Child Abuse - Child Slavery Exists

by Richie
(Location Undisclosed)


Darlene I appreciate what you are doing for the victims. Thank you for giving us a voice. I'd like to bring to light a child abuse atrocity that often goes overlooked. It is not so much my story personally that I wish to share, but rather that of an unspoken multitude.

I am a male survivor of a sex cult. There is a difference between prostitution and sex slavery and it's grim. Most people assume there is no sex slavery in the states, but they couldn't be more wrong. Children as young as infants are sold to or kidnapped by the traders and are forced into a lifetime of sex slavery. Some are from third world countries and are promised real work in the US. Some, like me, are sold by their own parents for (drug) money. Still others are runaways who are lured into the life of the underground by the companionship and the support. Once in though, death is usually the only way out. I speak in generalities because even after 15 years of freedom, the terror that was instilled in me since childhood lives on.

"Undergrounds" are exactly that - expansive underground bunkers. I have only seen two in my life, but I had heard from other boys that from Moscow to Milan they're all the same. There are cold concrete floors and walls and padlocked doors with bars. It is nothing short of a buried prison. I don't know how they got there or how to get to them, but I know as sure as I'm alive that they exist in greater numbers than Americans are ready to realize. It's not an image that most people can readily recall, but it is one that haunts me every waking moment of my life. Each tiny room is like the last, filled with 8 or so boys or girls and a soiled mattress or two. It's never more than 15C down there, so it's a permanent chill that lives in your bones. The smell is metallic from the blood we shed from the rape and beatings. It's eerily quiet, spare the sounds of soft whimpers or distant cries of agony. We have an unspoken bond with each other, but know the emotional hazards of getting attached to someone. Ironically, the ones who are brought in young or raised in the compound are the most fortunate. If you never see the light of day, you don't know what you're missing and you don't know how bad your situation really is. Being that I was brought in as a youngster, I had only a vague concept of how horrendous our suffering was until I got out. Before that I accepted the rape, the beatings, the deaths, the torture, as routine. Guards pick out one or two of us from a few rooms, clean us up, and present us in the grand room to the clients. From there those chosen go to the mattress rooms and earn our keep until the client's time expires. This is what makes sex slavery different from prostitution. There is no gain for us. We aren't given food, money, shelter, or affection for our services. Underground kids don't have the luxury of perusing the streets freely, flirting with the clientele and coming home to a gang of friends to huff glue and laugh. Additionally in my experience the men who visit undergrounds are more sadistic than men who simply pick up a street worker for a 30 minute turnabout. The age of the victims is also much different. Except in Cambodia or Russia it is nearly impossible to find a street worker under 12. At the underground however it was commonplace to have very young children performing services.

We were drugged, we were beaten, we were sold. We were sub-human. A commodity at best. And like any possession, when we are no longer of use we are gotten rid of, in one way or another. A lot are shipped overseas for manual labor or as privately owned laborers or escorts. For a very long time after graduating from the underground I was exclusively owned by a man who continued to pimp me out. In contrast to the underground though it was a welcome change. I'm not ashamed to say I enjoyed myself. The freedom was intoxicating. What I had done all my life anyway now came with some reward. The idea that I had a choice in the matter never crossed my mind. It was a foreign concept to me. I figured I was destined to be an escort my whole life, why not get something of it? I ran with a gang, we wore expensive brand names, loitered about, got in trouble together, enjoyed drugs and the nightlife. What more could one ask for?

Honestly I'm happier now than I've ever been. I won't pretend that I'm free from the memories, nightmares, flashbacks, scars, guilt, shame, or terror of knowing they could be anywhere, but I can't help but to be grateful to be out. I am one of the lucky ones and I won't squander my good fortune. I can't spare the children who remain in their suffering, but I refuse to live in silence, and I KNOW there are thousands more out there just like me. My hope is that by sharing my albeit vague story today I can help someone who has been part of the underground know that they are not alone.

Not by a long shot.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coachNote from Darlene: If I have not left a comment on your story, please understand that it is not personal; it's just that my hectic schedule no longer permits me to do so.

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How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life


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