We identified an at-risk 16-year-old girl, whom we will call “V,” from a small village in Southeast Asia.
“V” met a young man her age on Facebook, and after some interaction with him online, the man swiftly became her “boyfriend.” As we’ve shared in the Daily Intelligence Brief before, social media is an easy place for predators to locate and coerce trafficking victims.
The teen’s family was very poor, so in order to help the family make ends meet, “V” lived with her grandmother, pulling potatoes at a nearby local farm.
One day, a supposed friend of “V’s” led her to the local marketplace in her village. Something was off. “V” noticed a few young men staring at her. Their faces looked familiar, as “V” realized that a few months earlier, around the time she connected with her online “boyfriend,” these men had sent her friend requests on Facebook.
Later that same night, “V’s” Facebook “boyfriend” messaged her and asked if she and her friend could come pick up some special desserts he had for them.
They agreed on a meeting place, so “V” and her friend headed out to meet her “boyfriend” and pick up their treats. While she sat awaiting the arrival of her mystery online “boyfriend,” “V’s” friend suddenly and inexplicably told her, “I have to go home real quick and tell my mom something. You wait here and then bring the snack home for us.”
After “V’s” friend was out of sight, four shirtless men arrived, seemingly out of nowhere, along with “V’s” Facebook “boyfriend.” “V” quickly surmised that these were the same young men staring at her in the market earlier.
The men seized “V,” restraining and smothering her as she tried to scream. The men tore her clothes off and held her down. And then, each of the four ruthless perpetrators took turns raping her.
Throughout the attack, “V” told us her rapists said horrible things such as, “I’m done! Throw it to the next one.” The biggest of the men threatened her, demanding, “If you ever say anything or don’t obey, I’ll kill you!”
After a series of circumstances that followed the attack, “V” found herself being forced to live with this Facebook “boyfriend.” A short time later, “V” began throwing up a lot. Before long, she discovered she was pregnant.
“V” said, “I was pregnant; I was hungry; I asked for money for food, but they wouldn’t give me any. I had to eat things that grew around his house.”
Although horrific to hear, it’s important that our readers understand that babies born into the trafficking world in Southeast Asia often end up as sex toys, begging props or simply body parts for the underground medical market.
“V” desperately wanted a way out of her situation. The brave teen courageously reached out to a local organization for help.
ATP, along with our regional partners, organized an extraction for “V.” These can often be dangerous operations, but with your prayers and support, we are able to work to save victims of these heinous crimes.
“V” is now living at our safe house in Southeast Asia. Sadly, “V” lost her baby to a miscarriage. ATP is currently helping “V” deal with the trauma she’s gone through as a result of these vicious monsters.
“V” has dreamed of studying cosmetology. We are helping make the dream a reality. While working with counselors to process her trauma and prepare for the upcoming trial, “V” is also studying cosmetology at the safe house. This not only offers respite from the difficult work she’s doing with the therapist, but it gives “V” hope for a brighter future.
Now ATP is working to ensure these traffickers and rapists end up behind bars. We are asking for prayers for “V” and for our team on the ground. Thank you for your continued support.
To learn more about what ATP is doing to help victims of trafficking and trauma, check out our website and continue to read our ATP Spotlight series.