This article tells the stories of several women who endured the horrors of sex slavery. It also talks about those who have survived and the people committed to supporting them…
Karla Jacinto was just a 12-year-old child when she became infatuated with a 22-year-old man. She ran away with him, leaving her small town in Mexico. He treated her very nicely at first, even presenting her with gifts…then he began to force her into sex work that earned him a lot of money for four years. He would send up to 30 men every day to her, seven days a week.
She said, “I had to close my eyes so that I wouldn’t see what they were doing to me, so that I wouldn’t feel anything.” She guesses she may have been raped 43,200 times before she was rescued in 2008. The majority of victims–4.5 million worldwide–are women and girls. The industry earns an illegal $99 billion each year. The risk is low for the criminals and the profit is extremely high. One victim can earn up to $22,000 each year for the criminal who exploits her.
“Gustavo” is a convicted human trafficker now serving time in a Mexican maximum security prison. For years, he lured girls away from their families with gifts and romantic promises, before forcing them into prostitution by threats, coercion and/or physical and verbal abuse.
“The faster they fall in love and leave with you, the faster the business starts making money and the less cash you have to spend showering them with gifts and going out,” Gustavo said. “To me, the girls meant a source of income, merchandise you can buy, trade or sell.”
Today he claims he has changed, has become a born-again Christian. He warns that there are many, many out there doing what he used to do. “They don’t know that behind Prince Charming there’s a monster wearing a mask. A monster that is going to lead them into a world of prostitution and exploitation.”
But there are also stories of hope in this article–about the ones who escape the exploitation, and the volunteers and organizations that assist them. Jennifer Kempton, from Columbus, Ohio, was a victim for more than five years. She was tattooed, branded by her trafficker. That mark showed she was his property. After she escaped, she had her tattoos reconfigured and eventually started a non-profit that pays for survivors to have their tattoos changed to something of their own choice. The organization is called Survivor’s Ink.
To read the entire article about the horrors and the hope, click the link below.