FAIR Girls Stories
FAIR Girls provides support and resources to help girls avoid and escape trafficking in communities throughout the world. Here are a few stories from our girls. Names have been changed to protect their identities.
Tiffany (Washington, D.C.)
Tiffany ran away from home at age 11. She met her first pimp only a few days later. Shortly afterward, her pimp traded her to another pimp who began to sell her online, primarily via a web site called Backpage.com. Tiffany told FAIR Girls staff that she can not remember the number of men she was forced to have sex with during her three years of victimization. In winter 2012, Tiffany was picked up by the police on truancy charges and sent to a detention facility. She suffers from depression, low self-esteem, sexually transmitted diseases, and years of lost education. She cannot return home to her family and most likely will have to go into foster care. Tiffany is a resilient 14-year-old today and hopes to someday be a yoga instructor.
Samantha (Washington, D.C.)
Samantha was first sold in chat rooms by her father when she was 12 years old. At 13, Samantha ran away from home, soon meeting her pimp whopretended to be her boyfriend. Samantha later told FAIR Girls that she felt that she was only good for sex and decided to just give up and do what he told her to do. Soon after, her pimp posted her on Backpage where her ads advertised her as being 23-years-old. After two years, Samantha was arrested at age 15 for prostitution charges and sent to a youth detention facility. After three months in detention for prostitution charges, FAIR Girls successfully advocated for Samantha to go to a therapeutic group home. She hopes to someday be a social worker.
Jasmine (Washington, D.C.)
At age 16, Jasmine had seen first hand the harsh world of commercial sexual exploitation. As a foster child with few friends, Jasmine felt lonely and unsure where her life would end up. One night, as she was walking to the foster group home, a man pulled up in his car and offered her money for sex. Jasmine said no, but he grabbed her, forced her into the car, and then forced her to have sex with up to 10 men a night. In a law enforcement sting, Jasmine was arrested as an adult, but after law enforcement called FAIR Girls, it was discovered she was an exploited child. Through FAIR Girls, Jasmine was able to find a place to stay and has benefited from the art therapy, social support, and income she gains from the JewelGirls program. She is looking forward to graduating high school and going to college. She is currently taking business education classes and hopes to own her own accounting firm in the future.
Angela (Chicago, IL)
Angela believed the older boy who offered her a ride to school really liked her. At 17, Angela never thought he would sell her on Craigslist, force her to have sex 10 times a night in hotel rooms in six cities across the United States, and beat her with belts and chains when she didn’t earn enough money. A local DC hospital called FAIR Fund when Angela escaped her trafficker and was found by a nurse. FAIR Girls helped Angela find immediate shelter, food, and worked to secure long term medical and legal support for her. One year later, Angela is enrolled in college, has a job, and lives in her own apartment.
Agnes (Kampala, Uganda)
Agnes has spent much of her young life trying to survive as a street child in Uganda. After her parents died from what she thinks was AIDS, she began to beg on the streets and was lured by a local woman into her house to work as a domestic helper. She was not allowed to go to school and never saw a penny of the money she earned. Agnes eventually ran away and was found by a local outreach team who had recently partnered with FAIR Girls to assist trafficked and high-risk girls. In May 2009, Agnes joined JewelGirls, where she learns alongside other girls to create handmade paper beads in the tradition of Ugandan art. Agnes now earns her own income through JewelGirls and wants to be self-sufficient and have her own family. She loves working with the color pink, attending the life-skills workshops, and works six hours per week on her art.
Marina (Moscow, Russia)
Marina had spent her entire life in a Russian orphange until she was pushed out at age 17. She had nowhere to go, and with no knowledge of how to take care of herself, find a job, or pay bills, Marina feared she would have no choice but to turn to prostitution to stay alive. Marina joined FAIR Girls’ Moscow-based program where she has learned job skills and strategies to stay safe from potential forms of human trafficking such as exploitative jobs and false marriages. Marina is an excellent jewelry designer and she loves working with black glass and red amber. Marina is currently enrolled in hairdressing school. She says she is saving the money she earns from JewelGirls to start her own hairdressing business.
Biljana (Belgrade, Serbia)
At 10 years old, Biljana’s mother sold her to traffickers who sexually exploited her until she was 16 years old. They moved Biljana from country to country, locking her in apartments and forcing her onto the streets with men often three times her age. One night, Biljana escaped her traffickers by running behind a house and hiding in a garden. A local family found her and helped her reach out to the local police in Montenegro who assisted her in finding a shelter. Soon after, Biljana came to Serbia where she was offered shelter and intensive support by FAIR Girls’ partner, ATINA. Biljana joined FAIR Girls’ JewelGirls program as one of the very first survivor participants in August 2007. Over the next two years, Biljana began to regain her faith in herself and make friends with the other girls in JewelGirls. She eventually used the income she gained from the JewelGirls program to help pay for her own apartment. In 2011, Biljana joined FAIR Girls as a survivor staff person. Biljana draws upon her experiences as a survivor of human trafficking to educate professionals on how to find and assist other young victims. Biljana is a passionate young woman and is a trained advocate in anti trafficking. She is also a jewelry design artist and mentor to other young girls at FAIR Girls and ATINA. Biljana believes no one deserves to become a victim of trafficking, and she continues to use her past experiences to advocate for the rights of Roma and runaway girls in Serbia.
Trisha (Washington, D.C.)
When she was 17, Trisha’s aunt invited her to come live with her in Washington, D.C. After leaving her hometown in the small Caribbean village where she had grown up, Trisha was taken to an area of the District where there were many fancy houses. Instead of being allowed to go to school as she was promised, Trisha was forced to work 18-hour days cleaning and caring for elderly people. Her aunt took all of her money and threatened her with beatings and deportation. After one year of forced domestic servitude and abuse, Trisha managed to run away after hearing about a local youth home that put her in touch with FAIR Girls. Trisha needed shelter, counseling, and legal support. She was very determined to better her life and be free from her aunt. Within days of coming to FAIR Girls, Trisha enrolled in math and English classes that would help her get a better job one day. She almost never misses a workshop and welcomes new girls into our JewelGirls program as if she is an older sister. She is a skilled jewelry designer and devoted writer. She hopes someday to have a job where she can help others the way that she says she has been helped.
Anya (Moscow, Russia)
Anya is 12 years old and was sent to live in a state shelter for trafficked children in Russia after authorities found her forced to beg on the streets. She came to the program so malnourished that many people thought she was only 8 or 9 years old – not 12. Her alcoholic mother had a history of neglecting and abusing Anya, and she refused to accept going back to live with her. After coming to the shelter, Anya quickly joined FAIR Girls’ program, JewelGirls, where she began to learn how to read, write, count, and express her talents in jewelry-making. In each of the weekly four-hour workshops, Anya receives individual care and attention and a chance to talk about her challenges and plan for her future now that she is free from her traffickers. Anya attends JewelGirls sales parties all over Moscow which is very exciting for her. In the spring, she visited the U.S. Embassy with the FAIR Girls team and decided she wants to learn English and become a teacher. Anya is full of hope for her future and loves to create very elaborate designs that represent her cheerful personality.