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Human Trafficking Survivor Recounts Being Sold to NH Businessman

Human trafficking is becoming a growing problem in New Hampshire. Two survivors have found their voice and are using their freedom to help others trapped in human trafficking.>> Read the first chapter of this special file “I had just turned 13 and it was really beautiful, or at least I thought he was handsome, A guy came to our neighborhood,” Darlene Pawlik said. Pawlik remembers the day a man who called himself “Ace” drove around his neighborhood in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in a black Lincoln Continental. dark hair. He was charming, says Pawlik. “And he was friendly with all the kids. ‘What’s your favorite movie? What are you listening to these days?’ It doesn’t matter,” Pawlik said. Pawlik didn’t grow up in a traditional home and faced challenges at a young age. ‘Ace’ became an escape. “He would start to say, ‘You can have the things you want,” Pawlik said. A year later, on his 14th birthday, their relationship took a turn. “My mom came home from shopping and I was like, ‘Yay, c ‘it’s my birthday!’ And she threw two crumpled up dollar bills on the table and said, “Here you go,” Pawlik said. Pawlik called “Ace” wanting the promises of a better life he offered her. me to a man in Atkinson, New Hampshire. A small businessman from Atkinson, New Hampshire,” Pawlik said. At a young age, Pawlik could not imagine the dark journey that awaited him. “I was trafficked for four years. I had four pimps,” Pawlik said. Although his story is tragic, it is not unique, according to the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force. “Here in New Hampshire, we see victims of all ages, genders and races. citizens and all immigration statuses,” said Tori Nevel, director of the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force. “You are not considered a human. You are considered (as) a commodity to be bought and sold,” said Jasmine Grace Marino, a survivor of human trafficking. Marino also found herself caught up in the human trafficking ring at a young age. She was 19 years old. Her trafficker was someone close to her – someone who Marino said thought she loved him. Marino said he “befriended me. He played the role of boyfriend and made me love and trust him.” He had ulterior motives, she said. “I fell in love with him and bought the lie. And before I knew it, I was sent to Hartford, Connecticut, to work in a massage parlour. From there, I went to a massage parlor in Kittery, Maine that’s pretty infamous, everyone in New England, especially Maine and New Hampshire, knows it: The Danish Health Club,” Marino said. > In 2021, over 100 NH human trafficking tips were issued. Pawlik and Marino have since regained their freedom and are now using their voices to fight human trafficking. Pawlik spoke with lawmakers and trains law enforcement and healthcare providers on trafficking. Marino has also started his own nonprofit group that provides resources to survivors of the sex trade. “It’s not going away not and I’m still breathing. So as long as I’m breathing, I’m going to do what I can,” Pawlik said. “Knowing that my mess has become my message and that I can help other women not feel alone and walk alongside them. is really empowering,” Marino said. Other resources are available. apartments, as well as case management and more. The organization will begin accepting referrals at the end of March. “The goal is that as residents enter the program, we can help stabilize them with support and then help them transition into independence,” said Bethany Cottrell, Director and Founder of Brigid’s House of Hope Support is essential to help victims take their first steps as survivors.” They are really being forced back into trafficking or their exploitative situation because their only other options were homelessness or other vulnerable situations for them,” Cottrell said. Raising awareness and helping with education, Marino said. “Anywhere we can raise awareness so people know it’s a real problem and to help people to know that we are recovering,” Marino said.

Human trafficking is becoming a growing problem in New Hampshire. Two survivors have found their voice and are using their freedom to help other victims of trafficking.

>> Read the first chapter of this special file

“I had just turned 13 and this really handsome guy, or at least I thought he was handsome, came to our neighborhood,” Darlene Pawlik said.

Pawlik remembers the day a man who called himself “Ace” drove around his neighborhood in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in a black Lincoln Continental.

Ace was built. He was a bodybuilder with jet black hair. He was charming, says Pawlik.

“And he was friendly with all the kids. ‘What’s your favorite movie? What are you listening to these days?’ It doesn’t matter,” Pawlik said.

Pawlik did not grow up in a traditional household and faced hardships from an early age. “Ace” became an escape.

“He was starting to say, ‘You can have whatever things you want,'” Pawlik said.

A year later, on his 14th birthday, their relationship took a turn.

“My mum came home from shopping and I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s my birthday!’ And she threw two crumpled up dollar bills on the table and said, “Here you go,” Pawlik said.

Pawlik called “Ace” wanting the promises of a better life he offered her.

“I called him that day and he sold me to a man from Atkinson, New Hampshire. A small business man from Atkinson, New Hampshire,” Pawlik said.

At a young age, Pawlik could not imagine the dark journey that awaited him.

“I was trafficked for four years. I had four pimps,” Pawlik said.

Although his story is tragic, it is not unique, according to the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force.

“Here in New Hampshire, we see victims of all ages, genders and races. American citizens and all immigration statuses,” said Tori Nevel, director of the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force.

“You are not considered a human being. You are considered (as) a commodity to be bought and sold,” said Jasmine Grace Marino, a survivor of human trafficking.

Marino also found herself caught up in the human trafficking ring at a young age. She was 19 years old. Her trafficker was someone close to her – someone who Marino said thought she loved him.

Marino said he “befriended me. He played the role of boyfriend and made me love and trust him.”

He had ulterior motives, she said.

“I fell in love with him and bought the lie. And before I knew it, I was sent to Hartford, Connecticut, to work in a massage parlour. From there, I went to a massage parlor in Kittery, Maine that’s pretty infamous, everyone in New England, especially Maine and New Hampshire, knows about it: the Danish Health Club,” Marino said.

>> In 2021, more than 100 denunciations on human trafficking in NH were made

Pawlik and Marino have since regained their freedom and are now using their voices to fight human trafficking.

Pawlik has spoken to lawmakers and trains law enforcement and healthcare providers on trafficking.

Marino has also started her own non-profit group that provides resources for survivors of the sex trade.

“It’s not going away and I’m still breathing. So as long as I’m breathing, I’m going to do what I can,” Pawlik said.

“Knowing that my mess has become my message and that I can help other women not feel alone and walk alongside them is really empowering,” Marino said.

There are other resources available.

New Hampshire will also soon see its first halfway house for survivors of human trafficking. Brigid’s House of Hope will provide four two-bedroom apartments, as well as case management and more.

The organization will begin accepting referrals at the end of March.

“The goal is that as residents move into the program, we can help stabilize them with support and then help them transition into independence,” said Bethany Cottrell, Director and Founder of Brigid’s House. of Hope.

Support is essential to help victims take their first steps as survivors.

“They’re really being forced back into trafficking or their exploitative situation because their only other options were homelessness or other vulnerable situations for them,” Cottrell said.

Awareness and education helps, Marino said.

“Anywhere we can raise awareness to let people know this is a real problem and to help people know that we are recovering,” Marino said.

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