Survivor Stories - Adela

End Slavery TN - Survivor Stories*




My mother will never receive an award for her parenting. I was always a commodity to her. Something to sell for drugs and booze as a six year old. Another hand to help her make crack in the kitchen. I have never been her child, her pride and joy. She never held me in her arms and whispered her love in my ear.

I was just Adela. The commodity. The nothing.

For awhile it felt like a blessing that she kicked me out of our apartment at sixteen. I went to live with some girlfriends and thought I’d be living the high life in the big city. Boy was I wrong about that! When the girls told me I had to earn my keep, they introduced me to a pimp. First time I saw him I thought he was fly. A real smooth talker. I felt flattered by his sexy talk and his coy smiles. But now I know, that was all just to butter me up. Get me to be his whore who’d turn tricks down at the track. Those flirty words were quickly replaced with hostile threats. If I didn’t make a thousand bucks a day, he would beat me. Or worse. One of them even cut up my face with a potato peeler just to mark me as his. It was still nothing compared to my best girl. She was killed in cold blood by her pimp, just as an example to the rest of us. "Stay in line and shut up" is what her body said.

I got sold so many times from pervert to pervert and pimp to pimp, I could hardly keep up with whose I was anymore. I was a dollar bill, folded up and passed from pocket to pocket.

I’m still not sure what snapped in me. Maybe it was having to ID my one friend down at the morgue. Maybe it was just that I was tired of being everybody’s nobody. Mostly, I think, it was that I got pregnant and I didn’t want my baby to grow up in the world I was living in. Whatever it was, I got out. I fled.

And when I was safe, I wanted to bring down every last one of them. So I talked to the feds, and I testified in court. They said I had been caught up in a major trafficking ring and that I’d still be in danger even though we got a bunch of them locked up. I didn’t care. I wanted to talk. Talk to anyone who would listen. Raise awareness about how trafficking isn’t just some foreign problem. It’s happening right under everyone’s noses in Good Ole America. This one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Well, now that I got my liberty, I’m fighting for all those little girls like me that others can’t even see.

When I first got in contact with End Slavery Tennessee, I was a real mess. A hard life led to some real hard living for awhile. But advocacy groups like ESTN stuck with me through thick and thin. And now I’m about to graduate from college. College! Who could’ve dreamed such a thing just a few years ago?!

I was a sex slave in a slum city, but now I’m a blessed warrior with a golden ticket.

It’s like that verse in Genesis says – what they did to harm me, God used to bless me, so that many would be saved. I’m living proof that God uses the most unlikely of people to bring His own liberty and justice to those who need His deliverance

*These stories are written in the first person, even though they are not written by the survivors themselves. However, apart from the omission of names and identifying information, all aspects of the stories have really happened, right here in Tennessee.

From The Johns Project

WARNING: Graphic descriptions/language (author must remain anonymous for her safety and privacy)

The following is a guest post by a man who used to buy sex – a “John.” It is taken, with permission, from The Johns Project ; a project in which a university researcher is conducting interviews with  men who solicit prostitutes. It is designed to research and tap into the fundamental characteristics and thinking patterns behind each individual man who purchases illegal sex, and then the men as a whole, as one body, as a “culture”.
Findings will be compiled into an ethnography, a study of the culture of “johns”, which will be utilized in the fight against modern-day slavery.


I asked former john, Jay (read his interview post here), to compose a guest post on the topic of the rise of college students selling their bodies for money. He sent it to me and I read it and was blown completely away. The insight and unique perspective he provides is invaluable to my research and should be a must-read for anyone working to bring about the demise of the sex industry.

Buy My Books

That’s the title to an ad that frequently runs in the W4M section of craigslist in Chicago. I’m sorry to say that I did, indeed “buy her books.” She’s 20, and she’s a college student, cute, personable, smart, and probably quite successful in her academic pursuits. So, why is she soliciting as a prostitute on the internet?The only answer I can come up with is that it’s easy money. In her mind, why work a job for maybe $10 an hour when you can make $100 in twenty minutes performing oral sex? If you meet three men in one day, you will make more than you would in two weeks working part time at McDonald’s, and it’s tax-free.

I’m “Jay,” the (now former) john from Chicago that was interviewed a while back. I’ve been asked to write a guest blog and this is the result. The topic is prostitution in colleges, specifically college girls who are augmenting their income as sex workers. I’ve paid for sex probably 40 times with fifteen different girls, and I’m guessing that two-thirds of them were college girls. As first blush, it seemed like a good thing; a 42 year-old man gets to have no-strings sex with girl who is less than half his age. I got my needs fulfilled, she got money, nobody got hurt, right?

Not so much. I can tell you from personal experience that paying for sex has warped my sexuality in ways that I would not have predicted. I can only imagine what it’s done to the girls I’ve paid over the course of several months. The most haunting words I’ve ever heard are, “That was the easiest $100 I ever made,” uttered by a 20 year-old engineering major at a large university. I was her first ever john, I was her introduction into the world of prostitution, and I can only imagine what she’s doing now. It frankly scares the crap out of me. I picked her up near her school and drove her over fifteen miles back to my place where we had sex, then I drove her home. Thirty miles in a car with someone is a long time, and of course we talked. I’m very gregarious, and she was very sweet. I mean, she’s the kind of girl I would hope my son brings home some day. I’m sure that nobody would ever guess that she engages in prostitution.

The very first time I paid for sex was when I answered an ad from a girl offering “French lessons.” Of course, not being entirely naïve, I knew exactly what she meant. I wasn’t really intending to go through with it, it was mostly curiosity on my part, but when I saw her pictures I decided to “treat” myself. She’s 21 and a graphic arts student here in Chicago. She could be a model, she’s that beautiful. When she came into my apartment, took off her coat, walked into my bedroom and took her clothes off. I was hooked. I saw her three times altogether.

The college girls I’ve seen are usually smart, very attractive, and easy to talk to. I’m a manager at my company and I would have hired any one of them had they interviewed for a job. And yet for some reason, they all made a decision to pursue prostitution as a means of income over legal employment (though most of them did have “regular” jobs as well).

In my opinion, if one man who engages as a john for a period of three months or so can meet perhaps ten college girls for paid sex, there is most likely an epidemic of prostitution in colleges all over the country. It’s not like I tried very hard to target these girls, there were plenty of ads on craigslist (and I posted a few of my own after a while). They are easy to find. “Buy My Books” ran an ad today so I know she’s still doing it. I receive at least three e-mails a week from girls I’ve paid to have sex with asking me if I’m interested in getting together. I politely decline, telling them that I’m no longer paying for sex, and I mention that what they’re doing is not safe and that they should be careful. I wish I knew what else to say to them. I know in my heart that I can’t get them to stop (I’m a recovering alcoholic, nobody could have said or done anything to me to get me to stop drinking until I was ready and even then I made the decision on my own).

But I’m a problem-solver by nature, which (despite my lack of a college degree) makes me very good at what I do for a living. So, if prostitution among college girls is the problem here, what is the solution? I wish I knew. This one is throwing me for a loop.

In the meantime, all I can say is, don’t buy her books.