By Tomi Afonja
Sexual exploitation in terms of rape and sex trade for the purpose of earning cash is much more on the rise than it has ever been in human history. Youths who have left home for one reason or the other or those who are homeless circumstantially, are easy prey for pimps who are ever on the lookout for their next target.
These pimps are tricky. They know the exact opening to use to reach their selected prey. Many of these men have no regard for children and are only concerned about how much they will make from exploiting such kids.
An experience that has risen to the fore is that of Amber Causey, formerly in the US Army and presently a semi-finalist for Miss Veteran America.
Amber Causey was inducted into the dark world of child trafficking at an early age
At 16, Amber Causey, from Illinois, Chicago, was pimped out by a man she met at a local mall, to become a prostitute who bore the pain of being raped hundreds of times.
At 29, Amber tells us her story. This man, whose name she refuses to publicize for security reasons, flirtatiously dropped a note with his number at her feet the day they met. She reached him and eventually, they started dating. He played perfect boyfriend, lavishing her with food, clothes, and a phone.
He eventually took her to his apartment after a few weeks of being together, professing love and promising to make her dreams, realities. Amber believed him. She was a naïve child with unstable beginnings who reveled in the mirage of stability her proposed boyfriend brought. She said that she felt worthy, like she meant something, whenever she was with him. “The pimp told me that he could make my dreams come true and he told me he loved me. “I loved him and I believed him. I felt worthy when I was with him” Amber said during an interview with South West News.
At his apartment, she met two other girls and stark reality dawned on her. Her boyfriend wasn’t whom she thought he was. He ordered her to walk the streets selling sex and threatened to beat her severely if she rebelled. At 16, any young girl with no one to look up to for guidance and protection, will fear such threats.
Amber was forced to sleep with up to 10 men a day and was to make at least $500 daily. Is she made any less, she was subjected to severe beatings. Between 2006 and 2007, for nine months, she survived on a $20 daily allowance. She used that money to purchase food and condoms.
At one time, Amber was arrested twice in the same month for prostitution. By the time she turned 17, she had had hundreds of sex partners. She got tired at some point and would rather be starved and beaten than be at the beck and call of another man. She became mentally unstable and couldn’t keep herself together. The pimp who forced her into the trade packed all her stuff and dumped her by the roadside. She was back on the streets, trying to survive on her own. She had no GED and no legit 3way of surviving. It was a jungle out there where only the fittest survived. After what she had been through, she definitely wasn’t in any fit state.
She occasionally checked in with her sister and on one of such visits, a US Army Recruitment officer, Marcelus Chambers, called to respond to an interest card she had filled about two years earlier at a students’ career fair.
Marcelus noticed how skinny, unkempt, and uncared for she was. He bought her hot meals and listened to her story. He sympathized with her and vowed to help. He helped her replace her identity documents, took her for her exams, and prepared her for training. His help was timely.
Amber joined the army in 2007 and served there for seven and a half years with the 2nd Battalion of the 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment in Iraq.
Amber survived that ordeal because she got help from a kind hearted person. Being in the military also helped her rise above her situation. At the very least, she was away from the streets, learning better survival skills.
Amber has devoted her life to doing her utmost to end trafficking. She is a US Army veteran with two master’s degrees and two beautiful kids, Aaliyah, 8, and Armoni, 2. She is determined to create a world free of sexual exploitation. To accomplish this, she tours high schools, educating all young ones on sexual exploitation and human trafficking. She helps them identify things to be on the lookout for and what to do to avoid victimization.
Although she keeps her past at bay, she hasn’t forgotten about it. She suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is scared of the dark. For her kids, she is willing to do all she can to protect them to experience what she had.
According to FOX32, she overcame her past to make a better future for herself and others. When interviewed, she talked about how some women who leave the army go back to being homeless, sometimes returning to prostitution. Amber hasn’t. This shows that she really has acquired better survival skills that has helped her remain above her former situation and capable of taking care of herself and her children.
Unlike many women who have been victims of sexual assault, Amber stopped carrying her shame around with her so that she can help others. The Army helped her find herself and her identity. She is determined to help others do the same, to recognize that there is more beyond the streets they are on.
Her opinion on the missing girls in Washington, DC, shows that she isn’t leaving anyone out. She doesn’t believe that anyone is above being helped. Whether the child runs away from home or is rendered homeless due to circumstances the child can’t help.
There is a lot to learn from her ordeal. Are you a victim of any sort of sexual exploitation? That is not the end of the world. It is traumatic, true. But you can rise above it like Amber did. We can’t move forward if we keep getting stuck in the past. If help doesn’t come to you, seek it!