Writing this blog as if I were an 18 year old getting trafficked was an interesting experience. Getting into a character through writing was fun, but the topic was upsetting. I wanted to do the journaling over a Power Point presentation because I thought it would allow me to use my creativity more.
Human Trafficking: A Social Worker’s Role. (2018, September 11). Retrieved from https://onlinedegrees.unr.edu/blog/human-trafficking-a-social-workers-role/
Rlemke. (2019, March 19). 7 Things You May Not Know About Human Trafficking, And 3 Ways To Help. Retrieved from https://www.crs.org/stories/stop-human-trafficking
Recognize the Signs. (2018, November 07). Retrieved from https://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognize-signs
Week Five Coursework. Commercial Sex Acts – A Definition. [week five module]. Retrieved from: https://osu.instructure.com/courses/51221/pages/week-5-coursework?module_item_id=2304019
I am inspired by my social worker that I have been working with. I had no idea the large role a social worker played in sex trafficking. Social workers have important roles in the prevention and intervention of those victimized by this crime and of those who victimize.
From a prevention perspective, social workers can talk to their clients about the warning signs of potential exploitation and how to access help as well as offer clinical and other supports to those at-risk of victimizing others (micro). Social workers on the macro level can help educate their greater communities of the warning signs of victimizing behavior and victimization and involve themselves in greater community efforts. On a mezzo level, they can voice social work perspective to politicians and lawmakers who make choices about funding programs for those most vulnerable to victimization such as the homeless, immigrants, and unprotected children and to victimizing such as disenfranchised groups, those lacking strong, supportive family structures, and the financially and educationally underserved.
This makes me want to become a social worker so I can advocate and help people who experience this horrible trauma. I am a young girl with a family that is lacking support. I was vulnerable and I was taken advantage of by an evil person. My mission is to make this stop completely. I want to raise awareness on sex trafficking and hopefully my efforts can save at least one person. No person should ever have to go through this.
I am free. Mike no longer can control my every move. I will never have to touch another man without consent again. I am free.
I told a random man I was there against my will. I told him to drop me off at the police station. I promised him he wouldn’t get in trouble and that I would not mention his name. I got lucky. This man could have raped and killed me or worse, he could have told Mike I tattled. I feel beyond lucky.
The cops were distraught by my appearance and my story. They sent me to a shelter that helps women who are victims of abuse. I immediately was put in contact with a social worker that specializes in sex trafficking. She was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She listened to everything I had to say. She gave me a few resources that night, but said she did not want to overwhelm me.
I’ve been at this shelter for over a week now. I see my social worker everyday and she is in the process of helping me contact family and finding me a place I feel comfortable living in. She also is going to get me a lawyer so I can press charges on Mike, and she will be there throughout the whole process as my advocate. I feel so grateful.
I’ve had enough. I am getting out of this. It has been going on for way too long. I should be in college right now with my best friends. I shouldn’t be getting dragged from motel to motel and made to be with strange men. I want a normal life. I don’t know what normal means, but this is not it.
I am on the streets tonight. Mike won’t pick me up until later. I am going to tell a random man and make him call the cops. I am afraid for my life, but if I don’t risk it I will die doing this.
Months have passed by. I’m still with Mike. I’m still fearful for my own life. I’m still engaging with drugs. I’m still being forced to have sex for cash.
I had an incident with a man this week. He was a man I picked up on the streets. Mike didn’t know this man, but as Mike always says “he is always watching my every move.” Anyway, this man seemed concerned about my health. He nicely told me I looked extremely ill. He asked me a lot of questions. I cannot remember much, but I do remember he was worried. I freaked out. I thought that maybe it was a trick. I thought that there was a chance that Mike “planted” this man to test me. I grabbed his wallet and I ran. I knew I couldn’t go back to Mike without money, and I knew I couldn’t tell this man any kind of information. I still do not know if it was a test from Mike, a cop, or someone who actually cared.
Until next time.
I can’t believe how naive I once was. I never thought I could be trafficked. I never thought trafficking really happened in the United States. I just never thought I would be a victim of this. What 18 year old girl does? I felt un-stoppable and I felt that nothing could ever really hurt me.
Sex trafficking does happen in the United States, and I’m living proof of that. It happens so often in the United States that certain events are known for having people that are sex trafficked, such as the Super Bowl or the Arnold Sports Expo. Once I escape from this living hell, I am making it my mission to advocate and educate others on sex trafficking. If I ever escape. It’s not as easy as one would think. I’m so scared, and I’m so tired. I’m also used to this lifestyle at this point. Who am I without this? Who am I without Mike? Would the world ever accept me again? Would people blame me? What would my parents say? Would my friends be ashamed of me?
I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror. I barely eat. I have bags under my eyes. I’m addicted to drugs. Things I never thought would happen to me.
I remember from class something about traffickers luring their victims. I often feel that Mike lured me in. He became my everything. He was my only support system. He tore down every other part of my life through manipulation, and then eventually tore me down. I feel like nothing because of him, and the worst part is that I still love him.
He tells me he will kill me and my family if I ever tell a random “john” that he doesn’t know, or the police what he is doing to me. At first, I truly believed he would kill me and my family. I know he would kill me. I don’t know if he would actually kill my family. Or if he knows where my family is. He has no problem beating me till near death. That is why I am holding back telling anyone what is happening.
When we go out in public he makes me stare at the ground. I never make eye contact with others. I never speak with others. I only say a few words to the men I am forced to sleep with. They could care less if I spoke anyway. Most men I sleep with are Mike’s friends. I hate them.
I’m not sure how much longer I can take this. My family has probably written me off as the “bad” child that ran away with her old boyfriend. I have no idea where they are or if they are trying to find me. I’m often not sure what city I am in. I am being moved around weekly. We stay in some of the most scary, disgusting places I’ve ever seen.
Writing is my only way to find peace. I have no one to talk to.
I remember in my health class there was brief discussion on human trafficking. I think that is happening to me. I’m not sure I want to believe it is happening to me. I still have hope for me and Mike. It’s stupid, but I want it to work. I need it to work. I need him to become the old Mike he once was.
In that health class it was discussed that people trafficked have sex against their will. What I am doing right now is not something I want to be doing. I’m coping with drug use, and I fear for my life. I am being forced into this. I also remember from this class, my teacher talking about the poor mental health state victims would be in from being trafficked. I never really have taken mental health seriously until now. I think I understand what it means to have anxiety, or PTSD, or something. As I write this now I am in a full panic. I’m so worried Mike will walk in and see me writing and hurt me. He hates when I write. He said it’s awful. He said if he caught me journaling again he would burn my journal and pens in front of me. So I’m consistently looking behind my shoulder. Unable to finish my thoughts because I’m constantly fearful. My heart is pounding every second. Most days I feel like this. My heart could explode at any minute.
When I’m not in a constant state of worry, I am either high or I want to die. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I wish there was someone I could tell how I’m feeling. But I’m so alone. I wish my stupid brain would help me remember the resources we talked about in that health class. I know there has to be an end to this.
I haven’t been writing. I miss writing.
I am in the worst place I have been in my entire life. I hate Mike, but I am too scared to leave. I’m having sex with random men to pay his bills. I hate having sex with these people. If I don’t I am afraid Mike will kill me.
Mike injected me with drugs the first time I was forced to have sex with a stranger for money. I need them now. If it weren’t for the drugs, I don’t now how I could continue going on every single day. I’m exhausted. When I get the money, I am forced to give it to Mike. I literally have nothing.
I know known of this is right, but I know it is my fault. I feel stupid and worthless. Mike was perfect. I continue to silently hope that he is still perfect and this madness will just stop soon. I wish he would go back to the man that used to promise me the world.