The story of Charlie
My name is Charlie and this is my story.
I grew up on a farm near a small town in Kansas, USA as a member of a well-to-do family with two parents and two siblings. I was involved in sports, school activities, music, and 4-H growing up, and my family took pride in my accomplishments. I soon graduated High School with high honors and moved away to college in nearby Manhattan, KS.
Two weeks into my time at the University on Labor Day weekend 2006, I was lured by a "trusted friend" to a hotel where I was sold to a group of active military men, raped, and tortured for one night. After that night, my "friend" showed me that she had taken pictures and was prepared to send them to my dad and brother if I said anything. She used the threats of sending the pictures as a means to turn me out and profit off me for the next several months.
In December of 2006, my friend graduated with honors and sold me to another trafficker, though I did not know until later that I was sold to him. He arrived into my life in the way that a husband or boyfriend would. He wined and dined me for about a month, then began to sell me to paying customers to rape and torture me. After a while, he revealed his connection to the previous trafficker and I felt like I was trapped in the game. I was forced to satisfy the paying customers' desires, no matter how depraved or violent they were. The more they paid, the fewer protections I had. I was sold to fraternity initiations, clergymen and church leaders, college professors, attorneys, doctors, and students around the campus. I was sold to active-duty military men and police officers, men who swear to protect and serve. Eventually, I was forced to recruit and participate in acts against others and that's when I knew I had to get out.
I reached out 14 different times to advocacy organizations, hospitals, and domestic violence organizations, but no help came. I was tired of the nonstop violence, and the lack of control in my life, and I was getting further and further away from the goals I had set out for myself. After my trafficker deployed to Iraq, I distanced myself from everyone I knew in the game and tried to focus on school. It was hard and I made a lot of enemies while I was in the game. My trafficker left me with no money and I had no choice but to try to find other ways to make rent. I attended a party with the intention of "making rent" and ended up meeting a young man who became the first person to listen to what was going on in my life, and who genuinely made an effort to help. He helped to me regain control over my life, encouraging me to take one step in front of the other. He is still in my life today and we've been happily married for 12 years.
According to the Sixth Annual Trafficking in Persons Report of the United States of America, this new form of slavery claimed the lives of more than 800,000 victims in 2006, mostly women and children. Each year, the victims were treated horribly and were compelled to live degrading lifestyles.
June 8, 2023