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Brianna Shares Her Story of How She Got Pimped
July 28, 2015
By: Charmaine Santos
Edited by: Juliana Zhu, Esq.
Brianna was like any other high school student. She was a loving sister and daughter, a bubbly cheerleader, and a waitress at a diner in small town in Washington. Being a victim of trafficking never crossed her mind. A man in his mid-40s, Richard, often came in to the diner and conversed with Brianna. He asked her what types of boys she liked and found out she hoped to go to school in Seattle. Brianna thought he was just friendly, but Richard was actually a sex trafficker trying to discover what information he could use to bring her into the strip club and prostitution industry. A little after Brianna turned 18, her dream man that she described to Richard came into the diner. A handsome blonde football player dressed in designer clothes, Nick, flirted with Brianna. He invited her to visit him in Seattle and when she saw his Mercedes and Victorian house, she felt like she was dreaming. Brianna broke ties with her family when her family prohibited her from spending the night with Nick. He encouraged her to move into his spare room and attend college while doing dancing at clubs on the side.
Within hours, Nick took Brianna to get an entertainer’s license, helped choose her stripper’s outfit, and took her to a strip club. He warned her not to make eye contact with certain men. She later learned that this was to keep her from becoming the property of another pimp. After a couple of nights, Nick offered to take her on a trip to Arizona and Nevada because of her potential. However, Brianna probably would have been cut off from all of her friends and family, and disappeared into forced prostitution if she had went. She wanted to stay with Nick, but had to return her family’s car. She planned a ride back to Seattle with Evan, an old high school friend. Evan sensed danger when they spoke and informed Brianna’s parents. Evan, her parents, and former Congresswoman Linda Smith met Brianna at Evan’s house. Smith, founder and president of the national anti-trafficking organization Shared Hope, taught Brianna the common patterns and pick-up lines of sex traffickers. Brianna familiarized every line Nick had said to her. She was scared that Nick and Richard would try tracking her down.
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Today, about three years later, Brianna shares her story to try and fight sex trafficking. “It is a human right to know how these pimps work. I don’t want kids to feel scared when they learn about this. I want them to feel empowered,” she shared. Brianna helped make Chosen, a 20-minute film, for the purposes of educating middle and high school students. She said, “There is no stereotype of a girl in sex trafficking. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, if she’s white or black, fat or thin, a pimp can look at any girl and find a vulnerability that he can exploit. He might tell a girl that he will hurt her family if she runs. Or he might rape her and videotape it, and threaten to show it to her whole school.”
Charmaine Santos is a junior at the University of San Francisco pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Biology as well as minors in Chemistry and Health Studies. She volunteers alongside UCSF medical students at a student-run homeless clinic in San Francisco and is also an active volunteer with Operation Access. Charmaine is also a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.