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2020 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.

Nicolle* thought she had been offered a modelling job but upon arriving at her employer’s house she was trapped in sexual exploitation.

I was this young, ambitious, naive model given this opportunity to go to another country for this modeling job. Everything checked out that it would be legit. I looked online, researched everything. But I was only given a one-way ticket, and that should have been a red flag for me. The billionaire I thought I had gotten a modeling job with had actually purchased me as a gift for himself and his girlfriend's pleasure. I was an object and a prisoner at the billionaire's estate. If I would have known that something like this existed, I absolutely know within my heart that I would have made different decisions. Awareness is so powerful. As traumatic and as overwhelming as the topic of sex trafficking is, it's important to know how it affects us here even as Americans—it's not just overseas.

*name given


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

Original narrative can be found here: