Read Trapped in the Mayan Tattoo Online
Authors: Ronda Pauley
Trapped in the Mayan Tattoo
Table of Contents
We all reach a fork
in the road from time to time in our journeys through life. When I came to one
recently, my daughter advised me to follow my passion. Ha! My own words came
back to me. I came to realize that passion—the fight against human trafficking.
My pursuit was further
encouraged by my husband Chris, who gave me technical advice, my son Josh, as
well as my daughter-in-law Patience who quietly discussed her involvement with
anti-human trafficking efforts. As the ripples form from a pebble tossed in a
pool, my acknowledgements grow, and I found that my grandchildren were also a
huge inspiration. Lasci I thank especially for her “kidspeak” on how kids’
personalities come through in their talk.
This book could not have happened
without the encouragement and wisdom of my wonderfully reliable consultants. I
am grateful to the following: Dr. Sharlene Lassiter Boltz at Northern Kentucky
University for her knowledge and expertise in law as it relates to the trafficking
of humans; Mary Richie and Partners Against Trafficking in Humans
(PATH-Northern Kentucky); Jeffrey Eller, for his permission to use “Fred’s
Boots Incorporated” from his own childhood; the Salvation Army and their
Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition (CORRC) training in human trafficking
as well as their Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking (IAST); the Federal
Bureau of Investigation for a subscription to their updates; and illustrator Alyssa
Stark for her very accommodating research and amazing cover art. My thanks also
go to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for helping to
bring the atrocity of trafficking in humans to light. A huge thank you to the
U.S. Bureau of Justice, Office of Justice Programs for leadership in developing
the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and
assist victims of these crimes.
The number for the National Human
Trafficking Resouce Center is 1-888-373-7888.
That number is available
Now, I come back
to my daughter, to whom I owe special thanks. Her interest in the fight against
human trafficking was ignited by Dr. Howard Tolley and Dr. Mia Bloom while
Jessica studied at the University of Cincinnati. She, in turn, sparked my
interest when I learned that young children were often targets in large-scale
human trafficking. Our shared interest in the efforts to fight the problem
helped launch this pursuit.
The trafficking of
humans, occurring at an epidemic rate in the United States, can begin so
deceptively that unwary victims can become trapped, the life of the person sucked
out before it really begins. These innocent victims sometimes find themselves
drugged, tattooed, branded, and used up, their spirits consumed by those they
Trafficking is not a business model.”—President Barack Obama in his address to the
Clinton Global Inititiative Annual Meeting 2012
The Department of Justice reports that nearly
children younger than 18 are missing
each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day. Some of
these children are abducted for the pupose of human trafficking.
to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Characteristics of Suspected
Human Trafficking Incidents 2008-2010 report, 40 percent of human sex trafficking
in the United States involved the prostitution or sexual exploitation of a
The Federal Bureau of
Investigation, working collaboratively with the Department of Justice Child
Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children, began their Innocence Lost National Initiative in June
2003. Their aim—to address the “growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of
children in the United States”.
On a grimy street
near the factories of a Mexican border town stood a desolate cantina, known
locally for its red neon lights and the clandestine use of its lush upstairs rooms.
But in one of its back rooms, accessible only to staff, Maria Candelaria Hernandez,
known at this cantina as Carmelicious Candie, scrambled off the floormat to put
the rest of her clothes back on.
The last man to
see Maria had pushed past Ramon and surprised Maria by rushing into her room.
He was forceful, brutal and left quickly after his tirade, upset that he
couldn’t get the girl he wanted. Not only that, he was going to ask management
for his money back. That would bring on more punishment for the girl, and she
knew it. She also knew that this man dropped ten American dollars on the floor.
Maria examined the
bruise that was already forming on her arm near one of her tattoos and wondered
what the rest of her aching body must look like. She brushed back sweaty brown
hair, picked up the money and pulled on a tank top.
The camera in the upper
corner near the door clipped on unnoticeably but Maria was constantly aware of
the presence of eyes that watched her every move. The camera offered no
protection. Its real function was in the production of cheap live-action films
that could be turned quickly into cash either on the street or through the
Internet. No one cared if the girls received an occasional bruising in the
process. Some clients liked it rough. Business was business.
Like the old song “Hotel
California”, check-out times weren’t on the schedule, but today could prove
Maria awkwardly made
her way toward the door. She would soon leave the room to get a shower but
first she fumbled silently to find the little bandage box she had placed behind
the curtain on the window ledge. Here, where the camera would not detect
movement, she had a stash of stolen money squirreled away to someday escape
this hell-hole. Maria smiled as she added the ten stolen American dollars to
the rest of her cash and mentally did the math.
A rosary hung on a
nail by the door. Maria grabbed it and said a quick prayer. She continued
clutching it tightly while she opened the door to hot, dry air and the tiny
enclosed yard with its barbed-wire-wrapped fencing. A well-worn path ran
alongside this strip of rooms leading to the shared bathroom. Dust on the path
swept up onto her sandals and blanketed Maria’s toes.
Maria had felt
numb and emotionless for weeks, wondering if anyone was even looking for her.
Now, because of last night’s secret liaison, she would be leaving the stench of
this place. She felt light-hearted in spite of the beating she had just been
As she walked on
the path toward the bathroom, Maria smiled and thought about last night’s strange
but pleasant visitor she had in one of the upstairs rooms. Looking embarrassed,
this American had pulled off his shirt, left the rest of his clothes on, and
slid between the smooth cool sheets. He was older, probably older than forty,
but he was different. Clean, well-built, with an easy and genuine smile.
“Let’s get right
to it,” he said as he beckoned Maria, who was dressed in a red lace tank top
and low-rise shorts. She walked toward the bed and wondered at the cautious way
he surveyed the room, as if looking for cameras. Then, when she settled in,
clothing on, he covered both his head and hers with the bed sheet.
undercover, no kidding,” he whispered with a laugh. “I have a badge. It’s here
in my pocket. You have to trust me.”
asked. She started shaking her hands wildly.
“Whoa. Relax. You’re
not in any trouble. Tell me your full name.”
“Great! You’re the
one we’re after! And when were you born?”