A True Story of Sex Slavery in America’s Heartland

Growing up in Oklahoma, Jules didn’t know much about human trafficking. But at 19 years old, she was forced into prostitution by a pimp and made to endure a steep and painful learning curve. Jules is not alone in her experience, but as she points out in her story, she was one of the ones who made it out alive.

Jules was still a teenager when first recruited into the underworld of human trafficking. There, she soon learned that she was only one of many girls and women sucked into modern-day slavery. They ranged in age from toddlers to adults. Some came from the foster care system, like Jules, but others were girls from wealthy families, recruited through fake modeling agencies and over the Internet. The one thing all the girls had in common was that they were all slaves.

While Jules was 19 when she was first forced to sell sex, she looked much younger, which is one of the reasons the pimps targeted her. She was told to tell buyers she was only 13, in order to get a higher price. Her pimps told her younger girls were always worth more. Once, when she came clean about her real age to a man who bought her, he threw a fit, claiming that he’d paid for sex with a minor and that’s what he expected. And that wasn’t the worst of it.

Jules didn’t know what to do, so she ran away — more times than she can count. But the pimps always found her, always brought her back. On the bad nights, she’d be punished by being beaten with a crowbar. On the really bad nights, she was forced to watch another girl, often younger, take the punishment for her, usually in the form of a gang rape. A bathtub full of ice could cover the crowbar-induced bruises, but nothing could take away her haunting memories.

Business  — the business of men buying Jules’ body  — was booming. She was shipped all over the country, sold in states on both coasts and several places in between. Somewhere on the Las Vegas to California to North Carolina circuit she was on, Jules began contemplating her own death. She figured the police would find her body somewhere, and unable to identify it, tag her as just another dead Jane Doe. And she wouldn’t have been the only one. Some of the girls she knew never made it out alive. Around the world, sex trafficking victims named “Jane Doe” are stacked thick in morgues, waiting for an ID that may never come.

But Jules did survive, and is still surviving. Still (very reasonably) fearful of her traffickers, she uses “Jules” as a pseudonym when talking about her experiences. But she is determined to help teach young women what to look for and how to avoid falling into the same trap she fell into. Hers is a truth that takes courage to tell, but it may help us all get one step closer to a world without slavery.

Photo credit: mafue

source: http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/a_true_story_of_sex_slavery_in_americas_heartland

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