When The Big City Is Anything But Welcoming

Throughout my university experience, I have been inspired by a lot of stories dealing with human trafficking. As someone studying Sociology, a lot of my classes look into this issue. Here is a poem that was written about a girl who becomes tricked into human trafficking. It was originally published in print by the Regis Magazine’s arts edition. Enjoy.

Welcome to the City

Welcome to the city where everything is fancy.

Those were the words I once heard.

Welcome to the core where you will live forevermore.

The bright lights once sparked my imaginative dreams;

but, those dreams were crushed in an instant, it seemed.

False promises, false hope.

He is a hustler,

a persuasive flesh-peddler,

a man who took my foolish dreams

and conditioned me to become

a girl with a body


to meet another’s.

It did not take long to understand what “your turf” meant.

I left my home to pursue a new, fairytale life,

but he stole it.

It was beyond my control,

beyond the control of anyone

but him.

It kills me to think about what he made me do,

what I was absolutely, undeniably, forced into.

Pushed into the life of

selling myself,

so that I had nothing left

to offer.

Now I’m just a bare, bruised

“bad girl.”

Something I never thought I’d be.

And on most nights

I run back to my shady apartment

with the blackest of eyes.

Paint-chipped walls,

and shadows on every surface,

the dim, flickering light

makes my head hurt.

I never feel safe

so I cry

because I only desire one thing,

one of my mom’s old hugs.

The old embrace of someone loving and dear.

I remember

her petite, hardworking hands

wrapping around my body

to make me feel secure.

She was always proud of my grades.

I learned well by the book

but my social experience lacked.

So I was


too easily.

How did my life turn out like this?

How did I end up here?

Stuck, lost, broken.

I have no chance of escape

because every dollar I earn for my body

doesn’t end up being my own money to take.

So now,

here I live

a world of torturous evenings,

with the most gruesome of men.

I often wonder,

what is chivalry?

What is respect?

I know none of these concepts,

for I am undeserving.

Or at least

that is what I am told now.

And in my twin, sheetless bed,

I am taken back to a place,

a place never forgotten.

I see my mother

with her light, brown hair

tied tightly in a bun

while she stirs a ladle in a pot

and she smiled when she asks,

Come try a taste.

A place where

the smell of sauce

fills my nostrils,

and my mouth waters

for what I know will be

the most deserving of meals

that I am lucky to share

with a table full of people so dear to me.

Yet, here I am

in this room shared by ten

with no meals to split.

And here I lay,

with an empty, bruised body,

but no one to fix the pain.

And in my future,

when I am no longer

young enough to be


I will finally escape,

and I will tell a clueless girl

what the city life is truly about,

“Welcome to the city,”

I will say,

“where you witness the workings of hell.

Where you lose yourself

and your dreams become something to sell.

Welcome to the core,

where your life will become nothing more

than property, an ownership,

of someone more persuasive

than anyone, you’ll ever meet.

Run away now,

don’t ever look back.

There is more out there for you,

and this life is not it.

God has a plan,

a great one might I add,

just take the right steps.

Don’t let them catch you,

or you will regret your coming past.

Make something of yourself,

become successful,

because you can,

and if you do,

darling, I promise

you will shed no tears.”

Originally published by The Regis Magazine: Arts printed edition

Featured image via Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.