The light behind my eyes has died

A poem about child trafficking for sexual exploitation

In every country of the world, there are thousands of children subject to domestic and international human trafficking for sexual exploitation. All the cases mentioned in this poem are based on true stories. Their childhoods have gone. Some never had one at all.

By Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop

24 January 2014

This poem was first published in the February 2014 issue of Live Encounters Magazine

Give Him Hope, painting by Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop

Give Him Hope, painting by Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop

Risk factors collide
I live in the Philippines
My parents are poor
Technology is cheap and makes crime pay

A local family has made their home a cybersex den
I get taken there, day in day out
At times to suit wealthy overseas customers
They pay $56 a minute to see me abused online

I am seven years old
My mother tells me to remove my clothes
A man on the screen tells me to spread my legs
I am scared
My life has become a little slice of hell

Sometimes my parents get paid twice
By a man who comes to abuse me in person
And by the webcam viewers
He touches me, forces me to touch him
I’m live online, but dead inside

My childhood has gone, I am a carcass
I am a child with hollowed out eyes

Risk factors collide
I live in Bangladesh
I was born in a brothel
My mother was sold there for $300
She was forced to work free for years

One after another they come
Some with videos on their phone showing sexual torture
Asking “find me a girl who will do this”

I am forced to take steroids
To fatten me up
Make me more attractive to my rapists
I am unlikely ever to live outside this brothel

And even if I do
The effects of the abuse and the steroids will stay with me
Some have died
Some have kidney disease, skin rashes, high blood pressure, PTSD

My childhood has gone, I am a carcass
I am a child with hollowed out eyes

A Child With No Childhood, by Poppy Harrop age 6

A Child With No Childhood, by Poppy Harrop age 6

Risk factors collide
I live in the UK
My step father hated me
My mother, an alcoholic, handed me over to state care
There I became prey to a child prostitution ring

I sit on a bench outside the men’s toilets
In a large city centre park
I laugh with my mates as we wait for punters
We are used to this life now

It buys us cigarettes and DVDs
The authorities can’t do anything
I go through the motions most of the time
I’m a young lad with bravado

But sometimes it gets tough
And I bleed from men too violent for my young flesh

My childhood has gone, I am a carcass
I am a child with hollowed out eyes

Risk factors collide
I live in Mexico
My family sent me to work as a domestic in the USA
Hoping for a better life for me
They paid a middle man

But the middle man was a sex trafficker
As soon as I am away from my parents
He rapes me
It is part of the drill
For child sex slaves to be broken by their captors

When I arrive in the US
Another man visits
Not for sex
But to remove my top front teeth
So I don’t hurt the customers
When they force themselves into my too-small mouth

My childhood has gone, I am a carcass
I am a child with hollowed out eyes

Risk factors collide
I live in Ghana
I am a young girl
Bonded to a priest of a local shrine
I will be his domestic and sexual slave for life
Trokosi is the name of this traditional practise

I am appeasing the gods for an offense
Committed by a member of my family
But what offense could be worse than
The lifelong rape of an incarcerated child

My childhood has gone, I am a carcass
I am a child with hollowed out eyes

Risk factors collide
I am a baby boy from Russia
Trafficking for inter-country adoption is rife
Very few of us are orphans, as it is claimed

I am sold to a couple in Australia
Before I can talk, I have appeared in hard core pornography
My adoptive parents run a paedophile ring

All I know is sexual abuse
I was factory-farmed into adult depravity
And a world of confusion and despair

The light behind my eyes has died
If my childhood has already passed
Am I an adult at 18 months old?

Liberty & Humanity

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