A teen sex trafficking victim has been jailed after she was arrested because she had nowhere to go. Known as “Lena,” she was one of the youngest inmates in the Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas. She lived with 24 other women in one single room.
Lena had no choice but to sleep in a metal bunk. With an oversized orange and jumpsuit every day, she was made to wear the same uniform as that of criminals who committed heinous crimes. The toilet in her cell was only attached to the wall, which gives her no privacy. However, if compared to what she has been through, her life inside prison would be better.
Lena is just one of the millions of people who were victimized by sex trafficking. Based on the Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking, there are about 700,000 to four million women, children and men who are trafficked annually, spawning over all global regions. This is not fixed statistics because the numbers vary depending on the organization reporting it, and logistics. For instance, UNICEF has reported more than one million children have been traded yearly.
According to Cosmopolitan, Lena said that she had felt trapped her entire life. She suffered from the hands of an abusive mother at home. She was forced to wear turtlenecks and baggy clothes to hide her bruises. She was also sold for sex by pimps when she ran away from home. She was arrested after she offered an undercover police oral sex for money
Health Crime in the News reported that traffickers typically lure foreign women to the U.S. with false promises of giving them employment. Jobs that were often promised to them include being waitresses, nannies, models, and factory workers. The Department of Health and Human Services have reported that sex trafficking preys were also baited by false marriage proposals turned into bondage situations.
Last year, British pedophile Paul Charles Wilkins was caught in an undercover sting in California. Under a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to taking pornographic images and was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.