Karen: Most people who are involved with the abolition of human trafficking and slavery know the horrors of this crime from books, movies, videos, on-line accounts, etc. However, on one night in January, some of the volunteers with End Slavery TN met these atrocities face to face. We were invited to spend a few hours with a victim of human trafficking. We sat mesmerized for two hours listening to a beautiful, courageous young woman, whom I shall call “Carrie” and what have been the horrors of her life. She talked about her drug addicted mother and alcoholic father, and how at the early age of six, her mother told her to go into a bedroom with drug suppliers and “play doctor” with them. “Carrie” had never been taught the values that most of us are brought up with, the value of one’s body and soul. She was a very bright, pretty girl and by the time she was twelve or thirteen, after having lived with other relatives in various places, been raped by her older brother, and abused by others, she became involved with a pimp and a life of prostitution. Over the next five-six years she was forced to have sex with “more men than she could hope to remember.” She was moved from city to city, was branded on her body and face, had both feet broken when thrown out of a moving car, had her teeth broken, and was beaten repeatedly for “not making her quota” or disobeying her pimp! From the time she was sixteen, she tried to break away from this destructive life. After being arrested and treated like a criminal, however, she would call her pimp to bail her out. After all, who else would help her? Until one day, she encountered a woman from law enforcement who offered to help her escape. In an agreement for testifying against several pimps, she was placed several times in foster homes or half-way houses where she was mistreated, eventually retreating to her pimp, because “at least he would feed her.” “Carrie” has, in her early twenties, finally escaped, but at a cost. She has been placed here in TN where she knew no one, can never go back home, can never contact her family, and fears that she will be found and killed. She is courageously trying to begin a new life as a college student and working to help other victims. However, it is hard! She feels alienated from most people because of her past, feels she may never have a normal relationship with a man and has difficulty with trust. Despite everything, she is upbeat and hopeful. I personally came away heartbroken for “Carrie” and all the “Carries” of this world. Most of us will never know the realities of trafficking, can never fully understand the dynamics that land victims in this path, or fully comprehend the consequences. We can, however, learn from these victims, share their stories, come to their assistance, continue to educate others, and do everything in our power to end human trafficking. There are laws in place against this crime. WE have to work to ensure these laws are enforced! Thank you “Carrie” for sharing your story and for your courage to escape and help prosecute these criminals!