01 April 2010
Child sexual trafficking exists in your local community, whether you believe it or not.
Lidia was with friends in a local mall parking lot when she met her first boyfriend. He drove up beside her in a fancy car and told her she was pretty – she was 10 years old and he was 16. All the other girls tried to get the boy’s attention, and Lidia felt great that she was the object of the boy’s attention. The other girls seemed jealous, especially when Lidia showed her friends the gifts her new boyfriend would buy for her.
Lidia was a smart kid but felt abandoned—her parents were always busy with her little brother. The attention was great. When Lidia received a phone call on her cell phone at home from her new boyfriend, she was questioned about it by her parents. Lidia lied and said it was a kid from school who wanted to ask her a question about homework, since she was an A student. She felt bad about lying but her parents would never understand. Besides, they were always so short-tempered lately—and they were only concerned about her little brother who acted up to get attention. She wanted to get out of the house with all the yelling and fighting. Lidia came up with a plan: she would ask her mom to drive her and her friends to the mall or to a movie, and then she would join up with her boyfriend after ditching her friends.
Her friends finally told on Lidia, so she was grounded. Her cell phone was taken away, but by this time her boyfriend knew where she lived and where she went to school. After school one day he found Lidia and asked her why she didn’t answer his calls. When she explained the situation, he was supportive and comforting. Her so-called boyfriend was making an investment – an investment of time and a crafted illusion of trust and loyalty that bound her emotionally to him.
One morning, after a particularly bad fight at home, Lidia finally agreed to get into her boyfriend’s car after school. He was the only one who understood, and he said he wanted to buy her lunch. She could call home after they ate and tell her parents she went to a friend’s house to talk. She would say she wanted an apology from her parents before she came home. Of course they would apologize—they would be worried about her—and they would be nicer to her in the future. Once the apology was made, he would drive Lidia home, dropping her off down the street so her parents wouldn’t see him. He was so smart!
After lunch, Lidia called her parents. They screamed at her over the phone, and she hung up. Lidia decided she would stay with her boyfriend that night. Her parents would be so sorry they yelled at her! Her boyfriend opened his car door for her like he always did—he was such a gentleman!—and shut the door. When the car door shut Lidia’s life changed forever - her “boyfriend” was actually a pimp. Lidia had never left her community before, but she suddenly found herself far away from home. Her “boyfriend” revealed his true motive with regular beatings to establish absolute control over her – he took away her identity and made her his slave.
For the next five years he prostituted her to over 100 men per month. She knew she couldn’t run; she had already seen proof of his terrifying promise: He had killed animals and severely beat other girls in front of her. “You’re mine. I know where I got you and I can get you again.” She was arrested for prostitution over 17 times in nearly as many states. There was no safe place for her to run, and with each arrest she spent more time in jail – labeled a “child prostitute” and charged with the crime committed against her, Lidia was without hope for rescue.
Thankfully, a diligent law enforcement officer, who was trained by a local organization against child sexual trafficking, recognized Lidia as a victim and she was finally rescued; she is now free from a life of prostitution and her pimp is serving 40 years in prison. Lidia’s story is reflective of the hundreds of thousands of children across America who are still suffering under the violent control of a trafficker/pimp and the men who purchase their young bodies.
Love146 fights all forms of child sexual trafficking and exploitation all over the world. The Cincinnati Love146 Task Force educates the community and fights local and worldwide child sexual exploitation. Join us today! Leave a comment here, or email us at love146 at stevenixon dot net