Posted by JonJon on June 02, 2006 at 09:21:16:
Wow, this is one revealing article, please forward it to everyone in your network, or link to appropriate forums.
My Life As a Modern Day Sex Slave
Hi my name is Dai. I'm a survivor of human trafficking and exploitation. I and many other minority women, whether American or not, were shipped from state to state in order to provide specific services for men. It has been stated by many that the sex industry has been divided into two distinct classifications: prostitution and trafficking. I encourage you to listen to my story as I reveal to you why I believe they are one in the same.
Hi my name is Dai. I'm a survivor of human trafficking and exploitation. Let me tell you about my life. I have been an American for nearly 21 years. I and many other minority women were shipped from state to state in order to provide services for men. It has been stated by many that the sex industry has been divided into two distinct parts: prostitution and trafficking. I encourage you to listen to my story as I reveal to you why I believe they are one in the same.
In 1995, I fell in love with a military man, who persuaded me to move with him to an undisclosed remote area. There, I was raped and beaten continually while handcuffed to a door of an abandoned house. Eventually, I made my escape, but not before he had confiscated my naturalization papers, driver's license and social security card. With no proof of my identity, I could not acquire adequate shelter. I felt like an animal that had been cast into the street. My life became a series of sojourns at one homeless shelter after another.
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One day, I was approached by a middle-aged woman who had been watching my every move. Unaware that she was a Madam (female pimp), she insisted that I come and work for her in the Escort Service, assuring me that it was only a dating service. Because of my desperate need for food, money and clothing, I quickly accepted her offer. After several weeks I found myself well provided for and economically stable. Then the unthinkable happened: a client bargained with me for sex. After I refused his offer, he grabbed me by the hair, forced me on the floor and raped and beat me. In terror, I fled to the police to report the violence. To my astonishment, the police informed me that I had no rights because he assume that I had attained the status of a 'street-walker.'
Bought and Sold . . .
Eventually, the female pimp who recruited me sent me to this gentleman, who worked in Nevada where my experience in human trafficking began. To this day, I am still haunted by flashbacks regarding certain smells and cold floors which numbed my bare feet. Many times, panic ensues when I find myself in a line of women, it resurrects the nightmares of all the humiliating inspection line-ups I had to endure. We were constantly paraded before potential clients-- their lustful eyes examining us before we became final choices for each predatory customer.
Being Korean, I remember the time when a prejudiced 'John,' (male client) demanded that I dress as a Japanese prostitute/geisha. My vulnerability was made complete when I was taught to speak broken English, fulfilling the racist image of exoticism. Although, I was one of the few that spoke and understood English, my required masquerade as a foreigner brought more money to the Master (pimp).
Most of us were incarcerated in basements, underneath casinos and in abandoned warehouses. Our desperate cries for help were silenced by the walls, which separated us from the rest of the world. While tourists roamed the streets of Las Vegas admiring the architectural beauty and the celestial lights, which permeated the night sky, we, the victims, were in perpetual fear for our lives.
The Master, knowing full well that I was an American, forced me to work both in escort and human trafficking services. If I refused or didn't comply, I was taken underground and sentenced to various methods of punishment. The shock of this torture brought flashbacks my childhood when I was locked in a closet. Each of these two scenarios mirrored the same cries for freedom, after all, I was the submissive little foreign girl who was threatened not to tell anyone. In both cases, my guilt-ridden confessions of bad behavior resulted in my temporary release. On my knees, I had to convince my Master that I would be on my best behavior. After hours of interrogation, I was given permission to return to do what I did best, being a concubine, and deluding myself into thinking that I enjoyed it.
I was involved in trafficking for more than six months. It was a time of being held hostage in a timeless existence, where my mind disassociated with my soul. This mental state was the only way in which I could keep any sanity. Repeatedly, I witnessed the beatings, rapes and murders of innocent women. At times, my tears of hopelessness would drown me into a pathos of my own execution. How could my own country not be aware of these cruelties?
How could this kind of discrimination and slavery have the power to blind immigrant and American women of their rights?
We were transported by trucks with drivers who were not naive to our purpose, and well informed of our identities. After months of these trafficking transports, our self-images had been reduced to cattle being loaded on a cattle car. Thousands of dollars were exchanged on these cross-country trips which kept us silent and our existence a secret. There were times that the warehouse truck would stop, the tail gate door forced opened, and then two or three were summoned out.
We were given shoes and clothing so we would not appear as homeless refugees. We had to walk a block down to a near by truck stop, given fifteen minutes to bathe ourselves, and then return to the truck. In degrading humiliation we had to beg for toiletries and other personal items. Sometimes, a policeman would appear on the scene and I would be so tempted to cry out for help, but fear of jeopardizing my life and the lives of the other women prevented me. The quick shower and change of clothing signaled our coming rendezvous with the 'johns' who requested for us. The women were released a few at a time as not to raise any suspicion.
The selection of adult-aged women and minor girls (under the age of sixteen) usually numbered between twenty and fifty. The adult women were expected to resemble late teens. If they would not comply they were discarded, cast-out, and some were never heard from again. We were constantly monitored, forbidden to make eye contact with anyone in public areas. When we arrived at our destination, the women were separated into motel rooms. We traversed Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Florida, and New York. We were never paid directly, however, later on I discovered that more money was made if clients were deceived into thinking that all of us were immigrants.
After months of ongoing physical and mental agony I became apathetic-- I did not care if I lived or died. With convincing death threats from my Master, I remained silent. If he suspected that I was going to expose him, he would verbalize threats against my family and friends. It was at this time that I soul searched an alternative way to reveal this horror to the public.
America needs to have its eyes open to this reality which is happening twenty-four hours a day. People need to understand that the master minds behind sex trafficking are very clever, creative, deceptive and cautious regarding their services and the way in which they enslave women against their will.
It is important to understand that pimps emerge from diverse social backgrounds. The majority of the ones with which I had contact, (who were responsible for the trafficking recruitment) had attained status and wealth.
Even though language barriers prevented my communication with these women, we shared the same fears. Somehow, we also shared the dim ray of hope that kept us alive. I remember, at different times, holding each of them in my arms letting their tears stain my clothing, while all along, sharing the same pain. Though English was my one advantage, I was just as lost, confused and terrified.
Finally, I was able to escape from my master through a wealthy client who bought me for an undisclosed amount of money. He was an older gentleman with considerable influence. Through his kindness I planned my way of another escape. He admired my oriental beauty and encouraged and coached me to be a madam (female pimp). He bought my companionship with jewelry, money and expensive cars: He never physically abused me. With ulterior motives he taught me how to make my own money as a Las Vegas Madam. Therefore, to escape the daily abuse of the sex industry, I found myself recruiting women and leading them into the same vile profession which had terribly traumatized me. I was deceived by the power it gave me.
Down the road, I got to the point where I could not stomach what I was doing, repeating the very pattern which held me captive for so long. I may not have abused these women the way my Master did to me, but I did sell them. I used large amounts of narcotics to escape the reality of my immoral empire. When I realized I could not escape the recurring nightmares of women locked in basements, warehouse trucks and cheap dirty motels, I collapsed into a major mental breakdown. Coming to terms with my situation, I ran away from the 'john' who bought me. Fearing the possibility of being kidnapped, I began to seek refuge in churches, seeking their assistance in my quest for deliverance and freedom.
My life resembled a fugitive fleeing from one location to another. In the fall of 2000, I made contact with an advocate through the Internet, she advised me to relocate to a different State. Since then, I slowly began to heal, trust, and reinvent myself to return to society to make positive contributions. I now long to reach out to those who are still imprisoned in the revolving door of sexual exploitation.
Truly, their shackles can be broken by people who are willing to tear down the walls of silence, and offer them the hope of freedom. They robbed me of five years, they thought they could break me. Yet, I am still standing and I will continue to stand and voice my experience for the victims who are still held captive by human trafficking.
(Names have been changed for security purposes)
MASIE (Minorities and Survivors Improving Empowerment)
Light a candle, rather than curse the darkness.