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Vedavati583 karma

I left with absolutely nothing except the clothes on my back. I started hitchhiking, and fortunately, the people who picked me up were very kindhearted, generous people. I crossed three state lines before finally settling down and trying to find legitimate work and figure out how to get back into school.

Since that time, I have obtained two university degrees and I work in a helping profession, in which I hope to help girls like myself.

Vedavati513 karma

No. I was born in the United States. All of this happened within the United States.

The majority of sex trafficking victims in America are actually American citizens.

Vedavati208 karma

I'm sure that there are American girls who are kidnapped and trafficked in other countries. However, that is not very common, or our headlines would be full of these stories and the country would be in an uproar about our American girls being kidnapped and sexually exploited.

No, these are the girls who no one is looking for, let alone a Liam Neeson. No one was looking for me. My parents were extremely abusive, and as far as I know they never reported me as missing. That is sadly the case for many girls who are sex trafficked in America. They are not the types of girls who anyone cares enough about to look for. My hope is that as awareness is spread about this issue, we as a society can help prevent this atrocity.

Vedavati164 karma

I was 11, close to age 12. I had run away from an abusive home situation which was no longer possible to return to. A man picked me up in his car, offering to help me. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, although now I can recognize these situations from a mile away. He was a pimp/trafficker, and proceeded to "break" me through physical violence and rape. He forced me to "turn tricks." All of the money went to him, of course. He constantly threatened me with death, physical violence, etc.

Many girls who end up in these situations come from homes where violence is prevalent, often sexual abuse, or substance abuse, etc. Pimps/traffickers somehow are able to look for and recognize girls who no one would notice or care for much if she was missing. They utilize tactics of control and manipulation to prevent the girls from leaving these situations... The specific details of other survivors' stories are varied, but there is more in common than not.

Vedavati161 karma

There is so much I would like people to know. The average age of entry into prostitution in America is 12-14 years old. These girls are not even at the age of consent yet, and are forced into the sex trade by adult men. It is not a glamorous life. While I'm sure there are women who choose sex work as a legitimate form of income and are adults when they enter the trade, and are consensual, that is not the norm; they are the exception.

I would like law enforcement to be aware that these girls are victims, not criminals. The Safe Harbor Act that passed in New York a few years ago finally changed this, so now these girls are being brought to needed services such as safe houses, long-term safe residential services, mental health care, education or GED programs, etc., etc. These girls need help and services, not to be placed behind bars. The adult men who are buying and selling these girls are the ones who belong behind bars.

I'm not sure what we, as a society, can do to prevent this from happening. I think we need to educate teachers and schools on reporting suspected child abuse, and put protections in place for teachers or school staff who report, so that they have absolutely no fear of reporting. There shouldn't be any sort of fear or threat of a teacher losing his or her job for contacting a Child Protective agency out of concern for a student. If we can get these girls to services -BEFORE- they run away, or are thrown out of their unstable or abusive homes, then we can prevent them from ending up in the hands of pimps and traffickers. I suppose more funding would be needed for Child Protective agencies so that they are able to respond thoroughly to the reports they receive.