"A human trafficker can earn 20 times what he or she paid for a girl. Provided the girl was not physically brutalized to the point of ruining her beauty, the pimp could sell her again for a greater price because he had trained her and broken her spirit, which saves future buyers the hassle. A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earned her pimp at least $250,000 a year." - RandomHistory

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crush Slavery

I've been thinking about a catchy domain name for this blog. All the good names are gone, such as endslavery.com, stopslavery.com (I like this one), etc. The push-ups made me think about squashing, pressing down on, and so forth, so a little thesaurus time gave me this winner: crushslavery.com. Very masculine. Makes me think of the Solo guy crushing a can. And since we can't just bring slavery to a dead halt next Wednesday, you have to exhert pressure over time - to put the squeeze on it - to crush it.

In my SEO research, among a great range of references to our hero Abraham Lincoln, I found these interesting links on crushing slavery...

Crushing It to Crush Slavery: The Key to Eradicating Sex Trafficking in Our World

Reid out to crush 21st-century slave trade - Good on ya, Mr Reid!

And an amusing quote by Alexander Milton Ross in 1875:
"What a glorious future awaits the United States, when slavery is forever crushed, and the energies of her enlightened millions shall be devoted to extending the principles of freedom and self-government over the continent of America, and in welcoming the poor down-trodden masses of Europe!" - Recollections and Experiences of an Abolitionist

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Breaking Grounds

"Sophia recoiled with sheer horror when asked about her abduction at knifepoint while walking home one evening on a rural road about a kilometer from her home.

"I could hear the car approaching and suddenly I froze. I could not move," the eighteen-year-old Romanian said, nervously spinning her shoulder-length black hair in her fingers as she recounted the nightmare that became her life for the next four months.

"Two men with knives forced me into the car. I thought they would rape me and then kill me. I prayed that my life would be spared. Instead, I was driven to a river crossing where they sold me to a Serbian man. He took me across the Danube River in a small boat and then to an apartment in a town in the mountains. I don't know the name. But I soon learned I was in Serbia."

Sophia was horrified by what she witnessed during her brief imprisonment in the building. Her experiences continue to haunt her in her sleep, and are typical of what women encounter in the breaking grounds.

"There were so many young girls in there. They were from Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and Bulgaria. Some were crying. Others looked terrified. We were told not to speak to each other. Not to tell each other our names or where we were from. All the time, very mean and ugly men came in and dragged girls into rooms. Sometimes they would rape girls in front of us. They yelled at them, ordering them to move certain ways... to pretend excitement ... to moan ... It was sickening."

Every single girl was physically and emotionally abused by the heartless goons who ran the center.

"Those who resisted were beaten. If they did not cooperate, they were locked in dark cellars with rats with no food or water for three days. One girl refused to submit to *****, and that night the owner brought in five men. They held her on the floor and every one of them had ***** on her in front of all of us. She screamed and screamed, and we all cried."

The next day, the girl tried to hang herself. "Many girls attempted suicide," Sophia said. "I was told a few were successful and their bodies were buried in the woods." Sophia's biggest fear was being broken in herself.

"I dreaded that moment. In the first day, I thought to myself, I will fight back. Then I saw what they did to one girl who refused. She was from Ukraine. Very beautiful, very strong- willed. Two of the owners tried to force her to do things and she refused. They beat her, burned her with cigarettes all over her arms. Still she refused. The owners kept forcing themselves on her and she kept fighting back. They hit her with their fists. They kicked her over and over. Then she went unconscious.

She just lay there, and they still attacked her *****. When they finished, she didn't move. She wasn't breathing. There was no worry on the faces of the owners. They simply carried her out."

A couple of days after the Ukrainian girl had been taken away, one of her compatriots dug deep for the courage to ask about her. The owner's reaction was sharp, swift and brutal.

"He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her outside. When she returned, she looked like she had stared death in the face. She told us the owner took her to a forest not far from the building, handed her a shovel and instructed her to dig. She believed she was digging her own grave. As she dug, she noticed a fresh mound of earth beside her. She was certain this was the grave of the Ukrainian girl."

After an hour, the man snatched the shovel from the girl's hands and ordered her out of the shallow pit. His message was clear: "Ask any more questions and you will end up in the grave."

On her third day of captivity, Sophia was "trained." She submitted without resistance. She moved as she was told. She feigned excitement at every thrust.

"I knew I did not have the strength to endure what would surely follow if I resisted. That night, I just wanted to die. I was so humiliated. To these men, I was just a piece of meat. From that moment on, I have felt like filth. I cannot wash that feeling from my body or my mind no matter how hard I try."

A week later, Sophia was sold to a pimp along with two other women. She was now his. She knew him only as Saba, a twenty-something Albanian. The three were taken by truck into Albania and then smuggled into Italy in the dead of night on a speedboat across the Adriatic. Saba was a particularly nasty sort, with a penchant for threatening his "property" with burning cigarettes. He put the women to work on Via Salaria, a busy roadway leading into the Eternal City. They were housed in a damp basement apartment where they slept on foam mattresses. The pimp kept all the earnings, except for a small stipend for basic necessities and food. "For certain, he made a thousand dollars a night from us," Sophia said. "We were not permitted to return to the apartment until he had that much money.”

Three months later, with the help of a sympathetic regular, Sophia ran away and was taken to a Catholic rescue mission in southern Italy."

- Victor Malarek, The Natashas, p32-35.

Look a little closer

"In every metropolis around the globe, trafficked girls mingle freely with the women who choose to take money for sex. On the surface, it's hard to tell them apart. They dress and look the same. They have the same inviting expression. They smile, they pose, they flaunt and they strut. That's what prospective clients and the public see in the bars or streets.

"But that's also what the pimps make certain they see. What they miss entirely is the darker side of the trade. It's an ugly side, hidden behind heavy padlocked doors in rooms with iron bars on the windows and armed thugs in the hall. There, the striking blonde smiling coyly on the street may have been beaten with electrical wires the evening before. Behind these walls, the sweet-looking brunette who stands shyly on a corner with the innocent gaze of seventeen-year-old schoolgirl may have just been indoctrinated into the trade by two guards and a pimp intent on "breaking her in." This is the side that keeps them on the street and this is the side that keeps the smiles on their lips. They stay because they fear what will happen if they run... and they smile because they know what will happen if they don't.

"If their "clients" looked closely at the bodies they're using, they just might see some of the telltale signs — bruises peeking through under cheap flesh-colored makeup, whip marks on the buttocks, cigarette burns on the arms. If they paused long enough, while reaching their climax, to actually look into these women's eyes, they might see frustration, revulsion, fear, depression, resignation, anger, shame... And if they asked the woman they're with why she does what she does and actually took the time to dig into her past, they might hear how she was kidnapped from an orphanage in Ukraine, smuggled out of the country, sold at an auction and forced onto the street by a money-grubbing pimp who forces her to bring in $500 a night.

"In short, they're forced to do whatever it takes with whoever asks, as long as he pays, and they're forced to do it with a smile on their face, a sparkle in their eyes and a moan on their lips... exactly as trained in the breaking grounds."

- Victor Malarek, The Natashas, p42.

What will you do to stop Human Trafficking & Slavery?