Imagine you’re promised a fairy tale; yet thrust into a nightmare.
Alone, vulnerable and with no foundational support, Amy Andrews was looking to escape her current life and told the story of how it all went wrong at the Anti-Human Trafficking awareness event last Tuesday, May 7 in the Santos Manuel Student Union.
She described her encounter with human trafficking by being taken at a party when she was 12 years old. Two men approached her and asked if she wanted to come with them to Los Angeles.
Since she believed there was nothing keeping her in Palm Springs, she went after the life she was promised by the two men.
“[It] starts off with a fantasy love life that you never got because you were abused,” said Andrews.
She was lured into a life of prostitution and tortured mentally, physically and emotionally.
She often went without food for days.
She cannot count the times she was abused or how many men she had sex with.
“I was able to go to some other place in my mind and forget it,” said Andrews.
One thing that clearly stands out in her mind was the constant thoughts ofescape.
Her captives looked no different than an average person on the street, so it was going to be hard to convince somebody that she had been forced into prostitution.
As Andrews rememebered her expereinces she fought hard to hold back her tears continuing with her story.
She remembers it was a Sunday because she was listening to gospel music on K-Day’s radio station while her pimps were getting her something to eat.
“I’ve got to get out of here,” Andrews thought.
She got out of the car and ran to the doorstep of a nearby house. An older woman answered the door and asked if there was anybody that Andrews would like to call.
Unbeknownst to Andrews, the woman was what FBI agent Michael Brown referred to as a “bottom bitch.” This refers to a women who has, “worked her way up” and is considered “overused” on the street yet continues to be involved with human trafficking.
For some reason Andrews wanted to call her mother, who hadn’t been a very prominent figure in her life because she was always sending Andrews in and out of foster care.
“I hoped that maybe once in my mother’s life she would make a good decision,” said Andrews.
Deep down Andrews had a cold feeling. The phone was taken away from her and the older lady had somehow convinced Andrews’ mother that a car would be coming to take her home. Though Andrews didn’t say anything, she knew that was a lie.
A car did come and as Andrews described the man driving it was a typical pimp, an old school pimp.
“He even had the fuzzy dice things on the mirror,” Andrews said.
The pimp said he had to go to Las Vegas for a meeting and that he would take Andrews home afterward.
Andrews was walking through the Circus Circus hotel hoping that somebody would notice this older pimp-looking man with a young girl, but nobody said a word.
The pimp and Andrews were checked into a hotel room where the man then got violent she said.
When the pimp left the room that’s when Andrews had the perfect opportunity to escape.
Finally free, she ran to the nearest security guard telling him what happened.
“He laughed and said that’s what happens to runaways,” said Andrews.
She was checked into a Las Vegas Juvenile Hall where about 80 percent of the girls were there for prostitution, as if it “was an accepted culture.”
Andrews did not speak a word about her nightmare for 20 years once she was released from Juvenile Hall.
Human trafficking hits much closer to home than we would like to think.
Baseline Avenue in Fontana is the “trap” according to Agent Brown who works closely with sex trafficking cases. It is located just 14 miles away from CSUSB.
“72 percent of cases that are human trafficking involve American citizens,” said Daphne Phung founder of California Against Slavery.
Brown says the average age for a person who is trafficked is 12 to 14-years-old.
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) was responsible for bringing this Anti-Human Trafficking awareness event to campus.
“This is an issue that is very important and I feel like a lot of people don’t know about [human trafficking],” said student Kirsten Wilson. “I feel like we’re kind of in a bubble so [we brought this event] to let [others] know that there’s stuff going on outside of [our] world.”
For student Jacob Fryberger the WRC event cleared up some questions he had about the stereotypes behind pimping.
“I thought it was very informative,” said Fryberger. “You know how it’s going around in cities right now and maybe not a lot of people recognize [it].”
To get involved in combating human trafficking, join the Polaris Project and call 888-373-7888 or visit their website at polarisproject.org.