‘How Did I Get Here’ Exhibit Tells the Story of Women in Sex Trafficking

Ada Trillo made several trips down to the U.S.-Mexican border from Philadelphia to collect the images and stories surrounding sex trafficking in Mexico. Her exhibit displays the graphic and horrific details around sex work.

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Courtesy Ada Trillo
Alejandra, age 27, is a fluent English-speaker who lived in Tijuana, then in San Diego, before getting deported back to Mexico. She was diagnosed with colon cancer, but like many other women working in the brothels, she receives no medical care. She has exceeded her life expectancy of two years, and copes with the continuous pain by self-medicating.
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Courtesy Ada Trillo
Alexis, age 20, is the mother of three children who also live with her in various brothels. In addition to being a sex worker, she also steals money from inebriated clients. She has an addiction to both heroin and crack cocaine.
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Chuma, age 32, is originally from Central Mexico and began working in brothels around the age of 14. She is addicted to several drugs including heroin and crack cocaine. When she does not enough clients to pay for her drugs, she steals. Chuma is currently in prison for kidnapping.
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Ada Trillo
Bonita had up to 25 clients in one day and was addicted to crack cocaine. On one occasion, she consumed all of the drugs she was supposed to sell and was murdered outside Juarez. She had a young son.
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Ada Trillo
Eugenia, age 50, agreed to pose for this picture on a break between seeing clients. She was recently released from prison where she and her partner served time for extortion. As a heroin user and mother of two, she remains proud of being a prostitute and has been one for decades.
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Ada Trillo
Lupita, age 38, was arrested and imprisoned for transporting drugs for a local cartel. She was killed upon release by gunfire outside the brothels. She had five daughters.
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