About one-third of American adults have a tattoo, according to the Pew Center; the most popular are butterflies, dragons, roses and flowers. But for some Americans, there’s no joy in tattoos.
These are gang members and victims of sex trafficking who are forcibly branded by pimps and gang leaders, making it difficult to escape. For those who manage to get out of these dangerous situations, the branding marks provide permanent, embarrassing, and sometimes dangerous reminders of that past.
Listen to this story where Dr. Shadi Kourroush, a Massachusetts dermatologist and Dr. Rachel Niemiec, a nurse practitioner who is a survivor of sex trafficking, discuss how traffickers force their victims to get tattoos – and how removing them is vital way for survivors to heal from these traumas. STAC would like to find professionals to help with voluntary tattoo removals. Please contact us with your thoughts at stac@surviveandthriveadvocacy.