Devastating Stories

In 2003 during the fall of Saddam Hussein, human trafficking sky rocketed throughout Iraq.  Human trafficking was very common throughout Iraq since there was no authority to stop it.A stunning 18-year-old nicknamed Amna, her black hair pulled back in a ponytail, says She was taken from an orphanage by an armed gang just after the U.S. invasion and sent to brothels in Samarra, al-Qaim on the border with Syria, and Mosul in the north before she was taken back to Baghdad, drugged with pills, dressed in a suicide belt and sent to bomb a cleric’s office in Khadamiyah, where she turned herself in to the police. A judge gave her a seven-year jail sentence “for her sake” to protect her from the gang,
according to the prison director.  The prison director is implying that the life of a sex slave at a brothel is much worse than being in jail for 7 years.  Both are frightening options but at least you won’t be raped and beaten consistently in jail.  There really isn’t a place for an Amma to run to otherwise the judge would have sent her there than jail.  However, when victims do try and run away, they usually get caught by someone and brought back to the brothels where they are punished severely.

For some cultures within Cambodia, it is accepted to rape and beat your wife. The girls are taught growing up that you follow whatever a man says or else be punished.  This one man raped his daughter and was asked why he did such a thing.  He said, “Her mother is beautiful and she attracts all the (jerks) in the village. So to hurt her, I raped her daughter, who’s pretty too.”  Someone then told him how it’s his daughter too.  He simply responded “No, she’s her
mothers. It’s her mother who was pregnant. This child is nothing to me.  I didn’t catty her in my womb, did I?”  To some people it is acceptable but to others it’s sickening.

Kolap was six years old when her mother sold her.  When they go to the brothel, Kolap thought her job was only going to be washing up, but she pleaded with her mother not to leave her.  She hugged her mother by the neck, and her mother slapped her and pushed her away.  When Kolap grabbed her ankles, her mother kicked her.  She walked away with fifty dollars, and kolap’s virginity was sold.  Clearly nobody cared how old a girl was, they only cared whether she was a virgin or not.  I can only imagine the fear in that girls eyes when a man brutally beats and rapes her when she was only six years old.  I know when I was six; I still thought girls gave me cooties.  Imagine that innocence being stripped away nowing someone else is in line waiting for his turn.  Virgins were priced the highest for two reasons: people thought having sex with a virgin could bring strength to oneself and they also thought virgins could cure illness such as AIDS. Little did they know that it only made the girl sick as well and their own sickness isn’t cured.  Kolap having an immature body was consistently tearing, so they sewed her up without anesthetic and sold her to multiple brothels till she was ten and rescued.  She wanted to see her mother again so she asked Somaly Mam to take her (creator of AFESIP which helps with sex trafficking and rescuer of Kolap.  She also is the author of The Road of Lost Innocence).  When Kolap’s mother saw her, she immediately began to cry.

Kolap said,
“Don’t cry.  I’ve come to ask you, why
did you sell me?  Why did you hit me when
I kissed you?  Why did you kick me when I
tried to hold on you?  You had fifty
dollars in your hands.”

“I didn’t sell you,” stammered the woman.  “I didn’t know it was a brothel.”

“How can you say that?”

“We had nothing to eat.”

“You’re lying. You’ve managed to live pretty well till now.  You haven’t changed.  But you’re no longer my mother.  That’s my mother,” Kolap pointed at Somaly Mam.  “She didn’t give birth to me. But she has given me all the rest.”

These are all survivors of victims of human trafficking telling their horrific story to the world.

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