The Kidnaped Faces of Prostitution
Sold to the Trade
Despite what popular media displays, prostitutes aren’t often woman in lace with red lights highlighting their willing curves. In fact, most of our planet’s prostitutes are far from willing.
Meet Katia, a gorgeous blonde with pearly white skin living in Moldova. Katia became friends with her mother’s roommate, Vlad, around the same time the mother-daughter duo was starting up a business. Vlad suggested that Katia journey to Turkey with him where cheap merchandise was easy to come by. Trusting her friend’s suggestion and liking the idea that he would accompany her, Katia purchased the tickets and planned out their trip. Only once the two arrived in Turkey did Katia realize something seemed strange. Vlad didn’t wait a full night before he sealed the deal, trading pregnant Katia for $1,000 to a ‘middle man.’
Terrified, Katia was blindfolded and driven far into the mountains where the thugs brought her to a large house and stuffed her into a backroom. She was neglected, abused, and given laced water, which made her loopy and hallucinate. Katia was beaten and raped by multiple men before being sold to another pimp who made her relive the same fate. It is common for woman to be routinely sold between pimps, especially for women who ‘misbehave’ or protest their abuse as Katia did. When Katia’s pimps were made aware that people were searching for her, they became deterred by her defiant manners and decided to let her go. Katia considers herself lucky, having been sent home with twenty dollars. She rang her mother’s doorbell in announcement of her arrival, seven weeks after her kidnaping.
Her betrayer, Vlad, was found and interviewed by PBS. In his interview, Vlad admits the wrongs of his actions, the terrible way his decision made him feel, and his final choice to reach out to Katia’s husband in hopes of turning things around and bringing her back home. He defends his decision although he plans to never engage in this sort of scam again. He cites the lack of jobs in his country. With no ways to make ends meet, he blames desperation and the drive to do anything to feed his family.
The demand for prostitutes is high in all countries, making women easily exploitable commodities. Often time, women are promised jobs in other Countries; desperate to feed their children they accept. Only realizing once they arrive, the whole thing has been a trick. Women are held hostage and told they must pay off their traveling “debts” by working for free; a popular practice referred to as “debt bondage.” By isolating all of their income, the women become dependent, trapped, and lost in unknown territory. Their hopes for a better life shattered; their chance of escape, very small.
Another woman trapped in the industry for years recalls a Christmas in one of the many brothels of Soho, a night she was forced to sleep with 88 men. These are people’s loved ones; daughters are often bribed from their families rural farmhouses by recruiters who come bloating about job opportunities in the city. They promise a better life for their child and regular money sent back home. Without knowing better, parents agree; many unknowingly sending their daughters off into the sex industry.
The ‘master minds’ of the trade remain hidden behind layers of ‘middle men.’ It’s typically the low level offenders that are caught, once locked away another hungry person quickly comes in to take their place. This makes the business nearly indestructible.