Amid the festivities of big sports games, like the Super Bowl, play offs, and Olympics, a nasty underground secret exists that a Nashvillian survivor is bringing to light.
Clemmie Greenlee was a prostitute in Music City for over 20 years, beginning when she was repeatedly raped at twelve years of age. A survivor of child molestation, she learned the game of prostitution by hiding in a closet to watch a woman and her “clients.” Greenlee became one of several girls controlled by a pimp. He would move the group to anywhere a special sporting event was happening, knowing there would be paying customers. And the demand to perform “going through 25 to 50 men a day,” Greenlee recalls, was mandatory. She has seen pimps break the limbs of babies, gang rape, torture, and beat women to near death to ensure the prostitutes did as they were ordered. Sometimes the pimps harmed the prostitute’s family member to get a point across. “You’re brainwashed,” she explains. “You feel like not even the laws can protect you, and you’d rather live in misery than die” or risk family being harmed.
Any big sporting event turns out thousands of fans that go for the game, the camaraderie, the fun of competition. It also draws people willing to pay for sex, to include sex with children. Many of these prostitutes are part of a sex trafficking ring. According to the FBI, human sex trafficking is the fastest growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. The FBI calls the number of American children living on the streets involved in sex trafficking an “epidemic proportion” (source). One organization estimates there are 100,000 children on the street, in probability there are many young victims; it is impossible to know exactly how many due to the nature of the crime but law enforcement agencies say it is high (source). 83% of underage sex trafficking victims are U.S. citizens.
It is not just the fans that purchase prostitutes. “Leah”* works as an “escort,” advertising on Nashville Back Page. She has had many famous clients, to include sports athletes. One popular Nashville Titans football player spent thousands looking for a prostitute he had been with once. “You would walk in and he’d say, ‘you’re not her.’ So I’d leave as he was calling (the pimp)” she says, “asking for that certain girl.”
Clemmie Greenlee was carted to local sporting events and forced to sell herself. Now she is working to help rescue the victims of the sex trade and show them there is a way out. Despite the drugs, the mental and physical abuse, and the lack of personal support, victims can escape the horror of sex trafficking. “I was addicted to heroin, lying in my own excrement, sometimes dead people (from an overdose) nearby,” she recalls her past. “I got out.”
The Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 if you or someone needs help
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