A Girl Tells Her Story of Sex Trafficking and Asks Why No One Helped

Cambodian siblings posing for a photo from behind a fence near the Killing Fields.

Children are bought and sold worldwide every day even with international laws and the laws of 134 countries criminalizing sex trafficking. (Image: Paop via Dreamstime)

It’s hard to believe and possibly even harder to see that “sex trafficking” really happens. But at some stage, something has to happen. It is our choice to do something, not just hope and pray that our children never get caught up in it. Hope has not helped the 2 million children that are exploited every year.

Children are bought and sold worldwide every day into commercial sexual servitude or into forced labor, even with international laws and the laws of 134 countries criminalizing sex trafficking.

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“They forced me to sleep with as many as 50 customers a day. I had to give [the pimp] all my money. If I did not [earn a set amount], they punished me by removing my clothes and beating me with a stick until I fainted, electrocuting me, cutting me,” said Kolab, a sex trafficking survivor from Cambodia.

Does your hotel know?

Often, these horrific acts happen in hotels where there are people everywhere, but no one notices, or they do and just look away. I understand it may be dangerous to act, but is it still dangerous to make a phone call?

ECPAT-USA has started a campaign aimed at hotels and travelers called #DoesYourHotelKnow?

It’s an attempt to educate them on the signs of sex trafficking, with a call to action.

Sex trafficking happening in hotels

With the growth of technology, traffickers and pimps are moving their business off the streets and onto the Internet, behind closed doors, and out of sight. Trafficked victims are bought and sold in hotel rooms, and exploited in prostitution. A trafficker may check into a hotel and run their business out of the rooms, unbeknownst to the employees, or use the hotel to meet with sex buyers, wrote ECPAT-USA.


How to recognize the signs, from The Polaris Project:

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
Learn to recognize the signs of sex trafficking victims.
Learn to recognize the signs of trafficked victims. (Image: Motortion via Dreamstime)

This list is just one out of several that I have chosen from The Polaris Project website.  For any hotel that wants to help, click here, and for individuals, click here.

It is a real problem, and it will only stop when people decide to make a stand when and wherever they see it.

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