*** THIS STORY COMES WITH A HEAVY TRIGGER WARNING ***
I grew up in a very religious household. I went to a private school, church was mandatory every Sunday, and bible study was every Wednesday. From the outside life looked great. In school I had A honours and would always get comments on how polite and helpful I was. Nobody knew what was really going on. My mom was never around as she worked full time until she got very sick, so my dad looked after my sister and I whenever he was around. He liked to disappear for days at a time saying that he had to go away for work; these were the days my sister and I enjoyed the most.
The abuse started before I can even remember. My dad would do all that he could to install fear in me. Screaming, chasing me with a belt, hitting, and burning me. I learned from a very young age that he was not safe, that I should fear him, and do whatever he tells me or else I would be punished.
In the beginning my dad would “test” me to see how obedient I was. He would get me to do small things like go to a client’s door by myself to collect money, or he would ask me to keep a small secret. If I did these things I would be rewarded with money, or something I’d asked for. Each time, these tests would get worse and worse. By the time he knew he could trust me to keep these secrets I was 7 years old. He secretly bought me my first cell phone which I had to keep from my mom and sister.. just so he could talk to me. He made me model my outfit of the day every day I went to “work” with him to make sure it was “appropriate”.
My dad would threaten to kill my mom and sister if I said anything. They said they would torment my first born, take them to traffic as well, and kill them when they were finished with them. They’d burn my house down and lock me in it.
When I was 9 I got a microchip, the size of a grain of rice, put into my neck. It is not visible but if you press lightly you can feel the shape of it. To this day I do still have it as I haven’t trusted any professionals to get it removed.
Fear of police
Since I could talk, I was always told by my dad that anyone who wears a uniform is not safe. We would practice hiding in the car when we saw any officers drive by. If one tried to talk to me I would have to say “stranger danger” and walk away. He told me that if I ever talked to one I would not be alive the next day and I would never see my mom ever again.
On a typical day… I would go with my dad to “work”. He would tell my mom and sister that we were going to go do deliveries, and that I had to learn the “family business”. This did not seem unusual, so my mom and sister did not question it. My dad would tell me all this “work” was “backed by religion” according to my dad, and it was “something God required of us”.
The first time I was sold was at a popular Casino in Coquitlam. I was 7 years old and a man in his late 50’s “rented me”. I did not know what to do and I did not understand what was happening. All I knew was whatever was happening hurt and it needed to stop. The man was much larger than me, so I had no control. I dissociated and looked out the window until it was over. At the end, the man spit on me and hit me, then left me laying there.
I couldn’t say anything at all afterwards; the fear manipulation had worked – so my dad knew that he could trust me. I went to parties, clubs, and private homes with him. I was drugged, beat up, used, and then left. In neighbourhoods where you could hear kids laughing and playing, I was inside a nearby home, being r*ped by old men. By the time I turned 15, my dad had made over 6 figures using my body. I’d been pregnant 3 times by that point. I was underaged, I couldn’t say word about it, which resulted in illegal abortions.
One of the last parties I had to ‘work’ at was in Langley near 200th St at a pool party. The owner of the house owns a business in Abbotsford. I was 14 years old, and sitting at one of the lounge tables on the back patio. The guy would bring me a new drink every 15 minutes saying that I need to try his “new cocktail he just discovered” thinking I would forget he said the same thing 15 minutes prior. I became pretty good at the whole social drinking and luckily sat near the grass. As I talked to random people I slowly poured the drinks into the grass so that they thought I drank them.
After about 2 hours I got told to go put on the outfit they set aside for me in the bedroom. I went upstairs and saw that it was a bikini. I locked myself in the room for about 20 minutes hoping that they would forget their request. I went back downstairs. As soon as I walked out they knew I didn’t obey them. I was spit on, grabbed, and yelled at. I was thrown over the homeowners shoulder and was brought upstairs. His wife was drunk outside in the pool. He pulled out a needle and stabbed it into my arm. I remember the room fading. I woke up with my shorts around my ankles and no shirt on. Nobody was left in the room. I was dizzy.. and hit with fear. I cleaned myself off and put my clothes back on. I could hardly walk due to the pain.
Once I got outside I noticed my dad was observing everything. He was completely drunk. It started to get dark outside and we had an hour drive ahead of us. My dad made his way to the truck but couldn’t walk in a straight line. He yelled at me for calling him out on it. While driving home he passed out behind the wheel. I grabbed it and had to steer the truck to the Tim Hortons on 200th st while telling him when to gas and brake. I bought him coffee and a bagel so he could drive home. I couldn’t call anyone due to the fear he instilled in me about officers so I did what I needed to stay safe.
When we got home all I remember is my mom asking me what the “white sticky stuff” was in my hair. All I could say was “it’s nothing, I dealt with it” and went to my room for the rest of the night.
It all ended sometime when I was around 15. It was beginning to get too risky due to myself getting pregnant so much.. and I was starting to understand what was happening. I would question him and challenge him any way that I could. My parents separated that same year and my mom forced my dad to leave our house as he was never around anyways. After a few months he came back, and everything got worse. He was more sexually, physically, and verbally abusive than he was before. I was almost 16 and at this point I did whatever I could to be out of the house and away from him.
Everyone saw me as the athletic girl who was academically inclined. I played every sport that was offered and would stay for hours after to practice.
-T, Fraser Valley
Hey all – R + K here.
We wanted to write a little outro here to close off this story. I am sure many of you are in shock by what you just read. Hearing the realities of a story like this for the first time is a lot to wrap your head around. It’s intense and will probably sit with you for a while, possibly forever. And – we hope and pray that is the case.
I know it’s hard to break out of our bubbles of comfort and security when we have been blessed with it, but we want to dare you to for a moment. (And thank you already for doing so by making it this far into this post).
This is a true story from a local girl, as you could tell from some details in the story. It was part 1 of a 3 part series of stories from the same survivor.
This – the selling of children for sex – happens in our own backyards. In common places we have all been before. Not included above, we’ve heard of other places that are involved – locally – in this trafficking ring. We cannot share publicly as we can’t afford to get sued, but know that these issues we connect to countries across the world – AREN’T just a “them” problem. This doesn’t just happen in the ‘talked about’ countries.
This happens in Abbotsford. Chilliwack. Langley.
Let that sink in.
Accept it as reality.
We’re hoping this wakes passionate people up to take action against these things LOCALLY. Of course – care about other countries. But care about here, too. It’s time to lose our ignorance.