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Sex trafficked: Anna's story

After going to Malaysia for a job as a waitress, 'Anna' was trapped against her will and forced into prostitution
/ Source: Dateline NBC

"Anna," who has asked that we disguise her identity, was trafficked to Malaysia from her home in the Philippines in early 2007.

Promised a job as a waitress, she arrived to find her traffickers had something very different in mind.

Anna: My manager told us we will work as a prostitute … I go there, I'm still virgin. I tell my friend I don't want this work because I cannot give myself to anybody ... My boss tell me I sign contract, I cannot go back Philippines. 

She was forced to sign an official-looking contract which spells out how much she owes her traffickers.

Anna: Air ticket, 500 ringgit. Cash advance, 1,600 ringgit. Travel tax, 150 ringgit.

When she went to Malaysian immigration officials for help, they turned around and called her traffickers.

Anna: The higher official at the immigration he asked me how can I pay my debt to my boss if I did not work?  He said, just go back to work … The Malaysian officer know what will happen to us because sometimes they also go to pub … They choose girl, the girl sit beside them and then if they want to make love with them, but no pay.

That night Anna’s virginity was sold for $80.

Anna: I can do nothing because my boss tell me I need -- I need to do that. (crying) If I did not do that I cannot pay my debt, I cannot go back to Philippines.

Anna was forced to work up to 17 hours a day, seven days a week for months on end.

Anna: When a customer comes, then our mommy will call us then introduce us one by one then the customer will choose. If the customer want to make love with you he will tell the mommy then he will pay then you go out, in the other room.

At her real mother's urging, the Philippine embassy in Malaysia began looking for Anna.  In June 2007, they tracked down her trafficker and called to inquire about Anna’s well-being.

Anna: My boss call me in. I see in the office two policeman, my boss, my mannager, and my boss tell me, call your mother, say to the embassy that you're ok, you're fine, you work here. If I did not do that, the police will bring me to jail.

Anna did as she was told, but she memorized the number of the Philippine embassy and later that night called back in a panic.

Anna: “I work here as a prostitute, I lost my virginity here, and then I got sick.  I want to go home and please help me.”

The Philippine embassy staged a rescue and helped return Ana home to the Philippines.  She is free but not well.

Anna: Maybe I have -- I’m afraid I have AIDS.

After our interview, Anna was diagnosed with human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical and other cancers. She will soon undergo a test for HIV/AIDS.

Watch Dateline Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. for more on this story.