Freedom Project

Today, I was watching CNN International. I like getting the broader picture of the news. They ran a special program called Freedom Project. It was about young girls in sexual slavery. I wasn’t sure I could watch a program with girls my youngest granddaughter’s age. I did. I am glad I did. I want to share what I learned. Now, this program was focused on America. I feel if it is happening here, then it is also happening in Europe, Asia, India, Africa and South America.


There are, in fact, people who are working to get young girls out and to help them have a life off of the streets. It isn’t easy. But young women are being helped and are now free for the first time in years.


Sexual slavery is not a kind of job any woman would sign up for. But for young ones from very dysfunctional homes, victims of physical and emotional abuse and often familial rape, the pitch to run away and have money and a glamorous life is irresistible.


They are shown a world so far from the one they come from that it is overwhelming. The glamour doesn’t last long though. For this is the world of the pimp and the world costs a lot of money. The pimp or the gang is not going to go out and earn that money.


In the twenty first century, girls are introduced to drugs and often IV drugs. Once they are hooked, they are putty in the hands of the pimps. They are often on drugs 24/7 so they can service men without stop. They won’t live long like this but the owners will just steal another girl to replace them. Then the girls are tattooed with gang signs, initials of the pimp or dollar signs or other signs which indicate money. The world now knows they are owned. They are the property of some man or men.


Every time the girls look at their bodies, they see the tattoos and think this is their life, there is nothing else to look forward to. Just men handling their bodies. Several girls interviewed told how some of the johns would hold guns to their heads, one had a man hold a knife to her belly during the act.


Some girls are helped out of the street life. They meet people who have made it their life to look for and find these young girls and help them find the person they used to be. It is a big job for the girls and for the people who get them out.


One thing that happens is that when a girl is ready, they are taken to a few certain tattoo shops where the signs that they are property and belong to someone are turned into a beautiful tattoos that obliterate the original one. Butterflies, wings and other such tattoos remind the girls that they are now free. They belong to no one but themselves.


There are some companies that will hire these girls and help them to learn skills which will, in time, enable them to get a job in the real world. They gain confidence and learn how to interact with others in the ways that will help them fit into the real world.


This is all wonderful but there are still thousands of young girls out on the streets. This is part of the reason that family violence must be eradicated. Physical and emotional abuse can make street life look glamorous. Incest within families must end and rape of all kinds must end. There needs to be loving bonds within families and every member of a family needs to know how important they are and how much they are loved.


Survivors of sexual slavery have a new chance at life. But they often carry a criminal record with them as well as the horror of the memories which will never go away. Just like the fight many vets face when they return from war and have PTSD.


The present world is harsh and crippling. It has the ability to completely destroy young lives and to change people from the person they were meant to be to a contorted version of that person. This is an ugly subject and I know it is hard to read, but we can’t turn away and avoid reality. We need to find ways to help. Helping one person is saving that person from living in a hell on earth.








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A project of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


Sexual slavery can be stopped, if we all want it to stop

Sexual slavery can be stopped, if we all want it to stop