Admiration List: Asia Graves

A person whose life story I admire. This is a woman who I would like to meet someday:

Asia Graves, a victim of child exploitation, she escaped sexual slavery and has worked as an education coordinator for FAIR Girls. Her biography is posted to antislavery.ac.uk.

When I left my life of exploitation I had so many questions. I was angry more than anything. People all over the world look at the United States as one of the greatest nations on earth. The United States is supposed to be a civilized country. Slavery has been outlawed here for over a century. But has slavery really been outlawed? That’s a question that I ask myself daily. If it was, how could a high school honors student like me be allowed to be sold and raped daily to hundreds of men? It was not as if I and other victims were in hiding. We were completely visible. Why didn’t anyone try to “rescue” us? As American citizens were we not important enough.

A Survivor’s Tale on Human Trafficking, Huffington Post, Asia Graves, 1/17/2013

One recent afternoon, her low hazel eyes pierced through a busy Washington street and focused on a young woman’s face she recognized from Backpage.com. She paused.

Graves sees trafficking when no one else can.

“My main priority is making sure no child has to go through what I went through,” she said. “If I can save one girl from not going into it or one girl who has already been in from going back, then I’m already doing more than enough.”

Sex trafficking in the USA hits close to home, USA TODAY, Yamiche Alcindor, 9/27/2012

But in some ways, Graves believes, being out in public is her best protection. “If you hide in the shadows, people are going to find the need to mess with you,” she said.

“They say, ‘You don’t look like a victim,’ ’’ Graves said. “Sometimes, what you’ve overcome makes you stronger.”

From victim to impassioned voice: Woman exploited as a teen fights sexual trafficking of children, Boston Globe, Jenifer B. McKim, 11/27/2012

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