“We are going to sell you to the highest bidder and you are going to do exactly what he wants you to do. I don’t care who you are, whose daughter or son you are, whose mother or father you are, whose brother or sister you are… You and your body are, from now on, our puppet, and we’ll do whatever we want to and with you. It will be devastating for you, but I’ll get rich, and that’s all I care about. From now on you are under my command.
I’m not even going to introduce you to your new owner. You will obey them, period. If he wants you to get naked, you get naked; if he wants to force you to have sex with him, you’ll do it; if he wants you to work the fields or anywhere else, you will; and you won’t argue because obeying is the only way you’ll stay alive.
Best of all, you’ll come to believe that there is no escape, and that you were born to be humiliated like this. Some of your buyers will care about your skin color, others about your hair color, and others about your body type, your gender, and/or your age. In any case, we’ll steal your identity and lock it away. You’re no one any more, just merchandise. Say goodbye to your freedom.
Maybe you don’t know another life. Maybe, since your childhood, you have gone from market to market, violated by the eyes of people who see you as if you had a bar code. Since we took you, you’ve probably noticed that there are many more and that you are all different. Our clients like to have a nice variety to choose from.
Look carefully at those people because one of you probably won’t still be here by tomorrow. Look carefully because now I’ll tell you what to expect if you survive…
Half of you will be violently raped and tortured. Others will be terrorized with the cruelest of threats and locked up in small rooms in order to hurt you. And you will all work around the clock – sun up to sun down – every day of the week, in the toughest conditions you could imagine. You will not dream of resting because it’s not made for you.
They’ll probably hurt you, cut off parts of your body, or beat you. And you’ll want to kill yourselves. You won’t receive any kind of medical attention – that wouldn’t be very profitable for us. Anyway, we want to make money, and we don’t care if your lives are at stake.
You’ll live with terror in every moment of this life that awaits you. You will be mutilated puppets, dolls broken by trafficking and slavery that was never abolished. We make a living off the damage we cause you without paying anything.
I sentence you to a life of suffering, imprisonment, torture, and exploitation, and your punishment be everlasting. We have some tough enemies out there that can weaken us and sometimes manage to free you, but we are still very strong.”
And now we turn to you, who read these words, and we want to tell you that you too could become a puppet. Your siblings, children, friends, or you yourself could all become victims of human trafficking. Actually, victims of this industry are somewhat random and amount to about 27 million people, suffering every day.
Let us call prostitution, slave labor, and sexual exploitation by name and be aware of this unfortunate reality. Let us raise our own voices to support the victims’ own, choked down by their battered bodies and tormented souls. Let us fight for them from the outside, where we have the resources to do so, and let us protect the most vulnerable from being captured by the demons that profit from lives.
Feature image courtesy of Larissa Kulik