Life after being trafficked

By Zozan Kucukaydin

As students growing up, we have learned Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and eliminated slavery. Yet today there are more slaves than any other time in American history. According to a user of, “today’s slavery focuses on big profits and cheap lives, and that it is not about owning someone like in the past, but to use someone to make money.”

Present-day slaves are victims of human trafficking.

According to the United Nations, making about $32 billion dollars a year, the United States is the number one country for the business of human trafficking. Over 300,000 adolescents get trafficked in the U.S per year, and more than half of them are American citizens.

The teens that get forced into this type of business aren’t always kidnapped, but what most often happens in the U.S is blackmailing. Sex traffickers are people who control, sell, and transport the victims of the sex acts, or labor services. The traffickers include, pimps, smugglers, employers at legitimate businesses, people who purchase sex acts, and families who sell off the victim.

Many of these “pimps,” or traffickers, lure their victims with the false promise of a high paying job, romantic relationship, or a better future. The victims most often do not know what they are getting themselves into, and once they are forced to be a sex slave, they can’t get out of it.

Laurin Crosson, a victim of sex trafficking for almost 2 decades, revealed her story to Huffington Post. She talked about her experience with her trafficker, and her life after she escaped the escort business.

Crosson’s trafficker controlled her, and taunted her. He used a variety of control tactics, like emotional, and physical abuse. One of her busiest nights, was the Super bowl. “Anytime you have a partying atmosphere with the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality, combined with plenty of money, that scenario will be an opportunity for sex traffickers,” Nita Belles, an anti-sex trafficking activist who worked at Super Bowls, told HuffPost. Crosson said she would go through 20-30 men a night, and each customer would pay up to $800 dollars. That is a lot of money, but none of the profit goes to her. By the end of the week, Crosson had earned enough money for her trafficker to drive home in a new Mercedes.

What happens to the women that survive and escape the trafficking business? Many of them are stuck with prostitution, drug, and loitering charges on their record. Several victims are punished for the crimes their traffickers forced them to commit. According to Huffington Post, Crosson said she’s been arrested numerous times for prostitution and other charges.

Danielle Douglas, sex trafficking survivor and advocate, was interviewed for a film, called Tricked. A documentary on human trafficking. She had stated that she got arrested over 50 times, and that her record is full of prostitution charges. After she had gotten out of the prostitution ring, she could not get a good job, because of her record. The darkest times of these women, follow them even after they’ve been rescued. The big issue is that police often can’t tell the difference between someone who has been forced into the sex trade, and a consensual sex worker.

According to Huffington post, In 2010, New York passed the “Vacating Convictions Law,” which stated, if a victim committed a crime as a result of having been trafficked, the court would have to wipe it completely from the record. Since then, only 20 more states have passed a similar law, but it isn’t enough.

More states should pass these types of laws, so that these innocent women can free themselves from their dark past, turn their life around, and help change this trafficking culture for the greater good.