Members of the Nashville Volunteer group had the rare privilege of hearing, in her own words, the horrific story of a rescued victim of human trafficking, and to be inspired by her courage. Below are the accounts and reactions of a few of those present that day:
At first I was sure there was some mistake.
The young woman I’d just met was a vivacious, energetic college student. She was very much like every other college student I knew, though perhaps even more passionate about life.
Could she really have been held as a slave for all of her teenage years, trafficked across multiple states, her body sold to the highest bidders, night after night?
I had the privilege – and heartbreak - of hearing her story personally, and now I have the responsibility to share her story with the hope of preventing other tragedies like this one…
Angel* had the misfortune of being born to a mom who was a drug addict and a dad who was an alcoholic. She was raped at 13 by a family “friend” and later by her own brother. When she was forced to leave home because she couldn’t pay the rent demanded by her father, she was enslaved by countless pimps, some “meaner” than others. They at least kept her fed and clothed… as long as she followed their every command.
Pimps became her “daddy”… sex a commodity.
She worked the “track” every night (every city has one), not able to rest until she’d earned the minimum required by her master. Then she showered and was raped by her pimp (to make sure she wasn’t hiding any of “his” money). If she didn’t toe the line (in any real or imagined way), she was brutally abused. Among the physical assaults she described were:
- Her face and body were “branded” by one pimp leaving deep scars.
- Her jaw and front teeth were broken from repeated kicking by pointed boots
- She was beaten until she nearly bled to death, miscarrying her baby
- Unspeakable things were done to her with a hairbrush.
And, perhaps saddest of all, some of her girlfriends, trapped in this hell on earth with her, just disappeared without notice, never to be seen or heard from again. Angel knows what happened to them, though she doesn’t want to think about it. But for the grace of God, she too may have ended up in a shallow grave.
Now in her early twenties, Angel has a passion to help others. She’s in college, majoring in social work. And she’s pursuing speaking opportunities, as painful as it is to relive her past. In addition to speaking to our Not For Sale community activist group, she’s also spoken to groups of young people, warning them about how easy it is to become trapped in this vicious underground world where one human being “owns” another.
Angel is out to save other girls from the nightmare she’s endured.
* Angel is not her real name.
...To Be Continued