Friday News Roundup: Victim Voices
Every Friday, Polaris highlights noteworthy human trafficking stories in the media for our readers to check out, share, and respond to. Tell us your thoughts on these stories in the discussion below!
The Guardian UK 5/26//17
However, social workers need a better understanding of the dynamics of trafficking – and especially the way it is linked to migration – to help them identify those affected or at risk, according to Hlín Sæþórsdóttir of the State University of New York. “One of the biggest problems is that there is such a dichotomy in all the discourse,” says Sæþórsdóttir, a PhD student from Iceland with an interest in human trafficking and migration. “It’s all about forced versus voluntary migration, legal or illegal migrants. But human trafficking isn’t black or white – it’s everything in between.”
INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: Survivors share their stories
Northwest Florida Daily News 5/21/17
“I want to tell victims, you are not who the world says you are. You are not what has happened to you or what you have done.” Victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation don’t always fit a mold. Here, two women share their very different stories. What they have in common is a passion to use their experiences to help others. Anderson was 23 years old and had just moved to St. Petersburg when she found herself caught in a living nightmare. She was at home one night in 2001 with her two young kids when a former co-worker showed up outside her home. “He leaned against the door, took possession of my kids and gave me a black dress and black roses,” Anderson recalled over the phone from her current home in Seattle. “He said I was going to marry the devil that night.” “It wasn’t a sexual relationship,” she added. “He was opening businesses in my name, selling products and taking account numbers. He was making $15,000 to $18,000 off me a week. I learned really quickly not to ask why.”
The Atlantic 5/16/17
Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been.
Just about everyone who stops by "La Familia" restaurant in Mexico City is welcomed with Neli Delgado's warm smile. Delgado says her life turned upside down when she was 18 years old. "My father died the month before I was to finish high school and my family completely collapsed," she said. Homeless, penniless and grieving, Delgado says she was easy prey for a charming man who promised to care for her, offering marriage and eternal love. But the promise of marriage was just a trick. Her suitor was, in reality, a human trafficker. "One day he told me 'I gave my life for you and you're also going to have to give yours for me. I'm struggling financially so you're going to have to help me by being a sex-worker in Mexico City,' Delgado said.