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2018 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.

Hannah experienced the world of sexual exploitation and forced labour when her foster parents adopted her at the age of 12, in Texas, USA.

My adopted mother physically and mentally abused me. There’s a piece of thick wood and she beat the back of our legs with it, so we’d fall... I was pulled out of school because I threatened to tell authorities about the abuse.

Then, when I was 14, my adopted father, a truckdriver, took me out on the road. I felt very isolated. It was only me and my adopted father—no kids around my age. I got to experience like being around older men, truckdrivers, things like that… And a lot of abuse went on in there like codependency, a lot of sexual abuse, mental abuse like I couldn’t get out of that situation…

I had to do it to live, to survive in a way because there was no outlet for it. There was no outlet for me to go anywhere else. That was my prison…

I got an up-close look at the prostitution ring in the trucking world… The truck was used for prostitution with girls as young as 12. The victims were taken there on a regular basis, rotated, and then they’re there for the truck drivers that want them… But truck stops aren’t the only place you’ll find human trafficking victims. They’re easy to spot. Sometimes it’s as easy as seeing one or two adults with three or four children. They look very submissive. They look very out of place. Maybe they’re not dressed properly…

When I was in foster care, the 30-minute check-up every few months just wasn’t enough. And then, when I was adopted, no-one checked up on me at all… [My adopted father] was my provider. So I had to give him what he wanted… Like he was providing for me so I had to provide for him.”


Narrative source Youth Underground, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking through youth education, awareness-raising and advocacy.

The original narrative can be found here