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.
Kidnapped From Her Driveway And Kept In A Dog Crate
“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.
Lured By The Promise Of A Modeling Career
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.
‘Snow White’ Was Pimped Out By Her Parents
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 Was Enslaved By A Pimp After Getting Kicked Out Of Her Home
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.
Holly Experienced The Worst Two Days Of Her Life As A Sex Slave
The summer before 14-year-old Holly Smith would attend her first year of high school, she met Greg. Holly was unhappy at home because her mother was battling breast cancer. Greg was nice and gave her the attention she was lacking at home. Two weeks later, Holly agreed to go to Atlantic City with Greg and his friend Nicky, a woman in her 20s. She was lured there on the promise that they would go to a club and have fun, but she quickly realized that she was there to be pimped out. She was dropped off at a hotel and forced to have sex with several men that night.
The next morning, Greg forced Holly and Nicky back out on the street. Luckily, a cop spotted the very young-looking Holly and she used the opportunity to tell him she was underage. Holly was arrested, but no charges were filed. She was taken home to her parents.
Her experience in the sex trade was short lived, but one that still haunts her today.
Runaway Jill Was Kidnapped And Turned Into A Sex Slave For Sadistic Clients
Jill Brenneman was born in the ‘60s into an affluent family in New Hampshire. However, that family held a dark secret. When Jill was just five-years-old, she accidently walked in on her mother and her mother’s boyfriend having sex. As punishment, Jill’s mother told the boyfriend to rape Jill and “make it hurt.” This went on for years until Jill was forced out of her home when she finished her freshman year of high school.
Jill ended up hitchhiking to Cincinnati, and lived the life as a homeless teen until she met Bruce. Jill found Bruce attractive and charming and when he offered to help, she cautiously accepted. But as soon as she got into Bruce’s car, he blindfolded her. He took her to a rural part outside Cincinnati to his home, where he proceeded to beat her and rape her. He informed Jill that she was now his slave. Bruce was very heavy into BDSM and had his own dungeon full of torture devices. After weeks of “training” Jill on this equipment, he sold her out to clients as a “submissive slave.”
Remember that scene from Game of Thrones where Ramsey first met Theon and convinced him that he was trying to help him escape, only to make it part of a larger mind f*ck torture game? Yeah, that happened to Jill. Bruce told one of the clients to tell Jill he wanted to rescue her, when Jill went along with it, the client took her to a safe house where Bruce and several other men were waiting for her.
Jill eventually got free after Bruce was arrested on an unrelated charge. Now Jill works as a motivational speaker and a founded a non-profit that helps sex workers.
Gwen And Alicia Were A Package Deal Sold To A Pimp
Gwen, then 18, was introduced to Brian Forbes by her aunt Lucy in Hartford, Connecticut. Gwen grew up in rural Vermont, where heroin had rampaged the town. By the time Gwen met Forbes, she was already addicted, which made it easier for Forbes to “groom” her. He built up her confidence, bought her nice things, and acted like he was in love with her. It was only when Forbes introduced Gwen to his “girlfriend” did she begin to realize what her aunt got her into. While still in the grooming period, Forbes asked Gwen if she had any friends who might want to be with them in Connecticut. She thought of her friend Alicia back in Vermont, a girl who was also addicted to heroine and came from a broken home. After driving eight hours to pick up Alicia in Vermont and take her back to Hartford, Forbes took them both back to a hotel where a man was waiting to have sex with them.
Gwen’s aunt was given just $1,200 for the lives of these two girls. But luckily for Gwen and Alicia, their testimonies led to Forbes and the others involved with their enslavement being locked away for a long time.
Jasmine’s ‘Boyfriend’ Used Craigslist To Sell Her
When Jasmine Marino-Fiandaca was 19-years-old, she entered into a relationship with a man she thought was her boyfriend. But shortly after they began the relationship, he started grooming her into a life of prostitution. He promised her wealth, the prospect of owning her own business, and the hope to one day have a family. But in the end, he only saw Jasmine as a money-making machine.
He coerced her into working as a sex slave in Maine, as well as in Hartford, Connecticut. He forced her to work at several brothels, as well as putting up ads of her on Craigslist. When she finally got out from under his grip after five long years, she became heavily addicted to drugs to numb all the trauma she went through.
Now clean, Jasmine helps spread awareness about human trafficking.
Shauna Newell Was Drugged At A Sleepover, Raped And Sold Over The Internet
16-year-old Shauna Newell made friends with a girl she met in her high school in Pensacola, Florida. The two became very close, and all Shauna wanted was a fun sleepover at her new friend’s home. Shauna tried to convince her mother, Lisa Brant, for weeks to let her sleep over her friend’s. Finally, Lisa gave in and agreed to let her sleepover the girl’s house if she could first meet the girl and her parents.
So, the girl went over Shauna’s home with a man who pretended to be her father. Everything seemed in order to Lisa, and she let Shauna go over the girl’s home for a sleepover. However, the man was not the girl’s father, but a convicted felon with charges in relation to prostitution in Texas.
When Shauna arrived at the home, the girl’s “father” left. Shauna asked for a glass of water, and from there everything was a blur. Shauna was roofied by her friend, and when she came to, she was being raped by the man who pretended to be the girl’s father.
When Shauna was left alone for a moment, she got a hold of her cellphone and called her mother. All she could say was “Mommy, help me,” before the phone died. Her panicked mother immediately called the police, who told her that she probably ran away and that they couldn’t file a missing-person report for 72 hours.
Determined to find her daughter, Lisa started her own search party. Out of sheer luck, Shauna’s brother was part of one search party that stopped at a local gas station to get a drink. He spotted his sister in the back seat of a vehicle. She was rescued, but the kidnappers got away. Shauna’s brother spotted her just in the nick of time, because her captors told her she was on her way to Texas to be given to a man who paid $300,000 for her.
Barbara Was Trafficked On The Streets Of New York City For 10 Years
Barbara Amaya ran away from her home in Virginia when she was 12-years-old due to the continuous abuse she faced. She ended up on the streets of Washington D.C. when a couple approached her and offered her help. They fed her and cared for her and then shortly thereafter they began selling her body. When they grew tired of her, they sold her to another trafficker named Moses. Moses took her to New York City, where Barbara was sex slave for ten years.
Barbara developed an addiction to heroin to help her cope with all the pain she was going through on a daily basis. She went through hell during her ten years as a sex slave. She had an 85-year-old man die on top of her when she was 16-years-old. She was stabbed, shot, beaten and continuously raped all before she was 18. As she got older, her pimp let her go because he could no longer afford her drug habit, and she was no longer considered a “hot commodity” in her early-twenties.
It took her years to recover, but today Barbara works as an advocate, and has helped get legislation passed regarding sex crimes, including the Safe Harbor bill.