I was promised a better life – a way out of what I had always known. Never in all my 17 years did I believe that I would want to go back home. The verbal abuse was bad. My step-father physically abusing me was worse. But where I am now…nothing could be worse than this. Running away I thought was the best idea. It was my only choice. No one wanted me. No one would help me. I made it from Denver, CO to Detroit – taking a bus and catching a ride when I could. I was off to get myself a better life.
For a week I stayed in a motel using what was left of my savings after the journey to Detroit. I managed to get a job at a diner there and worked nights. The place was always busy but it wasn’t long before I began to get to know the regulars. One in particular stood out to me – Jack. He was always really nice to me and would leave a good tip. The second time he came in I was so surprised because he remembered my name. That made me feel so good and like I was more than just a face. Jack would come and get his usual combo and coffee and sit and chat with me every Wednesday. Then he started coming more often. He helped me to secure an apartment – under his name and I would pay the rent money to him every month.
I didn’t realize I’d be paying with my very soul. I moved in to the apartment…it was just a few weeks later he came and told me he had talked to a friend who had a job for me that would be better paying and I wouldn’t have to work at the diner anymore. I called the diner and quit excited for the job – whatever it was that he had obtained for me. I was told that they would meet me at my apartment at 5 that afternoon.
Jack came. He brought another man with him. I don’t remember who he introduced him as. But whoever he was, the moment they came in the door I knew I was doomed. My soul sank to depths I didn’t know existed. Jack took a seat and the other man grabbed my arm and dragged me into the room. He started tearing at my clothes and beating me. I put up a fight, but it was useless. I was forced to drink vodka and other strong drinks and to take these small blue pills. For days everything was so groggy. But it didn’t numb the searing pain in my heart. I couldn’t believe how stupid I was to trust anyone….especially these men! I beat myself up over it, but it didn’t change anything.
I started seeing as many as 60 men in a day…all wanting one thing – my body…to be a strangers pleasure.
Now I lay here against the wall in my bedroom that I’m captive to. It is only a matter of time before the next john comes knocking paying a small amount for a piece of my soul. I long for home. Even home was better than this…
Is there any way out? Is my family looking for me? Does anyone care? How long must I endure?
I feel the sound of footsteps approaching my door and dread and fear consume me. My eyes are set cold and my face expressionless.
Another endless day in the nightmare I live. Can anyone hear me?
My heart cries for freedom…
Can you hear me?
Every day stories just like this happen all over the world. Many of those who end up in trafficking are runaways – victims of abuse who are taken advantage of. Can you hear their silent cries for freedom? Will you help them?