Five years ago, I read a magazine article about a Nepalese girl who was sold into prostitution in India when she was only seven years old. Her name was Jeena. The things that this little girl had to endure are unspeakable. Jeena was finally rescued by Friends of Maiti Nepal at age eleven and placed in a safe house. Like most sex trafficking horrors, Jeena’s story is hard to stomach and it haunted me for several years. I wanted to help her and others like her, and this is my way of doing so. All profits from these pieces will be donated to organizations working to help rescue and rehabilitate trafficked girls around the world.
It is estimated that there are 1.8 million underage girls kidnapped or sold into the sex trade every year. Sixty percent of the children that are trafficked are under the age 16. The largest numbers come from South Asia and South East Asia. 50,000 of these girls are illegally brought into the United States to become indentured sex slaves.
Many of these women and girls are stripped of their identity. Passports are destroyed and the girls literally disappear. Traffickers move their captives from place to place so that they cannot be traced. Many of these women and children live in sub-human conditions. They are forced to service multiple clients a day, and if they refuse, they are starved, threatened or severely beaten. In most cases, the victims of trafficking are never paid for their sex work.