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Alika Kinan was one of eight international activists honored at the State Department for their work against human trafficking. When Alika Kinan was a teenager in her native Argentina, she thought was going to go on a great adventure. A woman offered to buy the year-old a plane ticket to Ushuaia, a port city about 2, miles away from her hometown.
Kinan imagined she'd work at a shop in the bustling tourism or industrial district. Instead, she was trafficked — stripped of her travel documents and taken to a brothel, where she was expected to have sex with 15 to 30 men a day. It was nearly 20 years before she was rescued. Her years of activism against trafficking led her to the U. State Department this week, where Kinan, now 41, was one of eight international activists honored for their work at the unveiling of the Trafficking in Persons Report.
When Kinan arrived at Ushuaia, she was taken to a brothel called "Sheik. Posters with rules on the wall reminded women to lay around in their beds until four in the afternoon so they would be alert all night.
No one could make friends outside the brothel. The pimp and his clientele belittled and abused them. In an interview with NPR, Kinan spoke of how vulnerable she felt: naked, trapped between four walls with a stranger.
The organization reportedly got word of her brothel - which is illegal in Argentina — after another woman said she was forced into prostitution there. At first, Kinan wasn't happy about it. In fact, she was angry — and she sympathized with her pimp. That's not an unusual reaction. As the years passed by and with therapy, Kinan began to understand what she'd been through. She realized that her rights had been violated. So she took matters into her own hands," says Coppedge. The group helps women access services to rebuild their lives, like medical treatment, housing and job training.