Marta, Guadalupe, and the Others

Pray for us. Courtesy Wikipedia.
Pray for us. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Just as I wanted to tell you about Veronique, I want to tell you about Marta and Guadalupe.

If you’re new around here, I will have to first tell you that my father was a sex trafficker, that he trafficked me for sex from the time I was toddler me until I was a teenager. I’m sorry to have to share that with you, but there it is. Life is sometimes an ugly place. And I’ve seen a lot of the worst ugliness in it.

I was never alone. Just as Veronique performed with me in pornographic films when I was a young teenager, Marta and Guadelupe were there when I was wearing headbands and black patent leather shoes and learning how to skip rope.

We couldn’t speak. Having been smuggled into the country from Mexico or places southward, they didn’t speak English. I didn’t speak Spanish. But in the summers, when we solicited for men at the Travelodge pool, they swam with me. When the washer broke in the house my dad kept them in and he went to fix it himself (being that kind of handy guy), I played with them and their broken truck in the dirt in the yard. As an adult, it has made listening to languages I don’t understand a peculiar comfort. But it also overwhelms me with sadness to think of them.

They weren’t there for very long. A few weeks, maybe a few months. I remember Marta and Lupe the best, but there were others. Always others, as one set of girls disappeared and another took their place.

I have a vision of a warehouse in which girls like Marta and Lupe, dirty and hungry and crying, are kept in large cages, like dogs. Maybe that’s where I imagined they came from. Maybe it’s something I really saw. It would be a bizarre thing to have seen, but I’ve heard of stranger things.

But what it evokes for me is the immensity of the suffering of the girls smuggled into the country and then brutalized by men like my dad. It makes me aware of my own privilege. After all, I went to school. I was allowed contact with the outside world, which gave me other resources to draw upon beyond the depraved world of sex trafficking. I spoke the language of power in this country. And I escaped.

Did Marta? Did Lupe, with her long braid and quiet smile, even stand half a chance? I hope they did. I really do. I’m afraid they didn’t.

God, do you love us at all? Why do you allow us to do these things to one another? Where were you when we needed you? Where are you now?

14 thoughts on “Marta, Guadalupe, and the Others

  1. desilef May 26, 2013 / 7:43 am

    How can it even enter an adult’s mind that trafficking children is something that it’s possible to do? I think years ago, no one–except for perpetrators–even imagined this existed. Now we’re aware and I hope that means children will be protected and rescued and trafficking stopped, but I also worry that thoroughly aberrant people are also made aware of how easy it is to become a trafficker. How on earth is it possible that so many customers and potential customers are eager to participate in evil?

    • Ashana M May 26, 2013 / 7:50 am

      It is the scale of it that is baffling. But it’s also possible that customers from a fairly large geographic area cluster because word gets out that this area is a good one for getting what you want. Just as Thailand is a destination for pedophiles, the area where I grew up may have been a domestic destination for pedophiles.

      Criminal gangs are increasingly turning to sex trafficking as an income source. In addition to drug and gun sales, we are looking at the sale of human beings.

      • desilef May 26, 2013 / 8:01 am

        Yes, while I do think we need to change our drug laws, that won’t affect organized crime as they always know how to diversify and the move to human trafficking is just the lowest they can go.

      • Ashana M May 26, 2013 / 8:03 am

        I agree. There will always be something reprehensible to sell.

    • Ashana M May 26, 2013 / 7:53 am

      I should add that something similar seemed to be happening in another city pretty far away from me involving men I don’t think my father knew that were in the same cult we were, so there may have been a connection. Several of the men (all related) who attended our church had some degree of involvement in certain aspects of the trafficking, and one of them had lived in that area previously from what I hear.

  2. desilef May 26, 2013 / 8:04 am

    religion seems so often to go hand in hand with psychopathology. i don’t know whether it’s because people feel anointed and above human law or if it’s because there is so much repression and restriction that you can’t help but commit little sins and these are taken so seriously you might as well commit the big ones.

    • Ashana M May 26, 2013 / 8:06 am

      I think some people are attracted to religion for the same reason they harm others–grandiosity. Religiosity also provides the perfect cover. How would ever guess someone who attends church 3 times a week and talks earnestly about his relationship with Jesus is also selling little girls for sex? You don’t.

      • desilef May 26, 2013 / 8:11 am

        You nail it right there.

  3. Beautiful Life May 27, 2013 / 1:29 pm

    How did you ever break away, love? Outstanding post and comments.

    • Ashana M May 27, 2013 / 1:46 pm

      I had a lot of help. And I was pretty sure I would die if I didn’t. Thank you so much.

  4. Kelly May 28, 2013 / 7:28 am

    I have asked God the same questions. Where was God when I needed help?

    • Ashana M May 28, 2013 / 11:06 am

      I don’t think we will ever know the answer to that.

      • Kelly May 28, 2013 / 1:24 pm

        I agree.

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