** Disclaimer: This is written by anynomous, who helped a survivor write their story. Trafficking Justice does not own this piece of writing **
“This piece is based on “Angelina’s” true experiences of Super Bowl Sundays during her childhood when she was sex trafficked. While names and telling details are fictionalized for her protection, it is still true in essence. The goal of Angelina’s story is not to churn stomachs or shock or shake our head in disgust; instead it is to meant to pull back the curtain on what modern day slavery looks like so we are moved to action—to shed light and awareness into our communities to save others. Even if it’s just to save one.” – anynomous
” First off, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t one special money-making Sunday for sex traffickers.
It’s not like they aren’t selling us any other given Sunday. But the Super Bowl brings in more men, and more men bring in more money. Big money.
Especially if you are young. I was nine for my first one. It was 2005.
(Patriots vs. Eagles. I had to google who played. I had no idea then).
We flew into Jacksonville from Thailand the last week of January. Nobody in customs looked twice at me with my pimp, let’s call him “Darrell,” who appeared to be my father. I was white, so was he. Why would anyone look twice at us? He had all my papers…he always had them–and me–close.
Somehow the rest of the girls got to FL, too…. maybe with our Mademoiselle? The whole operation was run by her from the “compound” she owns back in Thailand.
How I got there is a whole other horrific story for another time.
Let’s stick to this one for now.
Traveling was no big deal for me. I did it all the time. By then I had been properly “broken in and trained” ….and was loyal. I was given no other choice if I wanted to live. Over the previous year I had been sold in Dubai, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and various other countries.
And this wasn’t the first time I was in the United States.
Our driver picked us up and drove us to the hotel. I was so little that I could barely see out of the window and strained in my seat, curious to peek at the outside free world I barely remembered.
Once at the hotel we were ushered in through side doors and back stairways. Unseen. Off the radar until a paying customer wanted to see.
Inside the large suite the pit in my stomach grew as they strung up curtains and sheets to make several “bedrooms.” I wasn’t hungry anymore when I saw flip phones and thick laptops came out as the ads were placed on the Dark Web illegal sites. Don’t know what the Dark Web is? You might want to google that. Back then they used words like “cherry” “new in town” “sweet.” Basically, I was advertised as property to be sold: a young, ripe virgin to be bought and handled as the customer saw fit.
But I wasn’t a virgin: I was a nine-year-old sex professional.
I was worth A LOT of money to my pimps. Because the youngest girls make the most as they are marketed as virgins.
Over the course of the next week and a half I made them about $5000. Per night.
Do the math and let that sink in.
By Super Bowl Sunday everything hurt. I learned early on how to turn my brain off, but this night was going to be even worse. Pregame business started early with frenzied customers that were high on drugs or alcohol and low on inhibition. One guy literally threw me all the way across the room onto the bed. It had to have been like 15 feet because I weighed so little.
I remember seeing the Alltel Stadium on TV or maybe when we drove around it to the hotel. The US
Military Academy’s trumpet section did the National Anthem that year.
Not that I watched it. Apparently, the Patriots won 24-21.
I was trapped in a hotel room. Being sold to men of all ages so they could have sex with a child. Sometimes tied up by well-dressed rich men smelling of booze and popcorn. (I can’t even eat popcorn to this day because the smell of it reminds me of being “in the life.”)
On average it was about 17-18 men per night. My pimps would let me sleep whenever we didn’t have customers. It’s the worst thing to be woken up from a nightmare only to have the real nightmare continue. Or when you hear the other girls getting beaten or slapped or cussed at while their bodies and souls are crushed in two.
I learned to bite the sheets when I knew it was going to be rough. So hard sometimes that my jaw would hurt worse than my body. Often times I’d try to provoke them as I wanted them to just kill me and get it over with.
Ugh, I haven’t thought about that in a while.
Can we move on?
Fast forward. By the time I was seventeen I had been trafficked to several Super Bowls and sporting events. The one in Indianapolis in 2012 was particularly bad.
I had given birth ten days before. I was maybe 80 pounds.
And I was 15. It was my third pregnancy. My traffickers took my baby from me and sent me back to work. Because it was Super Bowl week.
Giants vs. Patriots.
Technology had changed dramatically since my younger years. With smartphones and Backpage.com it’s a pimp’s greatest moneymaking tool there is. Instead of code words, emojis can describe the age, what the girl will do, and specifics that customers want. Like ordering up a pizza with just the right toppings.
I was past my prime in terms of salability. And now I had quotas.
When I was young the men came to us. Now that I’m older I go to them.
Which leaves us less protection by our pimps. We had to get into the cars they told us to.
As Kelly Clarkson sang the National Anthem I sold my body. That night it was 20-30 men. I lost count. And I only made $2000. I think… because of the “fishbowl.” It’s a bowl passed around among the girls that’s a mishmash of various colored pills. Kind of like Russian Roulette with drugs. I did know that the blue ones would make me chill. So that helped numb me—which I am still grateful for.
Away from the protection of our sellers I had grown used to a harsher reality. It’s still sickening to me that men inherently know they can beat and hurt us as long as they don’t touch our faces.
Back at the hotels or motels, the girls would fight over toiletries. There are only one or two soap bars in the room, you know. Between five to six girls, plus pimps that will even use soap as a reward for being loyal, being clean came at a cost.
A church lady approached us once by the stadium. She gave me a gift bag with toiletries/soaps and a salon card in it that had a phone number on it to call. It was a number and a possible way out to get help. But I had learned my lesson before: pimps often test their girls by faking a rescue attempt. Let me tell you: that’s a beating I will never forget. And a lesson learned—Never. Trust. Anyone.
I remember being mad at the woman that she put me in that predicament. Because if it wasn’t the pimp testing me and he found that card—or that soap—I’d be punished for it. Now I look back and wish I had just gone with her or called the number. My eyes were always screaming, “HELP ME.”
What a mind bend.
Know what else is a mind bend and why girls like me have a hard time being rescued? We were often used as payment to officials to look the other way. Police officers, government officials, servicemen. All of them.
“Don’t take money from this one,” said my pimp.
The next year, in 2013, the Super Bowl was in New Orleans. Ravens vs. the 49ers.
Alicia Keys sang the National Anthem. I wonder if she nailed it? She’s such a good singer…
There are bits and pieces of the game I remember. Depending on how they positioned me I could see the TV and would focus really hard on it. But then I’d stuff my face in a pillow trying to suffocate myself trying to escape life. Often times I would.
It’s also known as the Black Out Bowl. The power went out in the Superdome for 34 minutes. I had been blacked out the whole week beforehand because I needed to…to survive.
So many men at all hours of the day and night–it’s like they took all their anger and energy in trying to cause pain. For enjoyment. For fulfillment. For the pigskin sport of it. For wanting to feel like the men on the field they adored and revered. My body was a repository for all of that. Forced to serve.
As the Super Bowl inches closer this year, I cannot help but get anxious. Yes, I’m free and under protections that I wholeheartedly trust: a government agency AND my Lord and Savior, Jesus. But I cannot not think of the countless girls (and boys) that will endure the same hell I went through.
On any given Sunday.
Here’s my plea and message to you: look up. Notice things. One of the reasons the Super Bowl and other sporting events are hotbeds of illegal activity is because it’s an exciting escape and reason to behave badly. Nobody wants to notice morality being skewed. We get that enough on the news and twitter.
Want to know what to look for? Here’s a few: tattoos/branding (often times with words like “Loyal” “Queen” or bar codes), evidence of violence like bruises, looking spacey or out of it (hello drugs), third party control—pimp/older male present, inappropriate clothing for the weather, broken English.
You’ve probably noticed some of these and averted your eyes thinking it’s none of your business…or that it’s crude and you don’t need to get involved.
Don’t do that next time.
Because time is running out for minors involved in sex trafficking. The average expectancy of children “in the life” is seven years. Which means that kid probably won’t see their 20th birthday.
Make the call to the trafficking hotline next time you see something.
There’s zero risk in being wrong.
You can leave an anonymous tip. There’s ZERO RISK for you and a possible RESCUE for her.
You don’t have to provide your name or any identifying details about the situation unless you want to. The National Hotline will protect your anonymity when sharing information about a potentialtrafficking case with authorities.
Whatever you do: don’t try to step in and confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions. Your safety as well as the victim’s safety has to come first. I’ve seen bad things happen by well-meaning people trying to help. We’re the ones who pay for it.
Just make the call or send a text.
People that are overwhelmed by my story ask me what they can do, how they can help. Here’s how-
-put this number in your phone right now: 1 (888) 373-7888.
On this year’s Super Bowl Sunday, indulge on amazing bean dip and gourmet burgers in Minneapolis or your respective town or living room. Yell, jump up and down, banter. Do what football fans are supposed to do: Enjoy the big game.
But… look around.
Don’t allow warped morality, over-indulgence, addiction, illegal activities and slavery happen to a human being.
Notice what’s going on around you. Look at the girl/child/boy/possible pimp or John in the hotel lobby, bar, event, parking lot, airport, Uber.
Then call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888. Or text 233733.
There’s zero risk in being wrong. There’s zero risk in being wrong.
There’s zero risk in being wrong…and possibly a life rescued if you are right.“