Unsuspecting of anything, I went to my landlord’s place to help him with a problem he was having with his computer. He was kind and insisted on getting me something to drink, which I ultimately accepted. After a few sips of my soda, I realized that my muscles were numbing. I couldn’t move my legs, and I tried to say something but my voice had been taken from me. I was drugged and had no idea what lay in wait for me.

The years after that day were a blur to me. I often didn’t know where I was, if I was intoxicated, or even who stood before me. The investigator showed me pictures, for example, that I was completely unaware of. My landlord had taken my freedom from me, and now he owned me. A tattoo was done on my lower leg that marked me as his. He branded me like the other women whose freedom he had also taken away. All the things that are illegal in the Red Light District were done to me on private properties throughout The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Often it concerned private homes that were vacant or for which people received compensation.

When I think back to it, it’s as if I was not really present.