Chong Kim a sex trafficking survivor from North Texas shares her story in a recent interview. Kim’s story is also a part of a new book “Not in my hometown” written by Dillon Burroughs and Charles Powell. In addition she has a blog to help other survivors of sex trafficking. She is also a passionate advocate for victims of human trafficking.
Chong Kim’s story is so compleling because for the longest time she didn’t know that she was a sex trafficking victim, she believed she was a victim of domestic violence because that is what she learned and what people told her.
She shared her story and what she is doing to end modern day slavery for domestic minor’s in America. What happened for you to speak up about sex trafficking?
“In 2003, I volunteered as a legal advocate for domestic violence. They told me that as a part of the training we had to go to conferences. The first conference was a conference on trafficking. I thought it was about traffic tickets. It was held at the UON in Minnesota, and there were three women on the panel. They had a russian girl who was a victim and told her story and I just started crying, I started relating to what she was saying. The entrapment, the coercion, I never told anyone else about. One of the downfalls I think before the term human trafficking ever assisted, I was known as a survivor of prostitution and they would have us go through the 12 step thing. “It’s our fault, you know we chose this life” even though I didn’t chose this life. That is why I am against the 12 step program. Because there are women that are forced, women that are coerced and people are using fraud to trick them. Before the whole human trafficking it was more a way to take responsibility. One of the things that I ask is would you tell a rape victim that she got herself in this situation? and we don’t.”
What gave you the courage to share your story to the public?
“As russian women was sharing her story a college student asked, Can this happen to american girls? and one of the panelist know as an expert said “no.” That is when I stood up and I said “I am sorry and that happened to me.” I didn’t realize at the time that there were cameras and journalist.The woman asked me who are you and what is your expertise? I said I am a survivor, I have been through this. It took me a few years to get people to really understand what it meant when I said I am a Survivor. People told me you need to get a t-visa. I thought it was a credit card, they said no it is a visa for you to stay in the U.S. I said why would I need one of those when I am already naturalized? I remember meeting with one Immigration attorney and he said you were trafficked from Korea. I said no, I never said I was trafficked from Korea I was trafficked in the United States. He told me then your not a survivor, that’s what made me angry.”
“As heart breaking as it is, what I went through in my trafficking helped me realize about economy, trade and the globalization when it comes to marketing. Anyone who knows anything about marketing knows when you distribute any product whether in the borders or out of the borders there is always import and export. It happens with drugs, guns and it happens with human beings being exported and imported as well.”
Right now people are doubting that trafficking exist in the United States what would you tell them?
“That is one of the concepts that made me mad and made me want to speak out. The rights of the american children. You know you have 2, 13 year old girls that are being rescued in a warehouse, owned by a pimp or trafficker. They are both blond haired and blue eye’s, but one girl is from sweden and the other girl could be from Amarillo, Texas.”
“But what has happened in recent years is the girl from sweden, she will have officials come and rescue her, talk to her, interview her, tell her what her rights are. She will be provided medical treatment, representation along with a T-visa. As the other girl from Amarillo, Texas guess what happens to her? she gets handcuffed and put into juvie. I am thinking why? they are both treated the same way, they were both captured. But because she is an American it makes it OK for us to prosecute her. The problem that people don’t realize, not only the immediate situation as she is being prosecuted. She looks at society like “well no one cares about me. So why should I care about myself.” So when she gets out she will repeat the pattern. She will think of herself as just a toy, she will think well no one rescued me, no one told me It’s not my fault. By the time she hits 18 and gets busted again then they will tell her she has to register herself as a sex offender. Where will she get housing, a job. We may have resources for felony friendly jobs but there are very few for registered sex-offenders. People are not kind as to sex offenders and they will look at her as a pedophile and not a victim. That is one of the components of why I spoke out.”
Chong Kim’s blog is called “Face of Tears”. The blog is a candide look at sex slavery, and the process of victim to survivor. She is also advocating tirelessly for victims of human trafficking.