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One Woman's Story On Human Trafficking
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Story By: Larry Stine



  Originally Published on: 8/25/2013

We frequently think human trafficking happens only to vulnerable people in far away places. But this reality is very present on the streets of South Florida. A region that the U.S. Department of Justice lists among the busiest sex trafficking jurisdictions in the country. Adriana Hauser tells us the story of a woman who lived a nightmare, and years after, dares to tell her story to help others. Katarina Rosenblatt says she was only 13 when her mother, escaping an abusive relationship, took her to live in a hotel in Miami Beach. She remembers her mother worked long hours and she wandered alone. "Soon enough there was a trafficking ring that spotted my vulnerabilities, being alone, having low self-esteem, coming from a dysfunctional home," says Rosenblatt. "So there was an older girl who recruited me. She came to me as a big sister. She was 19 and thin and pretty and all I thought Ii wanted to be." Kat says the girl's name was Mary and she had a plan. "She introduced me to her pimp. I didn't know he was a pimp. I didn't know he was a scammer at the time. I thought he was a nice man, a father," she says. Soon after, she remembers finding herself inside a hotel room dressed as a bride, convinced she was playing a game. "This guys was half-dressed with a beer belly hanging out, was ready to partaken his transaction," she says. "He had negotiated the price with Mary. Twenty years ago the price was $550 for a virgin girl." Kat says that time she managed to talk and plead her way out of this situation. But soon after, she says she was tricked again, this time by a friend's father. "It came in a place where you would never suspect it,: she says. "My middle school. I was in 7th grade. And they blindfolded us, and took us to a brothel in Broward County. They had paid her father $40 for each of us." She does not remember how long she was there for, and how many men came by. "They let me know what would become of me if I told anyone," she says. "They told me they knew where I lived, they knew my teachers, they knew my school, they knew everything, about me. There was nothing I could do to protect myself. At 14 years-old, I didn't know where to begin." She dropped out of school and became addicted to drugs. Prostitution didn't seem so foreign anymore. She met up with a pimp. Her dreams were crushed. "I am nothing but a drug addict, and i guess a prostitute for these guys," she says. "At 15. I had given up on myself. I belonged to the street. I belonged to whoever would show me kindness or give me cocaine." More than 20 years ago, a drug overdose and a customer with Aids scared her so much, she ran away from that life and never looked back. "And I just remember waking up and walking away and saying I'm done with this," she says. "I am never going back there. These people could care less about me. They would kill me if they could." It was not until recently she dared to tell her story. Her motivation was to help girls in her same situation. Now, Kat works along with law enforcement to help them better understand the industry. She also started an organization that provides shelter, support and counseling to victims of trafficking. The name: There Is Hope For Me.
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