Human Traffic Watch

Law enforcement training: The missing service for victims of human trafficking

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on September 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

“How old are you?”

It was the middle of the night.  I was standing on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey when a round and squinty-eyed policeman approached and posed this question to me.

“Eighteen,” I offered.

My feet were blistered.  I tried to hide this discomfort as I shifted my weight onto the other foot.  My hair fell in front of my face, and I knew parts of my scalp were visible.  A double dose of hair dye had burned my dirty-blond hair and colored it an ugly yellow.

“Don’t lie to me,” the officer leered.

Thirty-six hours earlier I was on my way to Hollywood.  I was going to be a singer or songwriter, an actor, or maybe even a model.  A man I had met at the mall promised these occupations to me, but what he ultimately delivered was a dress and red high heels which were two sizes too big for me.

I insisted to this officer that I was eighteen years old.  I did this for a couple of reasons.  First, I was instructed to do this by the man whom I’d met at the mall and by his girlfriend, who had dyed my hair hours earlier.  Second, I didn’t want to go back home, but neither did I want to be on that street corner.  I wanted to be in Hollywood- auditioning for a television show or meeting my favorite rock stars or dancing in a fancy club.  But, by that point, those dreams seemed stupid to me.

When the officer walked away from me, seemingly satisfied with my made-up story, I called out to him.

“What if I was under eighteen?”  I asked.

This was a serious question.  I wanted to know- What were my options?Where could I go?Could I go somewhere other than home?  Was there a place to which I might belong?

“That’s it,” hollered the officer, “I’ve had enough of you.”

He handcuffed me, shoved me into the back of the police car, and then assailed me with insults from the driver’s seat.  I stared out the window.  I was so angry- not so much with him, but with myself for taking the chance at trusting him.  I should have known not to trust him, I thought, I should have known not to trust anyone.

I was fourteen years old.

Source: Washington Times



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