107: Jill was kept in a basement

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Content warning - this episode includes descriptions of sexual violence and domestic abuse. Listener discretion is advised.

Here in the United States, slavery is illegal. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865 and it was ratified later that same year.

That amendment reads in part “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

But the fact that it’s illegal doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. The more common modern-day term for it is human trafficking.

The numbers for this are staggering. Hundreds of thousands of people are forced into sexual exploitation just here in the US. And many of them are children.

Ashton Kutcher is an actor, and he’s a father. He’s also become a major activist in the fight against human trafficking, through his foundation and the software that his team has created.

There’s another person who’s also very active in this fight. Her name is Jill. She knows about human trafficking because she was a victim of it. She’s had some truly horrifying experiences – things that no person should ever have to go through.

But she’s still here, and she’s doing everything she can to help put an end to it. And part of that fight is telling the story of what it’s like – from the inside.

I wanted to mention one thing that you might notice while you hear Jill talking about what happened to her. She laughs. She might be describing something that was truly terrifying, but part of talking about it is laughter. She and I actually discussed this, and she is aware of it. It’s not because she looks back on what happened and actually thinks it’s funny. Each of us relates to trauma differently, and a little bit of nervous laughter is just her way of coping as she talks about her experiences.

Jill’s podcast:

This book is a good resource to learn more:
Forced Sex Trafficking: What It Is and How You Can End It by Christopher Armitage

This episode is sponsored by Ghostbed – get 30% off sitewide at Ghostbed.com/WHAT.

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp – online counseling. Get 10% off your first month by visiting BetterHelp.com/WHATWAS.

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