Sex Trafficking Survivor Presents to Seniors

Jasmine Marino Warns of the Damage of Illegal Sex Trade


Greg Tsougas

Marino inspires and educates WHS upperclassmen by sharing her story and personal experiences.

Jasmine Marino, a sex trafficking survivor, presented a speech to Walpole High School seniors on the topic of sex trafficking on March 4. Students in WHS’s International Relations class suggested to teacher Jamie O’Leary that Marino speak to the school. The class studies global conflicts such as sex trafficking, terrorism and mass migration. 

Marino is the founder of the Bags of Hope outreach ministry initiative. Bags of Hope seeks to provide to women that may be affected by sex trafficking, homelessness and addiction with toiletries, deodorants, soaps and clothing. The organization acts to bring general awareness to the horrors of the sex trade across the U.S. as well. Marino has spoken on local news stations, acted as the subject for various news articles and has appeared at numerous educational institutions to deliver speeches. 

“I hope that through all of my speeches, interviews and news deliverances that victims of sex trafficking are not seen as products for sale, but as humans. I believe that all humans deserve dignity, respect, and humanity,” Marino said. 

Marino detailed to students and staff her experiences while she was a part of the sex trade industry. As a young woman, the economic prospects associated with the trade enticed and trapped Marino.  

“I want all of my listeners to understand that the sex trade may appear glamorous and glittery, but it truly is not. The sex trade is dark, hopeless and damages the soul,” Marino said. 

As Marino mentioned in her speech, “sugar baby” relationships have become prevalent across college campuses across the country. Recently, “sugar babies,” usually younger men or women, seek economic and financial support from “sugar daddies” or “sugar mamas.” According to Marino, these relationships usually result in struggles of autonomy between partners and sexual abuse. 

“College girls may have their debts and rents paid, but usually these benefits are not without a cost. These ‘sugar daddies’ sometimes coerce girls into sex and performing various sexual favors,” Marino said.

From descriptions of her experiences as a worker in the sex trade, mother and former addict, Marino deeply moved some students at WHS. 

“I thought the speech was very inspirational and super impactful. I admired her authenticity and ability to convey the commonness of sex trafficking. I think it is important for all young women to hear her speech,” senior Lila MacKinnon said. 

Each year, 300,000 children are reported missing in the United States and about one-third of these children fall into the sex trade. Marino reported in her speech that the average age for a young girl to enter the sex trade ranges from ages 12 to 14. 

“Some people think that it may be easy to exit such a grueling industry, but this really isn’t the case. Some of these girls are trafficked at such young ages that they are not able to acquire the financial and educational resources required to escape the trade and function in society,” Marino said.  

Through her speeches and advocacy, Marino strives to fight the procession of the sex trade and violence against women.