Laura was a victim, and this is her story:
“I was just 12 years old when my dad left. Mom
didn’t have any real job skills, so she got a job
cleaning bathrooms at the local truck stop.
One night after work, momma made me
get all dressed up and she even put makeup
on me. I was so excited because I never
got to wear makeup before; she said that
I had to look really pretty because I was
going to make us lots of money. I had
no idea what she meant by that, but if I
did, I would have ran away that night.
A girl’s first time is supposed to be
special. Mine was far from it. I had
my self-worth, dignity, and childhood
stolen from me that night, not once but
several times, and all for $150.00.
Human trafficking on the road.
We know it happens,
especially in truck stops,
but we ignore it, turn our
heads, mind our own
business, and pretend it isn’t
going on around us. If you
spend any amount of time
at a truck stop, travel center,
or even rest areas, you may
hear deals being made on
the CB or see young ladies
and men get in a truck
after a “signal” is given.
They are called Lot
etc... But the one
thing they aren’t
often called is VICTIM.
Later that night, or maybe it was early the
next morning, momma took me home and
cleaned me up and told me that I was a
big girl now. When I cried, she would beat
me, and then make it up to me by buying
me new clothes and more makeup.
On the night of my 15th birthday, after
she dropped me off at the truck stop,
momma left and never came back.
I had no problem getting rides to whatever
town or city that I wanted to go to, and I
always had money. That’s one lesson momma
taught me: Make sure you always have money.
I moved from town to town, truck stop
to truck stop until I was 17 years old.
One night, after making a “deal” over the
CB, I knocked on the door of the truck, and
it was a sting. My life changed that night.
I was shoved in a cop car and taken to the
local jail where I was treated like the trash
that I was. There were several “ladies of the
night” in the jail cell with me. One lady looked
me up and down and asked how old I was. I
told her that I was 17; and then she said that
she wanted to hear my story. I had nothing
but time, so eventually I told her everything.
When I finished, she and a few other ladies
were crying. I didn’t understand what the big
deal was. I accepted my lot in life, and did
pretty well. I had some money socked away,
and I even owned a car; granted it was an
old used beater, but it served its purpose.
Much to my surprise, this lady started yelling
for a guard. When the guard finally came
around to shut her up, she told him that
I was a minor and needed help. Needed
help? I didn’t’ need help, I just needed out,
so I could get back to “work.” I was taken
that night to a group home and a social
worker was assigned to my case. Everything
happened so fast that my head was spinning!
For the first time since I was 12, I was made
to dress like a respectable young lady, and
go to school like a normal person. This was
a huge adjustment, and to say that I was
a problem child and spent many a day in
afterschool detention was putting it mildly.
No one at the school knew my story, except
for the principal and counselor, but I had
such low self-esteem that I felt everyone
knew how dirty I was, and I felt like they were
always talking about me, laughing at me.
I was made to go see a shrink, Mrs.
Smith. I resisted and kept quiet for the
first month, but Mrs. Smith didn’t give up
on me. Finally I broke down, and for the
2nd time in my life, I told my story.
I’m a grown woman now, with a respectable
job, and am a productive member of society;
but it took me many years to realize that I
was a victim. I didn’t choose my former life,
I was thrown into it and it wasn’t my fault.
If only one trucker, one John, would’ve seen
me for the child that I was, and called the
police sooner, I could’ve been spared years of...
well years of being a worthless piece of trash. I
know that is harsh, but that is how I saw myself.
I am writing my story, so that you may put an
end to another girl’s story, before it’s too late.”
If you see or hear anyone being a victim of prostitution, please call the National Human
Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or local law enforcement.
You can also visit the website: http://truckersagainsttrafficking.org
to learn more about combating human trafficking.