Survivor of Human Trafficking
I am a survivor of human trafficking.
I was born in America and given up for adoption at birth. I was adopted by a couple I have no recollection of. From the one photograph I was able to obtain of my adopted mother, she was beautiful with kind eyes. She died from cancer when I was four. My adopted father either could not or would not keep me in his grief, so I was given back up for adoption. At the age of four, I was put in the foster care system. I was in three different foster homes from the ages of four- six. I have little recollection of them. I was transferred to my third foster home when I was five years old. I was abducted when I was newly six years old. I remember very little about my abduction, only that there was some sort of barbeque party- maybe a birthday, going on that day- and the house was full of people. I remember suddenly feeling very nauseous and very tired. I searched for my foster mother, asked if I could go to bed, and headed up the stairs to the bedroom. I remember tripping up the stairs, and I remember desperately trying not to vomit on her cream-coloured carpeting. When I reached the second floor I remembering trying to decide between going to the bathroom to vomit or laying down- I was afraid that I would pass out on the way to the bathroom, so I went to lay down.
I woke up in a massive crate-type wooden box. I remember that it smelled strongly of rotting food and waste. There were five other girls in the box with me. There were two cots side-by-side on the far right of the box, and water-container and six bags of bread to the far left. There two several empty pots lined up along the back of the box. These were used as our restroom. I have no idea how long we were in that crate, but we soon ran out of water- and there were several fights breaking out because the older girls were trying to ration the water, but everyone was desperate for nourishment. One of the girls died. We laid her down on one of the cots, and everyone pretended that she was sleeping. We never spoke aloud about what had actually happened. As time went on the pots were over-flowing and there was waste and vomit all over the floor. The smell was over-powering. Eventually there was a lot of shuffling above, the top of the crate was opened, and a ladder was put down. We were taunted for being so filthy. The young girl who had died was unceremoniously picked up over a large man’s shoulder. They checked her pulse and then dropped her to the floor with a deafening crack. I remember thinking that maybe she would still be okay because her eyes were open.
We were stripped and hosed down and then lined up. We were taken to a house surrounded by trees. We were asked if we were a virgin. I didn’t know what a virgin was. Their rough fingers checked us. One of the older girls was not a virgin. She was raped again and again by the four men in front of us all. After they were finished with her she could not stand, she was bleeding and shaking. They shampooed our hair and dressed us in doll-like clothing. We were split up, the four virgins in one room and the older girl in another. Photographs were taken of the four of us. They posed us like mannequins however they wished- and then they took us to a room with three other girls. No one really spoke, we all just sat waiting, many of us crying. Food was brought to us, and we were told that if we wanted to be fed properly and treated properly then we had to behave very nicely. We ate, ravenous. We each had our own bed and our own covers, and we slept that night- all but one girl who was called by one of then men and never returned. As the days went on, one by one of us disappeared and never returned. I was the fourth girl to go. I was brought to a room with a very large white man with a moustache. I was told that if I did not obey him, I would end up like the other girl. The mustached man raped me. After he left me, another man came in- gave me a drink that made me gag, and was told to drink all of it. I laid down, woozy, and with a needle and thread he stitched my vagina where it had ripped. I was then brought to the room that contained ‘the other girl’. I was told that the mustached man had given me a bad report and I must try harder to obey. I stayed in the room with the ‘other girl’ until I was eventually moved away to another house.
Trafficking was timelessness, I have no way of knowing how long I was in one location, or even the time of day at any give moment. My second trafficking home was very different from the first, there were many more girls and we were fed once a day and very little. We were not bathed and shampooed as often. Many of us still fought our captors. I was brought into a room with two other girls and two men. One of the men was already raping two of the girls.The other man started to undress me. I was crying and trying to stop him, sex was extremely painful and I attempted to avoid it, escape from it at all costs. One of the girls with the other man was screaming louder and louder, she jerked herself away from the man she was with and tried to run for the door. The man grabbed her arm and she turned and kicked him in the groin. He went into a fury, and beat her until she was dead. Her breath rattled for a long time as he had sex with the second girl. I took of my clothes for the man I was with and lay down. That was the day I stopped fighting.
I learned, over time, to forget where I was. I lived in a fairy-tale world where I had a mum and a dad and a baby sister that I was allowed to babysit all by myself. When I was being raped, I concentrated very hard on my daydream, and over time I was able to take myself out of the situation completely. I learned to stop feeling.
A trafficking house and at least a year later I met a girl who would become my best friend. She was my size and spoke broken English and she said that she had a mom and a dad and six brothers and sisters who she was sure were looking for her. She promised that when they came to get her, she would take me too. I knew that her family would never come to save us, but I let her believe it. We never talked about much of anything, we were just always there. When one of us was being used during meal-time, the other would save half of her food. As food was scarce and the only thing we looked forward to, it was a very big deal. We would try to clean the cuts of each other, and always always slept together. We often made up stories about magically becoming small animals so that we could escape the place that we were in and find her family. We were together for years- probably four. She was my best-friend in the world. She started getting sick. She coughed a lot and she became really tired very easily. We both pretended that it wasn’t happening. Girls who got sick left the room and never returned. She stopped eating, and then she started coughing blood. We supposed to service two men in the same room. We went to the room and were each assigned a man. I instantly knew that something was wrong, her man had a really big nail and a hammer. One man murdered my best friend while the other held my head to make me watch as he raped me. I was forced to perform oral sex on her afterwards. Her body was spasming. I screamed and screamed and screamed and I was beat until I could feel nothing at all. I was carried back to the bedroom and thrown on the floor. I stopped wanting to live.
Over the years I was forced to have sex with animals, I was forced to perform sexual acts on dead bodies, I was burned and beaten for punishment and for sport, chili pepper was put in my vagina, I was gang raped by more men then I could count, often what happened to me was filmed. I became a zombie, I didn’t care anymore. I was simply waiting to die. I watched girls commit suicide, I watched girls attempt escape and were brutally murdered in front of us all, I watched girls one by one get sick and never return.
I was moved again when I was fourteen, it was my third time in the big crate- I was now the girl trying to ration the bread and water. We were lead off the boat in the middle of the night and made the long walk to the house we were to stay. We were told that we would only be here for a few days so they aren’t going to unpack the cots- we’re to sleep on the floor. A new man was in the house with the traffickers, they were always talking and sometimes arguing. He always smelled of alcohol. After a few nights we were lined up to leave the house to go back to the boat when the new man came in and said that he wanted a girl before we left, there was an argument, and he won. He went with me and one other trafficker to a motel, while the other girls went on the boat. I thought that maybe I had gotten sick without realizing it. The trafficker got the motel keys and brought them to the man- and I was brought into the room with him. He was very very drunk. He took off my top and told me to lay down, I complied. After he fumbled with his clothes a lot he gave up and got in bed with me. After a while he fell asleep or passed out. I laid there waiting for the trafficker come to get me- but a light kept flashing in my eyes. I got up to see what it was, but I couldn’t tell. I had never seen anything like it. I suddenly realized that I could climb out the window and leave. It was worth the risk, being killed was no longer a punishment, but something I had accepted would eventually happen. I opened up the window and waited- nothing happened. I climbed out, and still nothing happened- and then I ran as fast as I could towards the light. I eventually reached it, and discovered that it was a lighthouse. I turned the knob of the door, expecting it to be locked. It opened. I climbed up endless stairs and saw a small room with a desk and a cot. I lay down in the cot and fell asleep. The next day I was found by the most kind woman I shall ever know. My life began that day.