Trigger warning. I know trigger warnings are sometimes used carelessly, but really, if you have any sort of sexual or violence trigger – please stay away from this story.
I am not really allowed to talk about this. Officially it’s all a lie, a myth spread by the press. But I was there. I saw the corpses. And I saw the silicone.
Let me get this straight, this is not a story and it won’t have a satisfying, creepy or twisty ending. The most I can offer is that you might start to doubt that we humans deserve to exist. At least that’s what I think right now, when I think about the people that do these things. When I think that they get money for it; when I think about the fact that somebody pays for such ‘services’. And when I know that they, buyers and sellers, are still out there.
The fact is this: I didn’t understand what I was seeing when we found the first corpse, the one of a young girl. Every hole in her body was ripped open – and then they had made some more holes and used those too. My partner at the time, Georgia, threw up when she saw the body. We were called in and we were told that it would be a gruesome sight – but there are some things you just don’t expect to see even if you are told that you will see them. I too had to fight hard to hold my stomach contents back down while I was pulling the black plastic sheet over her body.
Usually the plastic sheet is to protect the victim from the prying eyes of curious onlookers. That time it felt more like the sheet was there to protect the potential onlookers from an image they would never be able to get out of their head. I still can’t get it out of my head – the way she was lying, with wounds all over her body and blood everywhere; with her lips torn and with even her eye sockets ripped open.
Back then we thought it would be an isolated case, just a single extremely violent rape. That happens far often than anyone would care to admit – and most of the times the perpetrators get away. They live normal lives; one of them probably already stood in the Starbucks queue behind you or thanked you when you allowed him to enter the bus first.
Then, not even a month later, we got a call for the second body. Georgia and I weren’t on the scene, but while we were sitting in our car, waiting to guard some irrelevant VIP, we heard the description on the radio. I saw in Georgia’s eyes that she too relived the scene, vivid with the sound of cars and the rancid sweet smell of rotting flesh.
They put together a task force; Georgia and I weren’t even asked – we were just assigned to join it. Usually they ask, so I think they knew that we would have said no.
Call me selfish. Sure I wanted to catch that disgusting monster that did these crimes. But being on the taskforce means mostly to inspect every piece of evidence over and over; to stare at the photos for days at a time, to listen to the same descriptions, to ask dozens of people questions – hoping at the same that they do know something ,so that you can end the case and catch the monster, and that they don’t know anything, because you just don’t want to hear it anymore.
The third body showed up not even a week later. It was dumped in a small alley; no one had seen a thing. But the third one was different. He was as young as the first two, maybe around fifteen. But he was a boy, or at least he had been one.
His body still looked male. They hadn’t started the hormone therapy yet. But they had cut his balls and penis of. Then they carved something similar to a vagina into his body, right where his penis should have been. There were cuts in his chest, one of which had killed him. The coroner thought it must have been some sort of ritual, but to me it looked like something else. To me it looked as if someone had taken a boy and tried to make him a girl.
None of the victims had a match in the missing person database. Imported, I thought.
That’s another thing that you don’t want to think about, but it’s real. We make jokes about the Thai ladyboys, the funny moment when a Western guy goes to Thailand to get a hooker – but finds one penis too many in the bed. For some of those Thai ladyboys it’s a choice. But for many it isn’t. When you laugh about ladyboys you laugh about a poor child that likely was stolen from his home – and then made a woman and then forced to get himself raped, day in and day out until they die from all the disease the rapists bring.
And you also don’t want to think about the fact that it happens here too, in your country. We are not as superior as we think. Our criminals are just richer, they are better at hiding it. Bodies usually don’t land on the street; they end up in the sea or in an industrial meat grinder. Another reason why I don’t eat mince meat.
When we found that boy, the third body, something made click. Genetic tests confirmed it: The second body, too, had been a boy. A boy, shaped into a girl, then used like a piece of meat. The first one we found, the one I saw sprawled on the floor with holes all over her body, turned out to have actually been a girl.
You might blame the coroner for sloppiness. I don’t know why he wouldn’t have caught the gender transformation. I honestly don’t know. Maybe scars of breast implants and ‘beauty operations’ are too frequent in the side-of-the-street business that we had assumed was her trade. Either way, it was caught. And the one thing that didn’t get out of my head for months and months, while all our leads went cold and nothing else happened – during all those months I just couldn’t get the thought out of my head that they had made him into a girl. And then he lived; probably for months, maybe for years.
And then, one day, they decide to cut holes into his body.
It was nearly six months after the third body that we got the call for the basement; a basement in a supposedly abandoned house with somehow too much noise for being ‘abandoned.’
I wasn’t at the scene, but I interviewed one of the kids later. I also saw photos of the bleak wall of bare stones, the filthy mattresses, the metal plates, and the thick metal door.
It took us a while to figure out the right translator. There are too many languages in South America, and while we were looking for a translator we weren’t even sure the kids were from South America.
Most barely spoke, and even those that did spoke in a way that our native translator barely understood. That’s what happens when you are born on the street in the third or four generation – born to a mother that lived on the street.
In some countries the police beat and kill the street children. They are considered a pest, an unsightly thing that needs to be eliminated, for example when foreign visitors or sports events come to town, or just when a major wants to get reelected. They hunt the kids down, literally.
I don’t know how horrible it must be to be born on the street. I don’t think anybody can imagine that, the horrors you hear at night, the screams of pain one floor up or down or next door in another building that is falling apart. But the worst is that those kids feel relieve, when they cuddle together. They feel relieve that the screams they are hearing are not their own.
The boys who grow up on the street, if they survive, are often forced to join gangs – or in some countries, the military. The girls have a different fate. If they are lucky they become dancers or waitresses, some manage to marry gang leaders or be the affairs of business men twenty or thirty years their senior.
But most are forced to continue the cycle: Either they give up and try to take money for it, or they don’t give up and they are forced to endure it anyway. Both ways, they are forced to lie in the dirt with a body moving up and down on theirs, well-knowing that that humping might cause the next street child to be born, if it’s not growing in their bellies already.
You might wonder why that is relevant. I think it is relevant because that’s the only way I can explain the kid I was interviewing, the way she spoke and behaved. We pulled six kids out of that basement, two girls and four boys. They told us that there had been two more boys; that those had been ‘chosen’ already.
They were smuggled in, first by ship, then by truck carried deeper into the country. The girl told me that on the ship they had barely been able to move; five each were packed in one container, together with tires and metal tools. All in her container survived, but two in the other one, the one with the tires, died.
They didn’t even open the doors; they didn’t even remove the bodies. The crane heaved the container on a truck – the kids inside, age 12 to 16, didn’t even see it happening, there was no light. They only heard and felt the metal on metal and the shaking container. Then the truck started rolling, rolled for long, loud, stuffy hours. The girl told me she was passed out most of the time.
When they arrived, smack in the night, they were hushed out of the container, straight into the house. They were told to shower. Then the boys were locked downstairs; the girls didn’t have that time to relax. They were used first, then thrown in with the boys.
She told me that she and the other girl made jokes when they were thrown into the basement to the boys. It wasn’t new to them. It wasn’t the first time. They thought it was their price; the last price they had to pay before the deal came true.
The deal – the one the man in the suit had offered them back home, when he picked the kids up in the ruins of an old shopping center – was that they would have to give up everything. They had to give up who they were, their names, their ethnicity, their language. They were told that they would be shipped out and then ‘made fit’ for their future.
Made fit, in that context, means that they were made ready for the buyer. The buyer says what he is looking for, whether a girl that can get pregnant, or one that cannot; the girls knew that that was the deal. They willingly gave up their old life for it. Better to live in misery but in safety than to live in misery and still fear for your life.
I don’t know whether the boys were fully sure what made fit meant for them. It’s rare that the buyer wants to buy a boy. Rather, he wants to buy a token of power. He wants to prove his own power by taking a man and then take away that man’s manhood. The boys are not bought as boys; they are bought as trophies for their owners, evidence of the owner’s power to take everything.
I don’t know whether those boys are also used; probably some are. But I don’t think that’s what anybody would buythem for; they are bought because the buyer likes what the property stands for. The emasculation of the boy proves the owners’ masculinity and power.
That’s what it’s all about: Sex and power; humans as the ultimate toys and tokens for other humans.
A month after we found the six children we found the fourth body.
The description matched so well that they sent a whole squad out to secure the area, collect all potential evidence and find every possible witness.
When we arrived there were only four officers at the scene. They looked pale, grey almost. Still, they stood their ground, kept the crowd away from the alley – a crowd that normally wouldn’t have bothered to look inside the grim and dirty dead end. But everything is interesting if a police car with flashing lights stands in front of it.
We walked in, two other officers at my side and Georgia, more careful, behind us.
Within a few seconds I threw up, then I cried.
I didn’t just cry for the poor girl or boy on the floor, I cried for the other three; for the three cold faces that I had stared at hundreds of times in the previous months. And I cried for the six that barely got away.
Number four, who also looked like a girl but actually was a boy, looked in every way worse than the others. His ‘vagina’ was more torn, so was his anus and even his face. Then there was the large red tattoo on his forehead which said “Retour.”
But the worst and the reason I cried not just for one but for four dead teenagers were the holes. The holes in his body weren’t just gaping flesh wounds. The holes in his body – two holes right above the ‘vagina’, several in his stomach, one in his side, one in his right leg, and two in his lower back – weren’t just holes. They were filled with a rubbery material.
I think that must have been their specialism. Over the years several groups have been caught committing such crimes. But this one, they decided to be unique, have something on offer that no one else in the whole world can – or wants to – offer.
Have you ever seen a “fleshlight,” these fake silicone vaginas? I don’t want to say more than that. That’s what they were, not necessarily the brand, but something like that.
They were embedded in the body. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that they were used there as well.
It’s been half a year now. We still haven’t found any evidence. The six kids are in safety now, they are lucky to be underage, they won’t be deported. If you want a silver lining – there it is. Six street kids, still illiterate, won’t be deported until a judge decides that they look like eighteen; then they quickly need to find a job.
But I still wake up with sweat covering my face and back. In not even two years I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know. The six kids knew exactly the frequently with which the man in the suit came to the ruin. Every two weeks he takes ten kids to a better place. Those six I met, they waited for him. They came several weeks in a row, tried to be clean enough and the first ones in line so that they would be picked for a better life.
And those four that I met dead – they too probably waited, hoped for a better life. Two must have learned over weeks or months that the “better life” was actually worse than their last one, the silicone under your skin and between your muscles hurts and aches and itches.
One was lucky enough to die before he had to live through it all. He died before the operation was finished – and I suppose those creatures that were transforming his body from male to female figured that it would be a waste to let a good corpse go bad and had some fun with it.
And one, that’s not the official conclusion, but that’s mine, one was transformed, used and then sent back like a broken laptop. He didn’t fit the specifications. “Retour.” As if the buyer wanted a refund.
I still can’t get the pictures out of my head – any of them. But the worst is the first girl, the one whose image is burned right into my retina; every time I see her face and body I feel my stomach cramp. I pitied her; I felt her suffering even when I saw her for the first time; I thought it could as well have been my mother or sister.
Now I don’t think that anymore. Now I know that she was born in the wrong place, tried to make an escape for a better place – and only ended up worse. Now I see the gaping holes in her body and all I can think of is how someone must have stood there, next to her dead body – or maybe she was still alive – to pull out the silicone that was in her body for months, maybe even years.
This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.