After my release from federal prison I attempted to work a job and do right but with the distractions of the streets and my desire to catch up to my friends I was lured back into the game. It was easy for me to jump right back in. It was a lifestyle that I had known all to well and could easily get money being involved in. Why not? When I was finally burnt out of this illusion called the “Game” I had woke up to the realities of the trap that I too was in. A trap that many people were starting to wake up to or had already woke up to. Many of us started to make our exit and many had already stopped for many reasons. Death and incarceration were just two of the pitfalls that we came to know as a result of the game.
1997 to 2010 is the largest US domestic human sex trafficking epidemic time period to date. Although many may say that it’s bigger than ever currently. This is totally a false narrative. It only appears to be at an all time high now because average people are aware of it now. It’s become a heavily talked about topic. People are looking for it now. Please do not get it confused. Law enforcement has been aware what was going on and was aware when my peers were deeply involved. They just didn’t care. If you were not selling drugs or gang banging they didn’t want you.
Last year in 2017 two more of my best friends died. One to an overdose and the other was murdered on the blade in Texas. They were the last two of my friends that were still trapped in the life. Both barely hanging on and had no clue of anything else to do with their life. They had been in the game since they were kids and had no belief that they could do anything else with their lives. Out of my 7 core best friends in my clique there are only 3 of us left alive. One of the three has become a severe alcoholic and walks around town like a zombie which really leaves myself and one other. This all leads me back to the question. Am I a survivor of human sex trafficking? To first answer this question I searched Webster’s definition of what a survivor was and it reads;
- To remain alive or in existence : Live on
- To continue to function and prosper despite
You may not agree with the fact that I believe that I am a “Survivor” and that’s ok. We are all entitled to our opinions. From where I stand, my experiences, and my neighborhood I am not only a survivor of the largest pimping and prostitution epidemic but of drug addiction, gangs, incarceration and many of the other plagues that have affected impoverished communities throughout America. I’m sitting here at the edge of the pool at 37 years old looking at my arm tattooed with the names of my many lost friends. Realizing more than ever how blessed I am to be able to use my story and experiences to prevent others from going down the path we chose. Feeling FORCED by a society that didn’t see the value in us to provide adequate education, opportunities, and resources to our community. DEFRAUDED into thinking that we were not as valuable as the rest of society, and COERCED into believing that our only option other than sports, gang banging, and drugs was pimping and prostitution.
Regardless of how you feel I’m taking my dive into the water of liberation. I am more than just a survivor. I am a Survivor leader!