My Treasure from Sex Trafficking
I was groomed at 13 and sold for the first time on my 14th birthday. My trafficker was a man with a cue of girls in various stages of grooming or engagement in prostitution. He was charming. He’d be called a “Romeo Pimp”.
He seduced young girls and manipulated us into thinking we were making the decision to let grown men rape us for money. It was often brutal. It was never glamorous or empowering. It was not easy money. There was plenty of money changing hands, but we only saw enough for a meal or a high. I spent four years in and out of the control of pimps. In and out of juvenile detention, foster care, group homes, or transient, strung-out, sleeping in doorways.
My first child was born as a result of juvenile sex trafficking. When I got pregnant, my buyer said he’d kill me if I didn’t have an abortion. So, I faked it. By some miracle, I convinced him that I’d had the abortion and he let me go. He had forced other girls to abort. Then, they left. So, I made him think I did the same.
It wasn’t easy to be pregnant and alone. A social worker, who had been my key tracker when I was a runaway child in need of services, found a home for unwed mothers and drove me there. The woman who opened her home to throw-away girls, like me was kind and generous, but I still had so much baggage from the trauma. I was spiteful and devious and fought with the other girls about things like who would clean the bathroom. Three or four of us vomiting frequently made for a lot of cleaning, to be sure.
I went to live with my grandmother before delivering my treasure. I had been about 100 pounds before getting pregnant, never over 105. I gained 72 pounds during pregnancy. The delivery was horrendous. My doctors were from a pool that served the welfare group. They didn’t know us or our needs. The doctor went for a nap and told the nurse to wake her when I was crowning. That didn’t happen. The doc came in after hours of my begging for death, threw the nurse out and began working hard to deliver the baby.
The nurses called me the miracle mom because they didn’t think I’d make it. I’d hemorrhaged behind her, but she was safe and healthy. She was my world. Her bright eyes had a depth of beauty that couldn’t be put into words. It was so important to me to take care of her, that I stared school two weeks after she was born. I worked across the street from where we lived.
As she grew and developed, in no way did she ever remind me of the trauma that I’d been through. She rolled over and babbled. She splashed and waddled. She played just as any other child. Her life has been full of ups and downs, struggles and challenges, pleasures and accomplishments, just as any other person’s.
Her life is valuable. She is my treasured friend. She is a small business owner and a smart, funny, competent person.