Human trafficking is on the rise. Over 2 million children in global sex trade Someone becomes a victim every 30 seconds UN reports Western Europe is a … … primary destination It astounds me that not only does human trafficking exist on the earth today but there are actually more slaves than there have ever been before in the history of humanity. It’s almost incomprehensible when you think about it. Victims forced to service more than 40 men a day Often when you hear a statistic it can just seem like a number, not a person. I’ve heard it said that a million is just a statistic and until you meet the one. Well for me I met that one, Lillia. And all of a sudden, human trafficking was no longer an impersonal statistic. It became a person. It had a face, it had a name and most importantly, it suddenly had a voice. I’m Lillia. I grew up in a small town in Bulgaria. When I was 16, my father lost his job. Our family was struggling. We were starving. So I had to look for work. That is when I met Amelia. She told me that her cousin owned a hair salon in Greece and that she would get me a job there. It was my dream to become a hairdresser. Amelia arranged everything. I said goodbye to my family and boarded the plane to Greece. When I arrived in Greece, Amelia’s cousin picked me up from the airport. He brought me into an apartment. That is when the nightmare began.
[Amelia’s cousin was a trafficker] He closed the door to the apartment and then he turned around. He told me he did not own a hair salon. He owned a brothel. But he had a job for me. I refused. He hit me. Then he told me that he knew where my family live. And if I told anyone, if I did not work for him, if I tried to escape, he would kill my family. I cannot believe what people will do to one another just for money. Today the reality is that Lillia is one of 27 million people trapped in slavery. Her life is not her own. As a sex slave she is forced to toil in the shadows. She is hidden in plain sight. Day and night her frantic pleas for help often go unheard. She is the long lonely cry in the darkness that echoes across the earth twenty-seven million times. Lillia could be your sister, your friend, or perhaps even your daughter. Because of the A21 Campaign, girls like Lillia have truly found freedom, hope and restoration. The truth is, there are millions more crying out. I am asking, will you listen to their cry, and together, we can all be her freedom. Be Her Freedom Join The A21 Campaign (theA21campaign.org) Disclaimer: this story is based on actual events, however Lillia’s character has been changed for dramatic and privacy purposes.