When I discuss it with others, I usually hear, “That is such a big problem in other countries.  They should really do something about it.”  Some may have read enough to know that people from other countries are brought to the United States to be sold.  They might say something like, “We should strengthen our borders and stop those smugglers.”  People are dumbfounded when I tell them that I have been trafficked.

I look like a typical European-American.  I grew up with white privilege.  I grew up in an upper-middle class family too, which has afforded me many privileges like a college education and a good financial start.  I lived in the suburbs of Washington D.C. (the infamous Northern Virginia traffic zone) in the 70’s and 80’s.  It was hardly the type of place where parents are afraid for the safety of their children.  I lived in a nice, four-bedroom, split-level home in Stafford.  I spent my early childhood outside riding my bike and playing in nature.  My mother was a librarian and a stay-at-home mom, and my father was a banker.  It doesn’t get much more “American pie” than that.

Unfortunately, I think that was the point.  The imperfect work hard to make everyone think they are perfect.  My parents worked very hard at the façade.  My mother was always bringing something new and trendy home from a store.  Sometimes, it was a new London Fog jacket for me or my sister.  Sometimes, it was the latest household accessory.  My father did the typical complaining about the spending, but he was busy playing drums in his band and socializing with all their friends.  They really did seem to have it all.

But they were hiding something … a dark secret.  It was the kind of secret that nobody noticed because nobody wanted to notice.  Nobody wanted to face the truth.  It was too messy.  It was much easier to look the other way and pretend everything was fine.  The secret was my father’s addiction.  No … not the addiction to alcohol.  That was just a primer.  My father had an addiction to sex.  And unfortunately, his preference was young girls … very young girls.  It started with me and my sister.  When that did not satiate the addiction, he moved on to his friends’ children.  After that, he started to pay for trafficked girls from a local pimp.  But that costs money.  It can be hard to feed an expensive addiction on a banker’s salary.  There was a need to supplement his income, and being the clever man that he was, he figured out how to do just that.  If he was willing to pay for other girls, men would certainly be willing to pay for me.  And that is how my father became my pimp.