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"They look her in the eye."A year later, I met Sreypov again.

"Then one day, a man opened the door and said, 'Do you want a client?

' I didn't know what he meant, but I knew it was bad. Then he brought me to a room for punishment." She pauses for a moment.

She knows what will happen next: She will be tortured—whipped with metal cables, locked in a cage, shocked with a loose electrical wire—and then gang raped. When she was 7 years old—an age when most girls are going to slumber parties—she was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city, to work as a sex slave. For years, pimps forced Sreypov to have sex with as many as 20 men a day. Today, she's ready to tell her story, talking openly about her enslavement and escape, and about coming to terms with her dark past. More than 12 million people are now victims of forced prostitution and labor across the world.

If she didn't meet her quota, or if she tried to run away, she was punished in unthinkable ways—burned with a hot poker, covered with biting insects. The buying and selling of humans is a $32 billion global business, according to the U. State Department's 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report.

I learn that a pimp gouged out the girl's eye with a piece of metal when she dared to ask for a rest from clients after an abortion.

Sreypov sits on her bed and begins her life story, with the help of a translator named Chanthan Roeurn. "She was terribly unhappy; all the love drained out of our lives.On the second evening, her new employers drove her to another home, in Phnom Penh, where she ate dinner and went to bed. Sreypov, Chanthan, and I are on our way to a center for rescued sex slaves.Sreypov, who once stayed at the center herself, returns often to talk with the girls, all of whom are under age 18. As we bounce along, we pass oxcarts, open-air homes on stilts, bony goats, and naked kids playing close to the road."I had to drink the man's urine." The abuses escalated in the following days.She was tied up and covered with biting ants, whipped with an electric cable. Sreypov stares off into the distance, awaiting the next question.Then he took a hot metal rod and jammed it inside her as well. "I couldn't speak." Soon after, the client raped her.

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