The following account is fiction, but the circumstances are real. Anna’s story represents girls worldwide who are sold into slavery. This is part 2 of 4. Read part 1 here. Details have been provided by The Exodus Road. Any errors are mine.
The bus finally stopped and the driver ordered the girls off the bus. Hungry, tired and scared, they took their first tentative steps onto the soil Anna now understood would be their new home. She held out no more hope for the job in America she’d been promised, and she dreaded what was to come. She didn’t like the way the driver looked at her or the other girls on the bus. He herded them into a rundown building and began speaking to them in a language she didn’t understand. Only one word made sense: “Laos.” Anna vaguely remembered the name from some nearly forgotten school lesson. How far was that from her home? She didn’t know.
The sound of sobbing filled Anna’s ears and threatened to overtake her as well. When the driver slapped the sobbing girl, Anna bit her lip hard to avoid being struck for the same show of emotion. She would not cry. She would fight.
They hadn’t been off the bus long when another man entered the building. He spoke a few words to the driver who smirked at the girls and left. The man spoke in clipped sentences, fluent Russian.
“You will call me ‘Master.’ There will be no talking amongst you. You work for me. You do what I say. If all goes well, you may earn your way back home.”
He did not smile as he spoke and Anna choked on her fears like the day-old bread she often brought home from the bakery. Her dream was turning into a nightmare.
A week later, Anna had experienced unspeakable horrors. She was property, nothing more. The first night, she’d thought about escaping the clutches of her captor, but when another girl tried to run away, she was beaten so severely, Anna thought she would die. She had lived, but Anna wondered if death wasn’t a better option.
Sometimes Anna let herself cry for her mother and sisters, but only when she knew she was alone with the other girls. Her tears were useless. As were her cries. Whatever was asked of her, Anna did it without making a sound. She couldn’t afford to feel. Anything. For feeling meant she was alive.
And in truth, Anna had died when she’d boarded the bus.
She was lost. And no one knew where to find her.