Monthly Archives: April 2011

Documentary Clips: “Very Young Girls”

This documentary is the story of a teenage girls who were trafficked into the sex trafficking industry. They were tricked by pimps in their early teens. According to this documentary:

The average age of a girl entering the prostitution industry in the United States is 13!

In this clip, a girl tells how she was brainwashed by her pimp. He made her feel like he was in love with her and her body was his. She felt that she had no control over her body. What ever he wanted to do with it, she let him. I know a girl who was trafficked into the pornography industry at the age of 17. Her story is very similar to hers. I let her watch it and she cried because this was the emotions she feels and is trying to heal from. If you know a survivor you can’t even imagine what is going through their heads. They are wounded and scared emotionally forever. The victim eventually becomes a survivor, but as you can tell from these clips…..it is a very difficult process. I know she still has trouble truly comprehending it happened. I think this documentary did a good job expressing what victims feel, as they become a survivor.

Many of these girls just want to be loved. They want to feel like they have someone when they feel they have no one. Its really easy for young vulnerable girls to fall for a pimps tricks.

I put up two sections of the film. If you would like to see the rest, search “Very Young Girls” on youtube.

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Amazing Race Event in NC!

A dear friend of mine contacted me about an event occurring at a university in Greensboro, NC on April 30th. This event will be held at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This race sounds exciting! My friend told me that they are going to send you places all over Greensboro just like the TV show!

Please see the flyer for more details! She also informed me they need volunteers for this event. Please email kferris.wr.org for info!


Sex Trafficking in Pittsburgh

Article On Sex Trafficking in Pittsburgh

This article is about the legislation targeting sex trafficking in Pittsburgh, PA. I’m not trying to insult their intelligence, but EVIDENTLY they are just now taking note that massage parlors are commonly used to disguise brothels and prostitution.

Currently City Councilman Doug Shields, is trying to pass a bill that requires massage parlors and their employees to have annual licensing. I think this is a brilliant idea! I wish more states would do this! If they did, the amount of trafficking would probably not decrease but it will help us end this crime a lot easie

r. I’m sure that if we did install a law like this nationwide I’m sure traffickers would think up another way to operate their “business”. However, we would have a higher chance to catch the trafficking that is already going on.

According to the article; coalition members identified 15 massage parlors in Pittsburgh and seven in the suburbs that they believe are fronts for prostitution and, possibly, trafficking. 

Shields talks about how women are often kidnapped, then brought to America against their will, and then forced into prostitution. A statistic from The Polaris Project says that Asian women are often targeted. Some traffickers use internet sites, posting ads for jobs that are really

Once they are trafficked, they are forced to sleep with as many as 10 men a day. I have read other articles that have said women were forced to sleep with as many as 35 to 40 men a day. This statistic makes me sick!

This article also brought up a great point:

If you find evidence of trafficking, report it! Tell someone! Here are some appropriate people to contact:

  • Police or Law Enforcement
  • Church Leader or Clergy
  • If you are wanting to remain anonymous, call the Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888.

Several people who have approached me about observations that they think

may be human trafficking go only as far as speaking to me about it. People are often nervous about taking a stand or getting involved. I totally understand someone worrying about their safety, it takes a lot of courage to work in prevention in this field…but someone has to do it.

Please do not contact your friends, because you never know who is involved in this crime! If you want to learn more about identi

fying and how to help and get involved, please

see the tabs at the top of my blog for more detailed explanation.

Honestly, lately I have become a bit more nervous about my safety. As an activist, I am risking my safety to help others. I choose to not let that prevent me from helping those who need it. God is my courage, I’m in good hands!


Again, My Apologies….

My apologies for the low amount of posts. Its finals time, so blogging time decreases a bit. Stay tuned, a post will be coming soon though!

In the mean time, here is short video that has nothing to do with trafficking but it has a great message. If we work to make a small difference, one large difference will be made. I could be discouraged by low funding or statistics, but I work no matter the significance of my effect I continue to think positively. Even if one victim is rescued because someone was aware of how to recognize trafficking, in my eyes that makes what I do worth it.

Today, show a complete stranger kindness. It really helps your character and can lead to larger changes in this world.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”-Ghandi



Possible Victim in Lincolnton, NC

Article About Trafficking in NC

This article is about a girl named Stephany Pineda, who disappeared about 4 months ago. On December 14, 2010, Stephany was running late for school. After hurrying to get to school on time, she left for the bus stop but never made it to school. Stephany was last seen by a family friend, riding off in a car with two men.

It is not certain, but a great fear of her mother Karla Lopez is that Stephany has become a victim of the sex trafficking industry. She told the reporters that Stephany was a good student, a caring daughter and a loving sibling. My heart really hurts for this mother. I can’t imagine having a daughter disappear with no answers and no closure. I pray she finds peace as she fears for her daughter’s safety and well being.

There have been no significant developments leading to solving the case of Stephany’s disappearance except one. Karla was told a man named Leonardo Guerrero may have information leading to her daughter’s whereabouts. She then obtained his address and went to his apartment where she interrogated him about her daughter. When she arrived and she asked, he attempted to slam the door in her face but she caught it with her foot blocking it from being shut. He then grasped her neck with his hands and forced her against the wall.

Karla left frantically and told authorities of this event. They went back to his apartment where the door was a jar and no sign of Guerrero. There is now a warrant out for his arrest for assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

This article also goes into some details about trafficking in North Carolina.

  • North Carolina is ranked as the 8th state in human trafficking!
  • Many victims (mostly young girls and women) are brought here thinking they are going to have a better life, then sold or forced into sex slavery.
  • North Carolina is an easy target for trafficking since there are several interstates.  It is also a short drive from larger international airport hubs such as Atlanta.

This articles goes into detail about what I discussed in my last post; the increase in trafficking in the Hispanic community. According to this article, Hispanic communities are a high target for many reasons. Some of these reasons are language barrier, cultural differences and fear. 

Important statistics mentioned in this article:

  • People can be bought for as little as $130.
  • A $30 “trick” can add up to $75,000 to $250,000 for a pimp.
  • The U.S. State Department estimates 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into this country each year. Of these, more than 80 percent are women and 70 percent of them are forced into the commercial sex trade.
  • The United States is the second highest destination in the world for trafficked women.
  • The FBI estimates approximately 23 percent of those trafficked into the United States arrive in the Southeast.
  • Persons trafficked into North Carolina are from the following ethnicities: 61 percent Hispanic, 18 percent African-American, followed by a growing percentage of Asians.

Have you seen Stephany Pineda or Leonardo Guerrero:

Lincolnton Police would like anyone with tips to call 704-736-8900.

Anonymous calls can be made to Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.




Trafficking from Central America to U.S.

Article on Latino Brothels In the U.S.

This article discusses women who been trafficked into the U.S. This article focuses specifically on the Latino population and techniques they use here in the U.S. to traffic others into their “business”. This article begins by talking about a girl’s story that is very common in the trafficking industry. A girl named Cristina, was told by a man that he loved her and had a great life set up for her. She of course, fell for it and went with him into the U.S. Once she arrived, she realized this was not all the life she had hoped for. She was then abused and controlled to where she felt she had no choice but to stay and endure this.

According to this article, Latino brothels operate basically like slavery. Girls in Latin America as young as 13 are approached by men and even women who promise them jobs in America as a waitress, cleaner, cook etc. These girls are then sent of with “coyotes” and smuggled across U.S. borders. When they arrive they are told they have a debt of $2000-$3000 to pay off. They are then forced into prostitution to work of their debt. This is main way traffickers in these brothels (housing where victims are kept) maintain and obtain control over their victims since they control their shelter and food.

This article also gave some insightful information on how brothels work:

  • Victims are often moved around very quickly. They usually never remain in the brothel for more than two weeks. This keeps the selection fresh for the customers. This also keeps the girls from escaping. If they are at places for short periods of time, they will never have long enough to figureout how to escape.
  • They often advertise in Spanish dialect in a code that only the people within the business would know. One mentioned in the article was the ad for the 24 hour taco delivery. Customers are screened on the phone and at the door to make sure they are a part of the targeted ethnic group.

Trafficking in Portland

Another Survivor in California

This survivor was a girl named Natasha Herzig. She was 19, in a mall where a woman approached her about a job selling make up. She agreed to meet with the woman at a restaurant which she became more nervous about while there. During the meeting she excused herself with the underlying intent to leave and not come back.

When she got to the parking lot, she realized she was trapped. A man was waiting in a parking lot with a gun who then forced her into a black mercedes.

Her traffickers name was James Vernon, with an alias of Spyder. Herzig says after she was kidnapped she was forced into “mental chains”. She endured several acts of physical and sexual abuse.

In efforts to not gain the attention of a missing persons case, Vernon had Herzig call her parents. During these phone calls Vernon monitored them where he told her exactly what to say. According to this article Herzig’s parent were under the impression she was fine. The thought of her being trafficked into sex slavery never even crossed their minds.

While Herzig was enslaved, Vernon controlled her by threatening her family, beating her and then forced her into prostitution.

Herzig along along with other girls were taken to sport events and other conventions where they repeatedly sold for sex. According to this article, these male buyers were paying thousands of dollars for these girls.

After enduring this torture for 10 months, she finally grew so fearful for her life she knew she had to get out. She claims her breaking point was after witnessing another one of the girls being beaten so badly her eyes were almost out of their sockets.

According to this article she told someone to call her parents. The police then came and she and her friend were rescued. Unfortunately, Vernon had vanished.

Later in the article it stated that Vernon was later arrested is now facing charges for promoting prostitution and second-degree assault in New York.

FACT: NO specific law against sex trafficking was established until 2004!

I was pleased that Herzig brought up an interesting point that many articles don’t talk about: the process of healing for the victim as they become a survivor.

In an interview Herzig said,”When you feel like you’re worth nothing, you’re going to treat your body and yourself like you are worth nothing, and while you’re healing you’re making a lot of mistakes because you’re trying to find out who you are”.

This is an extremely difficult process obviously. The hardest part is reclaiming your self esteem. Victims often make many mistakes while trying to regain their self esteem. Herzig talks about how she made a series of X-rated films during her healing process. She talks about how many victims resort to this, night clubs or on their streets. In her opinion they do this action is a reflection of  their self worth or as self reflection.

I was happy to read that Herzig is now married with children. It gives me hope to know that victims who go through this horrible lifestyle can truly become a survivor.