Why doesn’t she just leave?
Have you ever wondered why a trafficking victim would stay with her trafficker? Why someone who is being abused doesn’t run away? Why a victim may find it difficult to testify against her abuser?
Read this first person account by a trafficking survivor for a fuller picture of this complex question.
By the time the trafficker spotted me in that New Jersey shopping mall, I had already been broken down.
As traffickers are skilled predators, they look for girls that are withdrawn and quiet. They prey upon minors with emotional brokenness as my trafficker did in late June, 1992, soon after my eighth grade middle school graduation.
Child sexual abuse paralyzes many children with the inability to differentiate a healthy relationship from an exploitative one. I, too, thought that exploitive relationships were the norm. Prior to meeting my trafficker, I was already used to relationships based on deception.
Many victims do not understand their fundamental right to say “No.” They often fail to understand ownership over their bodies. I didn’t run away when my trafficker demanded that I agree to prostitute.
This was not because I wanted to stay but rather because I didn’t understand that I had another option.