Annie's Story

It's 9am and Annie's fragile skin feels like the boiling concrete beneath the traffic of the Hollywood 101 freeway. You know the exhaust, heat and sweat all perfectly mixing into a gross discomfort. Get used to it.  

A loud knocking at the door steals sounds of fear from inside. Who could it be at this hour?  A man enters with a demeanor of incredible speed...or impatience. A flight is to be caught in just a few short hours and the desperation to uphold a reputation of taking great and exotic vacations wreaks from his expression. If he isn't careful, he could miss his flight, but he takes chances like a starving rat gazing at the golden prize above the trap.  

Words are exchanged and Annie hears and understands a conversation in a language that she doesn't. She hears her name and instantly her heart battles between sinking or bursting. The first rape of the day. It doesn't get any better....well spoke to soon. Annie is far too tired and is coming off a high from the previous night. The man gets a deserving 2 for 1 deal. Any subpar performance defaults to a deal. The deal has been sealed judging by the screams of pain from the next stall over.  Forget having the weight of the world on your shoulders, Annie feels the weight all over her tiny body. She lies in pain, and pushes her cries out but no one hears....no one who cares. The weeping drifts away slowly in a drought on her face.

Annie is 14, and she has been living in this brothel for 3 years.  And you can probably guess, her family is dirt poor. The money Annie has made so far is about $2.  Most of this money was given as a tip if she promised not to cry. Daily forced fed drugs have made a permanent home in Annie's blood. The brothel owner demands a 'Thank you' because of the generous numbing that he provides through the drugs. More money, Another raped girl, another crushed spirit...if any still remains.  The brothel owner is determined to do everything in his power to keep Annie here. We are beyond determined to make sure she doesn't.  

We could tell you that Annie is crying again in pain, that she is cold, alone, and is experiencing a hopelessness beyond anything that we've ever felt. But we're proud to say this isn't true. With a strategic plan, a local organization teamed up with law enforcement to rescue Annie and other girls in this brothel. Annie is now living in a safehouse where she is receiving proper drug rehabilitation, and offered opportunities for education. Annie wants to work with sexually exploited victims and be someone they can turn to. She is determined to do everything in her power to keep those girls safe.

One of our goals at Pastelink is to make a difference in the world, specifically in the lives of these young survivors of human trafficking. The statistics are staggering and we can't fight this alone. It will take all of us to help create safe places for individuals like Annie and ensure a future full of healing, education, and opportunities.

A percentage of our profits are dedicated towards fighting human trafficking through prevention programs, safe houses, and victim services. We are committed to not just be another startup company but one that can truly make a difference. By sharing Pastelink with friends, you are helping us raise awareness all while using the easiest file sharing site ever.

Below are some resources to learn more and get involved!

1-888-3737-888 - National Human Trafficking Hotline

The Modern Day Slave trade is in a new wave and has far surpassed the number of slaves at any time in history. It goes on everywhere in the world including the United States. It might be hard to imagine that something like this happens in the US but the truth is, for criminals it's "safer" because of that exact reason. We don't really suspect it and we don't know what it looks like which makes it difficult to detect and report. This page contains resources on how to recognize victims and take further action, types of slavery, a glimpse into the global slave trade and how to take further action to end this injustice.

What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, harbouring, or receipt of people for the purposes of slavery, forced labor (including bonded labor or debt bondage), and servitude.

Types of Trafficking:
There are two main types of trafficking that involve women, men and children.
1. Sex Slavery: Many women and children are exploited, kidnapped and forced or tricked into brothels. Commonly, an attractive job working in larger cities is offered to poor women and children. When these individuals arrive at their new jobs, they are forced into a debt situation that they cannot ever pay back. Brothel owners use various tactics such as threats to harm the families of vitims. Many oppressors force the victims to situations of repeated rape, physical abuse and drug use. There are reports of children as young as 3 years old exploited in brothels and sex tours.

2. Labor Slavery: This type of slavery also has many forms whether it's young boys working in cocoa farms, children working in brick kilns without food or pay, growing number of child soldiers, and domestic servitude. Sometimes entire families are "owned" because of a small debt that they cannot repay. Overtime they owe interest and find themselves trapped indefinitely. In Africa, girls are kidnapped and sold into the UK as domestic servants. Labor slavery continues to grow in all industries all over the world.

What Fuels Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is fueled by the demand for the labor, services, and commercial sex acts of human trafficking victims. Traffickers, who are motivated by money, force victims into the labor, services, or commercial sex industry because they can generate large profits. Unlike drugs, people are a "reusable" commodity. Read more...

Human Trafficking in the United States
Cases of trafficking going on in the US are increasing rapidly. Individuals are smuggled or "recieved" through the borders and exploited in labour and sex slavery. Threats of deportation and harm to a victim's family are common to control victims. US citizens are also kidnapped, tricked and forced into situations of prostitution and labor. See more facts below.

The Facts:
>>There are estimated 27 million people living in slavery around the world today.
>>Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked into the United States for forced labor.
>>Human trafficking has become a $10 billion a year global industry.
>>600,000-800,000 trafficked internationally each year
>>80% of victims are women and children, 50% are under the age of 18.
>>Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life.
>>Women who have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation experience a significantly higher rate of HIV and other STDs, tuberculosis, and permanent damage to their reproductive systems.

More Resources:
How to Identify Victims of Trafficking
Not For Sale Campaign Abololitionist Guide
The Slavery Map - An interactive map pinpointing cases in specific areas. Have a look.
Trafficking in Persons Report - Global perspective on the trafficking situation country by country.
Stop The Traffik - Download free guides on how to take action in your community.
Abolish Human Trafficking - Local events and links to many resources.
Polaris Action Center - A crash course on trafficking.
Call+Response: Take Action
William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008

Human Trafficking News video journals:
PSAs, News Stories, Clips
How to Buy a Child in 10 Hours
Women on the Front Line: Nepal
Migrant Slavery in Florida
Untold Stories: Part 1 of 4

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