Wednesday, December 29, 2010
In Their Own Words. Trafficked American Girls.
Every year there are upwards of 50 thousand foreign nationals trafficked into the US. Some for forced labor, many for sex. But there are also tens of thousands of American kids trafficked each year within our borders. Many are the 300,000 homeless kids living on our streets but some are taken from our neighborhoods, from our schools, from our malls and in the case of 17 year old Shauna, a sleepover....
"I was the new girl at school looking for friends," says Shauna. Another new girl in town invited Shauna for a sleepover in her Pensacola, Fla., neighborhood. A man posing as the girl's father slipped Shauna a drug. She woke up to a nightmare.
“My legs were being held,” she says. “And my head ... my hands were tied like this, above my head. And I remember saying, 'No, please don't do this. Stop.'"
While her parents frantically searched for her, Shauna was drugged, raped and beaten. Investigator Brad Dennis suspected Shauna was a victim of human trafficking, a growing problem in the Florida Panhandle. Investigators spent four days looking for Shauna, she was found but the traffickers escaped. (cbsnews.com)
Or in Debbies case, her driveway...
Fifteen-year-old "Debbie" is the middle child in a close-knit Air Force family from suburban Phoenix, and a straight-A student . Unbelievably, police say Debbie was kidnapped from her own driveway with her mother right inside.
One evening Debbie, said she got a call from a casual friend, Bianca, who asked to stop by Debbie's house. Wearing a pair of Sponge Bob pajamas, Debbie went outside to meet Bianca, who drove up in a Cadillac with two older men, Mark and Matthew. After a few minutes of visiting, Bianca said they were going to leave.
"So I went and I started to go give her a hug, and that's when she pushed me in the car. "As they sped away from her house, Debbie said that one of the men told Bianca to tie her up and said he threatened to shoot Bianca if she didn't comply. "And she put tape over my eyes," Debbie said. "While she was putting tape on me, Matthew told me if I screamed or acted stupid, he'd shoot me. So I just stayed quiet."
Debbie said her captors drove her around the streets of Phoenix for hours. Exhausted and confused, she was finally taken to an apartment 25 miles from her home. She said one of her captors put a gun to her head. Debbie said she was then drugged by her captors and other men were brought into the room, where she was gang raped.
"And then that's when I heard them say there was a middle-aged guy in the living room that wanted to take advantage of a 15-year-old girl," she said. "And then he goes, 'Bend her over. I want to see what I'm working with.' And that's when he started to rape me. And I see more guys, four other guys had come into the room. And they all had a turn. It was really scary." After the horrifying gang rape, police say Debbie was trapped in one of Phoenix's roughest neighborhoods. In a rundown, garbage-strewn apartment, her captors were trying to break her down.
"They were asking me if I was hungry," she said. "I told them no. That's when they put a dog biscuit in my mouth, trying to get me to eat it."
After a sleepless night, Debbie was tossed back into the car and again driven around Phoenix. She said they talked to her about prostitution, and that one of the men forced her to have sex with him in the car and then later in a park. The same man took her back to his apartment, and Debbie said, "I ended up in the dog kennel."
Greg Scheffer, an officer with the Phoenix police department, said Debbie was kept in a small dog crate for several days. Lying on her back in the tiny space, her whole body went numb."She was subject to various abuses while in there," Scheffer said. "This is all part of the breaking down period where [he] gains complete control of this girl."
Unbeknownst to Debbie, police say her captors had put an ad on Craig's List. Shortly after the ad ran, men began arriving at the apartment at all hours of the day and night demanding sex from her. She said she had to comply. "I had no other choice," she said. Debbie says she was earning her pimp hundreds of dollars a night. Scheffer said Debbie was forced to have sex with at least 50 men -- and that's not counting the men who gang-raped her on a periodic basis. For more than 40 days, police say Debbie remained captive, often beaten and forced daily to have sex of the most degrading kind. During that time, she said she did not try to escape because her captors had done what police say so many pimps do -- threatened her and terrified her. Debbie said that the pimps told her they would go after her family, and they even threatened to throw battery acid on her 19-month-old niece.
"After they told me that, I didn't care what happened to me as long as my family stayed alive," she said. "And that's pretty much what I had in my head. Staying there to keep my family alive." (abcnews.go.com)
Each year, 2 million kids are sexually exploited. Close to a million of those children are trafficked. All over the world, every day, well over 2500 kids are bought and sold. Their childhoods stolen from them, their innocence destroyed. Please help Conspiracy Of Hope stop this evil. Please fund these organizations that are on the front-lines stopping the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Thank you.
International Justice Mission
Shared Hope International