When people think of women being sold into sexual slavery, they don't picture it happening in their own backyard. But sex slavery in the US is a very real threat for many women in the US. According to FBI estimates, over 100,000 children and young women are sold into the American sex trade every year. The average age of these victims is just 11 years old.
Collected here are the stories of American women who managed to escape from their enslavement, no easy task considering victims can be treated like criminals themselves when they dealing with authorities. Each of their tales serves as a reminder that a woman of any background is at risk. We warn you the content is disturbing and that you proceed with caution.
“Debbie” (not her actual name), was just 15-years-old when she was sold into the sex-trade. She isn’t what people would consider a “typical” target. Her parents had a background in the Air Force. She grew up in a good home in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. She did well in school and avoided trouble. One night, a “friend” of Debbie’s named Bianca stopped by Debbie’s house along with two older male companions. Debbie went out in the driveway to chat with Bianca. When Bianca said that she and the men were leaving, Debbie went to give her a hug and Bianca pushed her into the car.
They held Debbie at gunpoint and proceeded to bound and blindfold her. After driving around for hours in order to disorient her, Debbie was taken to a home only 25-miles away from her own. There she was drugged and continuously gang raped.
For over 40 days, Debbie was kept in a dog crate and sold to countless men who showed up at the disheveled apartment after reading an ad about her on Craigslist.
Eventually police received tips on where she held, and they raided the apartment and saved Debbie from her captors. Debbie and her family decided to leave Arizona so Debbie would have a chance at a fresh start.
Miya was a 19-year-old girl working at a sunglass shop in a mall in Phoenix, Arizona when she was approached by a couple with a lucrative offer of a modeling career. Intrigued, Miya met with the couple, who then treated her to getting her hair and nails done, which appeared to Miya a sure sign that they were legitimate scouts. It was when they took pictures of her with a cheap disposable camera Miya started questioning their authenticity. Despite the red flags, Miya agreed to go with them to California under the pretense that they would provide her with an actual photoshoot with real equipment. When she arrived in California, the couple showed her that the photos they took were actually used on an escort site.
From then, Miya was being dragged from city to city across California, being sold to men who responded to the ads on the site. Eventually, Miya was able to escape early morning from the couple’s motel room. She had no idea that she was in Union City, California when she approached a truck driver and asked him where she was. She was finally able to call her distraught parents, who were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.
The man who held her hostage was eventually brought to justice.
This is a terrible case of a mother and step-father selling their own children into slavery. “Snow White” (this is how her mother described her in the online chatrooms she used to pimp her out) grew up in a broken home. Her mother started to pimp her out to her “uncles” when she was five-years-old. It started with them paying the mother to let Snow sit on their laps, but quickly evolved into much more heinous things. Snow tried to tell teachers and school counselors about what was happening at home, but they always made the mistake of speaking to her parents about her confession before contacting authorities. Snow was beaten nearly to death by her parents for confiding in those adults.
She was sold time-and-time again by her parents. They tried to get someone to pay a large cash sum to “marry” her in order for them to take her off their hands. Eventually, Snow escaped the grasp of her abusive parents by letting herself be sold, thinking that any situation was better than the one she was already living in.
She was paid just $5,000 to live with a man who treated her like garbage for three years. At the same time, he wanted to keep up appearances and have Snow attend college so that she could be more impressive when he brought her around to his affluent friends. There Snow met a man she fell in love with. When her “master” found out about the romance he kicked her out of the house.
Carissa Phelps did not grow up in a good home. At 12-years-old, her mother kicked her out and Carissa was forced to wander the streets of Fresno, California. One day Carissa was out when she spotted a badly beaten prostitute who needed help. Carissa invited the woman back to her motel room to help her out. The prostitute immediately called her pimp who came to the room and threatened to kill Carissa if she didn’t work for him too.
Carissa was continuously pimped out, beaten and raped by this pimp, and she was not even a teenager. After two weeks of this, while soliciting for sex on the streets the police brought Carissa in for being underage. Instead of seeking help for her, they sent her to juvenile detention for 30 days. Once released, she bounced from group home to group home, and was thrown back in juvie for six months for stealing a car. While there, a counselor took interest in her and motivated her to change her life.
Carissa ended up earning an MBA and law degree from UCLA. She is now a lawyer and motivational speaker who educates people about sex trafficking in America.