Friday, July 15, 2011

Laundry and Prostitution

One of my stories in Undies in a Bunch, titled Laundry and Prostitution, was based on an experience I had getting picked up by a young girl while doing my laundry at the Laundromat. She was also doing her laundry with a guy who I believe was her pimp. She asked me if I would be interested in making a few extra bucks dancing at parties in which males would be the only attendees. I wrote this story in fun, because I couldn't believe something like that happened to me; that a girl approached me with the intention of pimping me out.

I read a lot of articles, some with substantial information and some with superficial information. I am a little of both, don't judge me. The article I read today was about sexual slavery and trafficking. It's easy for me, as an outsider, to see a way out for someone who has been trapped into that life. But after being stripped down mentally, those women don't believe that they have any other choice but to continue to live as they are. And some actually don't have a choice as it is their own parents who are the ones selling them for sex.

One talk show episode dedicated to sexual slavery in America, had a beautiful eighteen-year-old girl on as a guest who had been a prostitute for at least four years. When she mentioned that she had been raped multiple times (15-16 times) the host asked her, in an informative, not accusatory way, to explain to the audience how a prostitute can be raped. The girl explained that money is supposed to be exchanged before there is any sexual contact, but in one incident she'd tried to run away once she realized that the customer wasn't going to pay her. The customer had driven to an area she was unfamiliar with, so when she attempted to get away, she didn't know which direction to run in. And once the customer caught up to her, he dragged her back to his car and raped her.

The host asked her what she would have wanted to be if she wasn't a prostitute and the girl said that she would have liked to be a psychologist. The talk show host tried repeatedly to tell the girl that she could do anything that she wanted to do with her life, but the girl didn't have enough esteem or faith in herself to make it happen. For every piece of useful information the host gave her on ways to get out of prostitution, the girl responded with reasons why it wouldn't work. None of her reasons were valid, but she believed that they were. Maybe I’m wrong, but I felt a twinge of annoyance at the girl because she was making so many excuses. I had to remind myself that she doesn’t live in the world I live in and mentally, she’s been deprived of all the positive things available to her. It was obvious that she'd completely given up on herself and on life when she revealed that she didn't think she was going to live past the age of twenty-two. .

It's sad to think of all the young girls who end up in situations like this mostly because they don't have a good foundation at home.

In the article I read on the girl who was being trafficked by her parents since the age of 11, she used going away to college (which surprisingly her parents supported, but still expected her to 'work' at college and on the weekends) as her ticket out of that hell. What do you do when the people who are supposed to be protecting you are the ones treating you like merchandise? I applaud her for walking away and finding some sense of normalcy in her life.

When I read the different ways young girls end up sexually enslaved, I think of myself at the age of fourteen/fifteen and how easy it would have been for me to fall into this life. I wasn't promiscuous at all, but I was missing nurture and love. And when you are young, impressionable and naive, it's easy to trust someone; anyone who promises to get you away from what your teenage mind believes is the worst, unhappy life. And having no idea that even though things are bad, they could always be so much worse.

Sex trafficking spikes in locales hosting an event with high male attendance. This fact brought me back to that young girl in the Laundromat, who thought that I was as young as she, apparently. I can see her handing me her business card. Telling me about the party her 'boyfriend' is hosting that night and that he just needs us women to dance in sexy underwear. Nothing else, just dancing. Something tells me that if I were lost and empty enough in my soul to have gone, I wouldn't have made it out of that place being the same person I was going in. If I made it out at all.

If you are interested in helping to end trafficking, support with a donation or as a volunteer: End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, ecpatusa.org.

~Louise C.

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