Look Beneath The Surface

by: LunarEclipse360

Disclaimer: I don't own any rights

A/N: okay. This is my new story and it a story concerning a rising trend in society, one that you can't see, but it right under your nose. What am I talking about? It's called human trafficking. They call it the modern day slavery and it is happening all around you. Some people who have heard about it, but never read up on it believe that it only happens in poor countries. On the contrary, it doesn't just take place in poorer countries, it also takes place in the richest country in the world. That's right my fellow Americans, I'm talking about the good ole' US of A. We have one of the highest numbers of people being trafficked into our country. Men, women and children are trafficked around the globe. Women and children are trafficked the most and are no only sold for labor purposes, but also for prostitution. This crisis is something governments around the globe want to get rid over, but because it is so secretive, it is hard to figure out where and how many people are taken.

Prologue

A Boat (Somewhere in the Pacific)

The sound of sea birds awoke the petite Filipina from her sleep. She opened her eyes and sat up slightly in her small makeshift bed. She glanced around at all the other girls her age who were stuck in the same predicament as her. They were still asleep. She turned over to where the air holes were. These were the only source of light, but also the only source of air. She would have been more grateful for them if it wasn't for the fact that they let in the cold air at night.

She stared out the hole in front of her, admiring the ocean. Even though she had lived near the ocean all her life, she had never been this far out on it. Her father used to take her out on the ocean all the time when she was younger. Thinking about her father made her heart ache. It had been days since she saw her parents. Days since she was thrusted into this predicament. She subconsciously reached up to the shell necklace that hung from her neck. It was a birthday gift from her little brother.

Her family wasn't exactly rich. In fact, they were the complete opposite. They were poorer than the poorest of people in the Philippines. They lived in a shack with only two rooms. One room was her parents' room and the other, hers, her brother's and her grandmother's. It wasn't the best way to live but it was home to her. Unfortunately, her simple life was interrupted by an unexpected illness.

Around five months ago, her brother caught Malaria and had to be hospitalized, but her parents couldn't pay for the hospital bills. Without wanting to, they borrowed from a loan shark in order to pay the fees. Her brother recovered in a month's time, giving her parents only three months to pay the loan shark back. Sadly, they were too poor to pay up, so as compensation, she was taken from her family to be sold in the underground market. She was now a victim of human trafficking.

Her eyes glazed over as she stared out into the open ocean. The thought of seeing her family again never once crossed her mind as she traveled under wraps on this one way trip to America. She closed her eyes and a single tear slid down her face as she remembered her parents, her grandmother and her little brother. They now were just pieces of her past; pieces that would never be put back together.

Moscow, Russia

The brunette walked the snow covered streets, looking for the place she had written on a small piece of paper in her hands. The anticipation in her grew as she came closer to her destination. She was a model, or at least she wanted to be. She had so many dreams that she wanted to live, modeling being one of them, and going to America, the other. She had found a modeling agency in Moscow, one that worked from the States. She saw this as her chance to live out her dreams.

Finally she came across the building she was looking for. She went inside and found it was nothing like she had thought it would be. It looked like any other apartment building. She looked at the apartment number and went in search for the door. When she found it, she knocked heavily.

"What do you want?" came a voice from the other side.

"I'm here for the modeling job," she said and the door opened, revealing a stout man in his early forties.

"Come in, child." As soon as she had walked in, he closed the door and locked it. "Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable." She took off her coat and sat down on the couch. "Would you like anything to drink?"

"Um, yes, please." He nodded and disappeared into the kitchen.

"So, you want to be a model?" he said from the other room.

"Yeah. It's always been my dream."

"Well, you're in luck," he said as he came back into the living room, handing her the cup.

"Thank you." She took a sip and he grabbed a chair, seating it in front of her.

"How old are you? If you don't mind me asking."

"Nineteen."

"That's a good age." He looked her up and down before his eyes snapped up to hers. "Are you comfortable with wearing lingerie?" She nodded her head and took another sip of her drink. He smirked and nodded. "Good. Cause you'll be wearing a lot of that." She wondered what he meant by that, but her concern quickly went away when she began feeling lightheaded.

She put a hand to her head and tried to steady the spinning in her head. She looked over at the man, who just sat there with a grin on his face. Without noticing, the rest of her drink spilled from her hand and the glass came crashing down to the floor. It wasn't long before she felt her body hit the couch and everything around her went black.

A Yacht (off the coast of South Africa) (If some of the things they say sound weird, it's because they're British and I use British slang. For an easier reading experience, I'll put the meaning beside it.)

The petite blonde sat at the edge of the yacht with her head in her palms. She didn't know why she agreed to coming out in the middle of the ocean with her brother. He claimed it was away to get away from everything else, but she liked everything else. She liked the attention she got from the guys.

"Cheer up, Shar," she heard her brother say from beside her.

"How can I cheer up, Ryan? I'm stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?"

"Oh, come on, sis. It can't be that bad out here," he said sitting next to his sister.

"It can be when the only person around is my brother," she mumbled.

"Did you put on your bathers (Bathing suit)?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Cause we're going swimming."

"Are you mad? I'm not going swimming in the ocean. Who knows what could be out there."

"Fine. I'll go by myself then." She watched as her brother jumped into the clear ocean below and resurface a few feet away. She sighed and turned on her back, ready to bathe in the sun. She lowered her sunglasses and put on her headphones, blocking out the world

She was too wrapped up in her peaceful tan to notice a boat coming towards hers. Her brother, however, did notice and struggled to call out to his sister. She couldn't hear him with her headphones on and didn't register the fact that someone was now on the yacht with her until a shadow hovered over her.

"Ryan, you're blocking my sun," she said but the figure didn't move. She removed her sunglasses. "Ryan, will you bloody mo..." She stopped in the middle of her sentence when she realized the figure above her wasn't her brother.

"Ello poppet," the figure said, his British accent apparent as he reached down and grabbed her. She let out a loud scream as she struggled to get free.

"Sharpay. Hold on!" Ryan yelled as he struggled to reach his sister.

"Ryan! Help!" she screamed and the man clamped his hand over the blonde's mouth. He dragged her over to the edge where his boat sat and handed her to the man on the other side.

"Shar!" By the time Ryan reached the yacht, it was too late. The boat had driven away with his twin sister aboard. He held his head down, feeling like he failed his own flesh and blood. "I'll get you back, Shar. I promise."

New Orleans, Louisiana

Her brown tresses blew in the wind as she walked down the streets of the French Quarter. All her attention was focused on everything around her. Despite the fun atmosphere that was going on, she only had fear in her heart. Fear that the illegal loans she had taken out in order to pay for school would come back to haunt her. She had been warned many times to be wary of loan sharks, but did she listen? No, she didn't. She borrowed from a loan shark and now she was afraid for her life.

She had been out of school for two years now and her job search had been a total waste. It was only a month ago when she received a phone call, one concerning her loan. She had told him that she couldn't pay him back, not yet and he'd given her a month to pay him back. Well, it was near that time to pay up and she had nothing.

Her goal was to stay away from her apartment and from her parents' home. She knew those would be the places he would look for her first. As she walked down the street, she didn't notice the looming shadow until it was too late. She was pulled into an alley and pushed against a wall.

"Thought you could run from me, huh?"

"Please don't hurt me," she cried.

"I'm not gonna hurt you. Why would I do that when you have a debt to pay back?"

"What are you gonna do to me?"

"You'll see sooner or later." He pulled a piece of cloth from his pocket and pressed it against her nose. She struggled to get free but it was no use. The cloth was covered in chloroform. In a few seconds, her body went limp and sagged against his. He picked her up and left the alley, making sure to stay in the shadows so no one could see.