He Was My Hitler

I wanted to talk a little bit about what varying types of human trafficking look like. This keeps coming to mind, because I have a lot of friends and family that want to use the term “forced prostitution” as opposed to “human trafficking” or believe that the way I was trafficked (coerced, defrauded then abused) might not consist of “trafficking” because it may have not been as extreme as a kidnapped child. While I can see everyone’s perspective, Im hoping this blog will break some of those myths. 

Let me start with an analogy I believe the Lord gave me the other day for this very topic: 

Pregnancy: Labor & Delivery.

{maybe my mind goes here because Im pregnant… thats ok. Bear with me, I’ll use a “guys” analogy too}

We’ve all seen the movies where the lady’s water breaks at home, she starts panting from the wreathing pain of contractions. Next, the lady is being wheeled into Emergency by the presumed husband, breathing frantically, while the nurse helps rush her up to the maternity ward, hee hee hoo, RIGHT? 

Ok, so here’s my analogy: I am pregnant with baby #4… like REALLY pregnant, could go into labor any day. All of my deliveries thus far, have been very different and I’m not sure if any have been exactly like the typical movie scene I just gave above. 

  • 1st baby: Induced, epidural went in sideways, leaving me to feel half of all that was going on. No fun. 
  • 2nd Baby: similar to movie, water broke one morning, but I chose to labor at home as long as I could with our doula until it was time, then we rushed into ER in a wheelchair. Yes, breathing franticly would be minimal compared to how I felt or acted. 
  • 3rd baby: prelabor for a week, finally just went in to maternity ward (who needs ER anyway) and the doctor broke my water for me, started the epidural right away (cause I was not doing baby #2 experience again) and the baby came out in 4 hours, no pain, napped through it- YES!! 
  • 4th baby: prelabor once again, painful contractions every 5-10 minutes but no progression. So, I wait… doctor hasn’t offered to break my water yet, we’re all hoping it happens on it’s own apparently… 

Does this mean that because only 1 of my deliveries matched the movie scene that I only had one baby? 

Are we basing what media has portrayed as our guiding stick for our own opinions and stigmas?

I mean really? To me, when people question or want to label human trafficking as something different simply because it doesn’t fit in their stereotypical “idea” of what it should look like, it seems just as ludicrous as the statement above. 

The United Nations definition of human trafficking is to use FORCE, FRAUD, or COERCION. What does coercion and fraud look like in a person’s life prior to being forced into exploitation? Why do people think it always has to be kidnapping or handcuffed to a bed? If the law defines various types of trafficking as other forms than just force, then why don’t we look at examples of those types of delivery, I mean trafficking too? 

Ok, so… here’s my “MAN” analogy – I say that in jest, don’t send me any sexist hate mail, ok? I call it a man’s analogy because it’s about war as opposed to child birth. 

In November, I visited the Washington, DC Holocaust Museum… CHANGED MY LIFE!!! I started taking notes while walking because pictures weren’t allowed (over time flash can ruin items apparently). 

Here was one analogy that came to mind while reading one paper that hung on the museum wall: 

“In 1932 the President of Germany heard about Hitler and the Nazi party that was rising up. After receiving advice from his council, he offered to take Hitler under him, believing that he’d be easier to monitor and control if they had him close. Within one year, Hitler was appointed to Chancellor.” So much for that idea, huh president?

So here is something for you to chew on… 

If the President of Germany, a smart, adult, intelligent man can be manipulated and coerced within one year, into giving control to a man that ruined a nation of people, how is it “we” can’t understand how one man can use coercion to manipulate and control one vulnerable young woman? You can understand and believe the history of the Nazi party, yet refuse to believe that this type of coercion, fraud and force could convince a girl without handcuffs to sell herself? A girl that is already vulnerable, promiscuous, possibly abused, etc? 

  • Was I handcuffed to a bed? No 
  • Was I kidnapped? No 
  • Could I have walked away at any time? uh.. sometimes, yes. 
  • Was I beaten? Constantly 
  • Was I coerced? I could circle 30 out of 40 on the coercion list
  • Did I believe at first he was my boyfriend? Yes, hence “fraud” 

I was the president of Germany and he was my Hitler. I was the labor & delivery that isn’t shown on movies. I was still trafficked, and yes it may not fit in a nice, neat little box to be labeled, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t trafficking. Otherwise, the FBI wouldn’t have raided our home. Had we talked, our trafficker would be in prison, probably serving a life sentence. But we were all too afraid… and today he walks amongst us. 

Does calling my situation trafficking negate or diminish what a 7 year old girl sold in Cambodia by her parents went through? God, I hope not! It is just different. Different country, different culture, different buyers, different sellers, just different. Does me getting my water broke by the doctor make my labor and my child any less because I wasn’t rushed in on a wheelchair after it broke on it’s own? 

 I know the analogy is simple, maybe too simple, but I hope it makes anyone who questions what situations can be constituted as “trafficking”, actually think before they jump on the personal judgement band wagon. 

There were three other women in the home I was trafficked in, after we all had gotten out, one told me this:

He beat you the most because you always had a spirit that couldn’t be broken.” 

During Hitler’s reign, there were Jews who simply accepted the fate that had been set before them. After growing up hearing they were no-good, the books in schools written about them, “poisonous mushrooms”, shops and stores their families owned boycotted and eventually vandalized, watching the culture pick and choose hair color and eye color and measure their noses with devices. After all of that, when the train came to pick them up, some didn’t fight, some went simply accepting what they had been told about themselves by the culture around them. They too believed what they had been taught. 

…And then there were others. Others who saw what was happening was wrong and even though they were too weak to fight by themselves, took the beatings and waited for the time to change. They had spirits that couldn’t be broken. 

Harriet Tubman said it best, “I freed a thousand slaves and could have freed a thousand more if only they had known they were slaves.” 

Lets join together as people who are adamant about human rights; let’s join together and show the various forms of human trafficking so that some victims can identify themselves as slaves and not simply accept the fate that is before them.