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One Woman’s Tale Of Surviving Sex Trafficking

When we hear “victim,” we may think of victims of violent crime, domestic violence, child abuse, rape. Victims of sex trafficking and exploitation often suffer all those tragedies combined.

Sex trafficking is a subset of the larger problem of human trafficking, which President Obama spoke out against during the Clinton Global Health Initiative in September:

It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity.  It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric.  It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets.  It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.  I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.

Asia Graves, a victim of underage sex exploitation who was trafficked from Boston up and down the east coast, chose to speak out as well.  In 2010, she testified against her pimps, landing six men in jail. She now works as a case manager for FAIR Girls, which works against the exploitation of women.

Since 2010, Massachusetts has made strides to deal with human trafficking. In 2011, the state passed its first human trafficking bill, which went into effect in in February. In August, the Polaris Project, which rates all states on their laws combating human trafficking, named the Bay State the “Most Improved in 2012.”

When it comes to sex trafficking and exploitation, Suffolk County has been leading the state in its efforts to provide services for victims since 2005. One organization, My Life My Choice, focuses on adolescent girls vulnerable to exploitation. The co-founder and director, Lisa Goldblatt-Grace, joins us today to talk about what’s being done across Eastern Massachusetts to address the growing problem of underage sex trafficking.

Despite public and private efforts, Graves says there’s still much more to be done, and she too joins Radio Boston to share her harrowing tale from victim to survivor.



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  • Peggy Rambach

    I teach creative writing to both men and women at the Suffolk County House of Correction, so Asia’s story is familiar to me.  Writing has been a great means to empower the women at in the women’s program at the House of Correction (or South Bay) and they are eager to tell their stories in fiction, poetry, and memoir. One of my students wrapped up her sentence there last year and has not been back. Here is what she wrote to me in a letter she sent to my mailbox at the facility.

    writing to say … I am still writing and am
    looking forward to publishing something deep enough to inspire change in
    someone’s life and you have helped me in that and inspired me to push myself
    out of the street mentally. I once thought I had a wasted youth, until you
    showed me just how powerful pain can be in inspiring others.”

    I also want  to bring attention to the fact that the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office funds my program and that programs in the arts offer a significant opportunity for men and women who are incarcerated to heal and thus, to  find their way to better lives.

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