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human trafficking awareness month

In the Booth with Ruth – Aashika N. Damodar, Anti-Human Trafficking Activist, Advocate and Non-Profit Founder

February 26, 2013 // 2 Comments

So many events in my life have culminated to this point: a life dedicated to combating sexual violence and trafficking. When I entered university, I learned about a trafficking case that took place right across from my dormitory at UC Berkeley. Lakireddy, a Berkeley landlord and restaurant owner, came under investigation when a young woman died in one of his apartment buildings. He was convicted for both sex and labor trafficking...

In the Booth with Ruth – Rachel Lloyd, Founder and CEO of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS)

January 31, 2013 // 5 Comments

We get a lot of people who want to go ‘rescue’ girls on the street – (a) we’re about empowering girls and young women, not rescuing or ‘saving’ them and (b) places like Big Brother Big Sister are always in need of healthy, consistent adult mentors, and long term, the impact you could have in a little girl or boy’s life will make a true difference in actually preventing children and youth from being vulnerable in the first place...

In the Booth with Ruth – Stella Marr, Sex Trafficking Survivor, Anti-Sex Trafficking Activist and Advocate, Executive Director and Founding Member of Sex Trafficking Survivors United (Survivors Connect)

January 29, 2013 // 15 Comments

I was trafficked in prostitution in New York City for nearly ten years, from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Two of my friends from the life were murdered. My beautiful friend, April, died of suicide because the madam she'd called promised to send help then did nothing. April died waiting - to me it feels like another murder. My best friend Gabriel, who'd been trafficked from age sixteen, died of AIDS at age twenty-four. His family kicked him out when they found out he was sick, so he had to spend his last days living with a john who made him buy life insurance with the john as beneficiary. I fill with tears when I think of it...

In the Booth with Ruth – Jody Williams, Founder of Sex Workers Anonymous (formerly Prostitutes Anonymous) and Trafficking and Prostitution Services

January 29, 2013 // 8 Comments

I was in the middle of this in Los Angeles during the 1980s, which was during the whole Iran-Contra fiasco. This meant I saw government, CIA, police, and other politically connected people pumping guns and drugs into Los Angeles using the gangs as a front for what they were doing. I was on the trucks full of crates of cocaine off the boat from Columbia when I saw the coast guard wave them on through, because everything had been already arranged within our own government to happen. I watched how the prostitutes were used as mules to carry the drugs or to have sex with potential purchasers of the guns to make sure they were not cops...

In the Booth with Ruth – Mary David, Anti-Human Trafficking Activist, Motivational Speaker, Model, Former UN Advisor, Miss Wyoming United States

January 28, 2013 // 4 Comments

The cruelty and gruesomeness of taking away someone’s freedom, dignity, and innocence makes me more angry than I can put into words. I have always been drawn to underserved groups and advocating for exploited people. When I meet survivors and hear what they have gone through but then also see how strong they are despite what they have endured, I can’t help but act. Their traumas are so expansive and ongoing that they propel me forward. Victims of these crimes are like any person you meet at work or a party or school. Fortunately for me, I was never targeted by traffickers, but when I meet victims I can’t help but think “that could have been me.” A realization like that comes with a heavy burden and obligation. I was lucky, so I feel called to help those who are not.