#womensstories: ‘I carried his name on my body for nine years’: tattooed trafficking survivors reclaim their past

The flower on Jennifer Kempton’s neck starts just behind her right ear, fanning in inky petals out towards her jawbone, a tropical medley of yellow and pink and green against her skin. When she gets up in the morning, the flower is the first thing she looks at, and it reminds her of what she’s survived.

A year ago Jennifer visited a small tattoo shop just outside her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, with a very different marking where the flower now blooms. Then, the side of her neck was marked with a crude black crown and the words “King Munch” – the insignia of the dope gang that sold her for sex out of boarded-up houses in a poor suburb of Columbus.

The tattoo on her neck was not the only scar that Jennifer carried from this period in her life. Men had also tattooed their names on her arm and her back. Just above her groin another announced that she was “Property of Salem”, marking her as his possession and money-maker.

© and read on: The Guardian