Primarily, being a victim of sex traffickers, I experienced the evil firsthand at the hands of a gang of vicious pimps controlled by organized crime in New York City from the age of eighteen until I was twenty-one.
Shane, the leader of the gang, kept me locked up in a cockroach-infested apartment along with another fourteen-year-old runaway named Dani. He and his gang brutally beat, raped, and sodomized us for days.
Then, Shane turned us into junkies, making it easy for him to use our addiction to control us.
He knew we wouldn’t run away. We needed him. We needed his heroin.
Without him, we had no roof over our heads, no food, and no heroin. In addition, to make sure we still weren’t tempted; Shane convinced us he had eyes everywhere. If we tried to escape, he assured us that he’d find us, kill us, and slice our families up.
One night, Shane kicked me hard in my jaw with his boot, squashing my larynx so badly it made clicking sounds. The drumming pressure of my pulse in my throat jounced my brain. My head throbbed from what felt like thunderclaps and lightning-like flickers.
I crumpled to the floor. Stinging pain from the salt of my own tears mingled with the blood seeping out from cuts on my face. I touched my jaw and could feel it was fractured, my face permanently altered.
I’m very careful when I photograph my face. I make sure I have the camera at the right angle because I’m so embarrassed about my crooked jaw. But, I took this picture so that you can see my lopsided face and the scars of the two times I cut my wrists during a chain of several suicide attempts.
My Crooked Jaw
Scars of a Suicide Attempt
These are some of the things that drive me to fight so hard to end trafficking. For at this very moment, in any corner of the world, traffickers are snatching children and runaways off the street, tricking victims, or buying children from desperately poor families. Presently, traffickers are systematically torturing victims with whips, chains, fists, rapes, beatings, and threats of death.
Over 50% are children. Can you imagine a grown man sodomizing an eight-year-old child? That is happening to hundreds of children in the world now.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, grossing more than 300 billion dollars a year. These ruthless criminals have realized how easy it is to buy and sell people.
It is impossible for me to stop combatting this crime. I also want to help survivors in any way that I can. Please join in the fight to end this atrocity. We must not give up until we find each victim and every trafficker arrested.
I realize how one might be overwhelmed. However, every bit helps, even just spreading the word. You never know whose heart you will touch.
20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking