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Sold for sex at 5 years old

6. Juni 2011 von guru

Sold for sex at 5 years old

Before she became a teenager Gray doesn’t remember the year she contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Between 12 and 13 years old, she tried to kill herself for the first time. She developed an eating disorder as a coping mechanism and tried again to commit suicide.

Gray remembers money changing hands between her trafficker and the criminals here in Kentucky and elsewhere who paid to have sex with her as a child.

Gray is one of thousands of human trafficking survivors in the country. Since 2008, 160 victims of human trafficking have been identified in Kentucky. Of those, 94 were trafficked as children, and the youngest was a 2 month old. There were 113 cases of sex trafficking.

In 2007, the Kentucky legislature passed laws making human trafficking a crime in Kentucky, and in 2013 passed theHuman Trafficking Victims Rights Act. This year, state legislators passed Senate Bill 184 which allows trafficking victims to use that status as their defense for committing crimes they were forced into committing. It also allows victims of trafficking to have their criminal records expunged if they were charged with crimes while being trafficked. But experts agree there is still more work to be done.

Gray’s trafficker gave her attention as the »bait.« He bought her clothes and took her out to eat to develop a bond between them.

»It was creating that bond, and that’s what often happens between a trafficker and the victim. That is often what happens because it makes it harder for a victim to escape or want to get away because that cheap jerseys person has this bond with his victim,« Gray said. »You get that attention. You get that quote, unquote love. From the perspective of today I see that was extremely unhealthy, but when you are infused in that violence, it becomes foggy.

»I was really, really young when it began. It happened before my brain was fully developed. I didn’t have a complete adult perspective,« she said.

After the attention and the gifts came the threats of what would happen if she told anyone. Her family would suffer harm. Her pets would be hurt.

»One of the biggest threats is he brainwashed me into believing that I was just as much a part of what was being done to me so I felt guilty and ashamed and didn’t want to ever say anything because I thought I would be the one that would get in trouble,« Gray said.

Gray didn’t question if she was a crime victim until about nine years into her abuse.

»I never identified as a victim, not until around 14,« she said. »I still didn’t identify as one, but around 14, it was taking its psychological toll on me. I started seeing more in the media about child abuse, and I started questioning and connecting the dots but still not identifying as a victim.

»I started wondering if that’s what was happening to me,« she said. That’s when she first disclosed to a health care provider what was going on in her life. The abuse lessened for a while after she first disclosed it, but it continued until she broke free from her slave trader at 18 years old.

»I physically became free at 18,« Gray said. »But the psychological effects of trauma doesn’t end when the physical trauma ends. It can be long lasting. In my case it has been.«Gray was diagnosed http://www.cheapjerseys11.com/ with post traumatic stress disorder.

Her trafficker has never been charged. A commonwealth’s attorney and police detectives wanted to go after the man who traded Gray’s innocence for money but she said at the time she was too traumatized to talk about the years of abuse. »I was extremely fearful. I was told time and time again if I said anything, I would go to jail. I felt guilty, and I wouldn’t talk that much,« Gray said.

Now that Gray is a grown woman living on her own, she is speaking out and educating others about human trafficking. Her first public speaking engagement was during a congressional briefing in Washington in January about combatting modern day slavery.

»I’m leap years away from where I was at 14 or even 18. It still affects me to this day. I believe it always will, but I am grounded. I have the confidence with myself. I don’t let what happened to me have me. I know it was done to me. I know it wasn’t my fault. I’ve risen above the violence,« Gray said.

Gray is »proud« of what Kentucky has done so far to combat trafficking. But she and others see a need to do so much more.

Kentucky has addressed the demand side of the supply/demand equation in child sex trafficking, but some say not enough.

»The 2013 Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act did include tougher consequences for both those who sell and buy victims of trafficking,« saidRep.

»In both labor and sex trafficking, consumers and the public need to be aware of the consequences of their choices,« Overly said. »The demand for cheap goods and services, and the demand for commercial sex, has dire consequences on the well being of children and families in our communities and abroad.

»Without the demand side of human trafficking being addressed, there exists the possibility of a never ending cycle of victimization. And, unlike drug trafficking, in which a drug can only be sold and used once, a human being can be bought and sold again and again.

»Those who traffic adults and children may be charged with the crime of human trafficking, while those who buy or obtain a victim for (the) purpose of forced labor or commercial sex may be charged with the crime of promotion of human trafficking. Conviction under both human trafficking and promotion of human trafficking now carries a $10,000 fine as well as jail time.

»After the passage of (House Bill) 3, assets of the convicted trafficker or buyer may be seized and forfeited.

»The challenge we face is training law enforcement, prosecutors and judges to understand that the buyers as well as the sellers may be charged under our human trafficking laws,« Overly said.

Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron earlier this year prosecuted the county’s only state level human trafficking case to date, a woman who was charging men to have sex with her 13 year old relative. She received a 20 year sentence. Unlike some other cases across the state, Cohron also prosecuted the men who paid to have sex with the underage girl. Those men also received 20 year sentences.

»That’s an example of what we should be doing,« saidMarissa Castellanos, human trafficking program manager at Catholic Charities of Louisville. »In so many cases that wouldn’t happen. It’s really substantial that folks in Bowling Green made those charges and they stuck. I think that is something that we will have to continue working on.«

Under Kentucky law, a person accused of sex with a minor can claim in his or her courtroom defense that he or she didn’t know the victim was underage.

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