America’s Most Wanted Two-Hour Special Feature on Sex Trafficking

“The buyer is just another guy in that long line.”

This was the opening quotation to the two-hour episode featuring Sex Trafficking on America’s Most Wanted.

This was spoken by a survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States.

That survivor was me.

Today, I advocate for stronger anti-trafficking laws and greater protection for survivors of all forms of human trafficking. And this is why I commend John Walsh and Lifetime for taking on this crucial topic in their most recent episode of America’s Most Wanted, which aired February 24th, 2012.

John begins the segment with cold, hard facts.  He explains that the United Nations estimates that “27 million men, women, and children are victims sold into slavery for cheap labor, for domestic servitude, and for sex.”

John goes on to say that “while all forms of human trafficking are deplorable, sex trafficking, especially when it involves children, sickens (him) to no end.”

He describes a trip to Cambodia in which he and his undercover team haggled with human traffickers. Just when the traffickers thought they would be unsuccessful in “closing the deal,” John says they produced “a real young, naive girl (who) had to be fourteen, possibly younger.”

“It’s appalling,” John continues, “100,000 children in America are caught in the sex trade and what’s most chilling of all- the average age in which children enter the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is between 12 and 14 years old.” Continue reading

10 Tips For New Survivor Speakers

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In my last semester at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, I was told that I could graduate with honors because my grade point average was so  high.

Cool! I thought.

I was told that all I had to do was present a project to the faculty of my Biology program.

Hmmm.

I used to eat my ham and cheese sandwiches in the bathroom stall of my college because I was afraid of facing people in the cafeteria.

Without hesitation, I turned the possible honors achievement down.

This is why I was surprised when I found myself driving to DC nine years later in September 2009 to voluntarily speak at an event. Out loud. In front of people. Continue reading

A Ninja in D.C.

Holly and Tina

It seems fitting that my very first blog post should be about how I got started as an advocate for survivors of human trafficking.

It was on a Friday or Saturday night in 2009 that I found myself home alone with the television remote.  Ben, my fiancé, was out with a friend, and I was pouring wine and baking brownies to celebrate having the apartment to myself.  I’d been working long hours at my full-time job in a microbiology lab, and I needed a night in.

I flopped on the couch and flipped through television channels.  Maybe I watched a movie or a couple of sitcoms before coming across a documentary about human trafficking overseas.  I can’t remember which station it was on (possibly HBO?), but it was about this woman who was a survivor of human trafficking (in India, I think).  Let’s call her Nadia.  Nadia now worked to rescue other young girls from the local brothels. Continue reading