Just in time for the Super Bowl in Dallas comes this important campaign. This article was brought to my attention by Shared Hope International, which I support, and was originally posted on the End Human Trafficking blog by Amanda Kloer.
A.H. was trafficked to Dallas/Ft. Worth and forced into prostitution when she was just a teen. Like many other girls, she was beaten, raped, and enslaved not far from Dallas Cowboys stadium, where the 2011 Super Bowl will be held. To fight back against sex trafficking in Dallas and during major events like the Super Bowl, A.H. has written an open letter to the 2011 Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL, asking them to endorse the I’m Not Buying It campaign. Will you help support her?
Here's A.H.'s letter, in full:
Dear Super Bowl Host Committee & National Football League,
My name is A.H. and I’m a survivor of sex trafficking. I’m not a big football fan, but I’ll never forget my first trip to Dallas/Fort Worth several years ago. It was 2006 when I was dragged there against my will by a pimp. I was forced to dance, strip and sell sex (along with five other young girls) for over a month while he pocketed the cash ($1,000-$3,000/night from each girl) and planned our next gig. I was trapped in a life I never wanted without any hope of escape.
You might be shocked to know that I come from an upstanding, supportive and loving family. I’ve been an excellent student my whole life, earning a scholarship to college. I had dreams, ambitions and the courage to make them happen. Everything changed the day I met the man who would later become my pimp. He was intelligent, attractive and seemed to genuinely care about me. When I lost my scholarship due to an injury, he offered to help me and I believed he would. As soon as I realized what he had in mind, I tried to leave. He grabbed me by the neck, threw me down and almost choked the life out of me. When he threatened to hurt my family if I didn’t cooperate, I knew I was trapped.
This nightmare was my life for over a year. During that time, we traveled to several states where I was sold at nightclubs, bars, and parties -- fulfilling a demand for sex nationwide. He was always there, always watching. If I refused to work, I was beaten and tortured.
We spent an entire month in Dallas/Fort Worth, where my pimp said the “real money” was. We were all young (some as young as 14-years-old) and that’s what the men wanted. No one asked if we were being forced to work, or if we enjoyed it. No one cared. While we were being sold for sex every night, our pimp was recruiting other local girls – from the Galleria, the clubs, concerts, and even McDonald’s.
I lived in fear every day, hoping I’d survive to see the next. It wasn’t until I heard him loading his gun to kill me that I finally mustered the courage to escape. Today, I’m a survivor. I share my story with you in the hopes that you’ll realize sex trafficking is real. It happens to young girls across America every day – girls as young as 13. With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, you have a choice to help stop it. Dallas/Fort Worth will soon become the nation’s biggest party – and every pimp’s center for business.
Please join me, Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff, and 65,000+ fans who’ve signed the Change.org petition in taking a stand against the exploitation of women and children during the Super Bowl. Every victim deserves the chance to become a survivor. And every young girl deserves to be protected and live a life free from slavery and exploitation.
I’m asking you to endorse the I’m Not Buying It campaign. By placing posters and billboards in and around the stadium you can deter men from engaging in the commercial sex market and save the lives of countless victims. You can make a difference – please, what would you do if it was your daughter?
A.H., Survivor of Sex Trafficking
A.H. was provided support and assistance through the anti-trafficking organization Courtney’s House, and her letter is supported by Courtney's House and Shared Hope International. You can check out the I'm Not Buying It campaign video, starring Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff, below. You can also support A.H. and the many other trafficking survivors who have been sold in Dallas/Ft. Worth by joining the campaign to fight sex trafficking at the Super Bowl.