Alice continues, “The next morning, I tried exiting the tunnel, but was slammed against the concrete wall and choked by an angry hand.  It was not my captors, but a crazy man who had been in the sewer with me for more hours than I wish to guess.  He was certain I was there to ‘steal his car.’  I successfully defended myself against this man.  I was injured but okay.  However, as I exited, I was greeted by a round of applause at my victory.  The ones cheering…were my new owners.

    “William had waited for me all night.

    “After the verbal abuse, the slaps, the branding, and things done to me I can’t say to you children, I eventually found myself once again sitting at the window I had jumped out of, this time bruised and with no soul, or so it felt.  I was officially the property of the likes of that pig, Yugo, and the boss, William.  Four months into my new career, the girls were so sweet and tried to reach out to me, but I refused to talk to anyone.  I didn’t feel worthy.  Alice was dead.  Avia was dead.  I was a nasty, rotting zombie, and who wants to talk to a corpse?  That’s how I felt.”

    The kids are holding up better than Alice had anticipated, and she has her husband Goloc holding her, but she feels the encouraging arm of Duplica slither around her shoulder, wishing to add to her comfort as she continues to tell about this chapter that should never have to be in anyone’s history.

    “Thank you, Lady Duplica.  The only thing I’d ever say to the girls, being social, was to occasionally ask Rachal her favorite subject in school.  When she finally commented that I always ask the same question, I simply reminded her that she always gives a different answer.  It was simple, but I enjoyed it, and I felt victorious when she finally admitted she hated school, except for lunch.  Of course, no victory lasts with William around.  With William around, I’d get beaten for even making eye contact.  He’d beat the other girls on my behalf if I broke a rule, even if I didn’t know I broke a rule.  I had to beg on my knees, endure punches and kicks, and say the most humiliating things about myself in hopes he would at least tell me what I did wrong so I wouldn’t do it again, but he just roared at me, ‘FIGURE IT OUT’ and stomped away.”

    Avia’s tale is only a small representation of the horrors of trafficking that happen all around the real world.  Even in the big cities and countries, this evil practice prevails, with men, women and children of all ages being sold and tricked into this world that often results in short, miserable lives.  The point of this story is to encourage you to research ways in which you can help, whether it be by better educating yourself on the subject of human trafficking or donating to reliable causes fighting against this, as well as avoiding destructive personal habits that financially aid the demand for more victims.  You younger readers would want to ask your pastor or responsible mentor for information so you don’t accidentally come across the wrong thing in your own search.  That said, I hope returning to Avia’s story doesn’t distract from the need for our participation in fighting such evil in our real world.

    “One year later, it was me,” Alice says with a quiver, “greeting the new girl, almost smiling when I asked, ‘Is this really your first day?’  Oh, how far I’d gone!  This new kid was Nelly, but they were calling her Angel.  As she told me her tale, I knew I was looking at myself in the mirror.  I was eighteen when they caught me, having been kidnapped and given to them by my new boyfriend.  Now, I beheld an underage little blonde thing having been kidnapped by her new love interest, not knowing what was going to be done to her, believing as I once did, that her father would come for her.  I was proud of myself for becoming a veteran among the girls, but shame filled my heart as I saw how heartless I’d become.

    “As Tamara tried to educate Nelly to avoid having William and Yugo force the information on her, something inside me had had its fill, and I spewed my displeasure at Tamara, scolding her for using her self-given name.  Her real name is Mary, but she changed it to Tamara like the name Tamar in the Bible.  We argued, Tamara pointing out she and Rachal were each sold into this life by their parents.  Nelly tried to make us stop arguing, but things shut down as it was time to go.  We were packed into the van and driven to our destination, even passing a routine traffic stop along the way.”

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