Spending July 4th as a “Child Prostitute” — or Victim?

In Holly Austin Smith, Tina Frundt, trafficking, trauma on 2012/07/05 at 9:54 pm

holly austin smith, tina frudt, human trafficking, sexual slavery, prostitution

Powerful survivor/advocate and Founder of Courtney’s House Tina Frudt, has said, pimping and trafficking is one and the same.”  Brilliant survivor/writer Holly Austin Smith has written an exceptional post which shows how building a false separation between the idea of being pimped and the idea of being trafficked harms girls and women who are or have been in the life.  Here’s an excerpt of Holly’s tour de force:

Not only does the word prostitute imply choice but it carries with it centuries of stigmatization.  At 14 years old, I began to believe that I was a prostitute.  I couldn’t understand that I was victimized because I believed I must have chosen to be a prostitute.  I initially refused to testify against my traffickers because I believed they were now the only people who accepted me.

“[The trafficker] might beat you, he might sell you…but at least he accepts you,” stated Rachel Lloyd while explaining the mindset of a victim, “society doesn’t have a lot of empathy for girls who have been in the life.”

Rachel explains that traffickers will tell young women and children that the police won’t believe them, that their family will no longer want them, and that nobody will treat them nicely.

And, unfortunately, this is often true.  This is the reason why many girls, including myself, chose to return to the traffickers; I felt shunned by society.

The answer to this problem is to stop labeling child victims as prostitutes!  These children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking.

“When you talk about a young person being trafficked or exploited,” explained Rachel Lloyd, “the edon the end makes it something that was done to that person; it’s not who they are.”

For nearly 20 years I carried a sense of guilt and shame with me, and I can trace it back to one single word: prostitute.

Read the rest of this moving article here.

  1. It is true that the victim is abused twice – once by the trafficker, and then by society. I am glad that there is a group of support for survivors – for to escape that life makes one a survivor. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, and before my father molested me, he told me the same things that the trafficker told you. I believed him, kept my mouth shut, and then kept being abused. Once the abuse came out in the open one of my uncles thought he could get a free feel from me too. I also reacted by a wild and crazy lifestyle. It took years to heal and I still have self-esteem issues. My father’s words still rattle around in my mind when he told me (I was seven at the time) that I was so ugly, no man would ever want to marry me so he was going to teach me to put out so that I could get a man. My mom knew the abuse was going on and each day, after his abuse, she said, “I heard him in your room last night, tell me what he did.” She filled up two notebooks writing about his visits, made me model bras for him, bought me seamed nylons because he thought they were sexy, and pretty much threw me at him – then compared notes. You think you had it bad, what about what he did to me. I left that house severely damaged, but there is healing possible. No matter what they did to me, God was able to help me heal and choose a healthy relationship and raise normal kids. But the hurt runs deep. I pray for the women on this site. may they find peace and realize they are not to blame. I admire all the brave women who share their stories to encourage others. God bless you.

  2. [...] Spending July 4th as a “Child Prostitute” – or Victim? ( [...]

  3. Your story is very similar to mine. I too thought I chose prostitution at 14. I remember wanting to not be a nice girl like my mother who ended up being left by my dad for a stripper. I also wanted to know what was so exciting about the fast lane that my dad could leave us. So I hit the streets hoping my dad would come looking for me but a pimp found me
    instead. I was vulnerable and angry. I was brain washed and beaten. I spent 28 years in the life. There was a time I thought I was born to be a prostitute and couldn’t even imagine
    any ‘kind of a way out. five suicide attempts and only by the grace of god that I’m even alive.
    But I’m out now and working with women who have been in the life and looking forward to a better life now. God bless all the prostituted women.

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