth; unaccompanied children. 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. Marheaux was exploited sexually as a child in the United States, but is now an activist and advocate for other survivors of slavery. She argues for better support for those leaving situations of enslavement.

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Rebecca

UK children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Children in the care system and unaccompanied migrant children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Rebecca was sexually abused and exploited as a child and only left her situation as an adult when she experienced such violence that she ended up in hospital. Here she discusses how societal gender norms contribute to and justify abuse to women and girls.

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Rowena

In the Philippines, women and children are subjected to sexual exploitation in brothels, bars, and massage parlours, online, as well as in the production of pornography. The Philippines is an international hub for prostitution and commercial sex tourism – a highly profitable businesses for organised criminal syndicates. The demand for sex with children among both local and foreign men has continued to fuel child sex tourism. Rising internet usage rates, the availability of mobile phones and poverty has fostered online child sexual exploitation.

Rowena’s account of her route into sexual exploitation highlights that family problems of abuse and poverty make children vulnerable to coercion into the sex industry.

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Su Thet Htoo

There are an estimated 575,000 people living in modern slavery in Myanmar (Burma). It is a country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and for women and children subjected to sex trafficking, both in Myanmar and abroad. It is also increasingly a destination and transit country for foreign victims, including women and girls from India. Some Burmese men, women, and children who migrate for work abroad—particularly to Thailand and China, as well as other countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the United States—are subjected to forced labor or sex trafficking. Men are subjected to forced labor abroad in fishing, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, and construction, while women and girls are primarily subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, or forced labor in garment manufacturingAfter four and a half months of training, Su Thet Htoo was sent to work as a guard on the frontline in Karen state, where there have long been insurgents. He was finally freed after campaigning by his mother. The Burmese Army agreed to stop using child soldiers in 2012, but there are signs that this has not stopped completely, and armed ethnic groups still recruit both men and boys through intimidation, coercion, threats, and violence. In addition to formally recruiting at least two children into its ranks in 2016, the military may have continued to use children for labor or other support roles. Some ethnic armed groups abduct or recruit children—including from internally displaced persons’ camps—for use as soldiers in fighting against the Burmese army.

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Trisha

Trisha became more vocal in speaking out about the abuses of the sex industry after writing about the 2006-2007 murder trial of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton—most of whose victims were women in prostitution and many of whom were known to Trisha. In 2009 she founded EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating), a volunteer, non-governmental, non-profit organization composed of former sex-industry women dedicated to abolishing prostitution as a form of violence against women. She is a leading activist in the campaign calling on the Canadian government to reform its prostitution laws so that women in prostitution are decriminalized and provided with much-needed services, while sex buyers, pimps and brothel owners are criminalized.