Life After Slavery: Interview with Lucia Mann
Last week I (Emily) had the opportunity to interview one of the victims of trafficking, a woman who has spoken from the depths of her own experiences, written a novel based on her mother’s life story, and started an 800 hotline for women who are victims of trafficking. Thanks so much, Lucia, for your willingness to share your true story with us! Be sure to scroll to the end of the post to listen to the full audio recording of the interview:
1. Your mother’s life sounds like an amazing (and horrific) story. Did her experience as a sex slave victim during WWII occur when she was also a prisoner of the concentration camp?
Sadly, I never knew my mother. Through a private investigator I hired to find her, I learned that she had died in 2006. From her hand-written notebooks I was able to piece her tragic life-story, as well as mine, in my book Rise Above Hate and Anger. She was rounded up in Rome in 1943 and sent to a German brothel at age 10. She was transported along with other children to a concentration camp. I guessed it to be Auschwitz as it is not indentified in her writings. Her tattoo was letter Z – the German identification for Gypsy imprinted on her flesh. Whether her Jewish ancestry that dates back to the Spanish Inquisition was discovered during her internment has not been proven.
How has that impacted you?
At first I felt suffocating grief because she took many secrets to her grave. If it wasn’t for the investigator, I would not be in possession of this knowledge. And my mother never knew that history did indeed repeat itself. You see, after she abandoned me like a discarded rag, left to die a horrible death in a compost pit, I survived, but sadly to follow in her footsteps – live a hellish life of sexual slavery as a young girl. But I have moved on, buried my hurt and pain in my novels, because what my mother didn’t know is that her discarded child had an incredible resilient inner strength. I was not going to become a victim of humankind’s evils like her and other poor souls. NO, I’m a proud survivor, the living testimony of the human spirit to survive against the odds. There IS life after slavery if one doesn’t live in the PAST.
2. Are pieces of her story woven into your novels?
My mother is the impetus of my stories. My latest book: Rise Above Hate and Anger is the revised, rewritten edition of Rented Silence. The reason for the revision is that a scurrilous publisher stole my hopes and dreams and lured me into falsely believing that they were traditional publishers. This claim turned out to be fraudulent as my long years of hard work would never find its way to bookstores, and it was extortionately overpriced on internet sites. Ah, but I have moved on, picked myself up, dusted myself off, and have the courage to go forward.
3. From your experience in South Africa, do you perceive any gaps in the current anti-trafficking campaigns and movements? What other elements or messages would you like to see addressed further or more in-depth?
In my opinion, the current anti-trafficking campaigns and movements are missing a key element, that is, until I decided to fill their obvious oversight. Do you know that until now there was no 1-800 for slave victims? Oh, there are 1-800 numbers to stop smoking, for pets that have worms, for whales and dolphins. In my opinion, they seem to have more rights than humans. So, I took it upon myself to found my own slave reporting centre now operational at www.mdsrc.org and the help line at 1-800-610-7035 ext 227 (or ext 132 for my voice-mail should the line be busy) that is linked to law-enforcement officers. Now all I have to do is get the slave reporting centre exposed so victims can put the word “trust” back into their vocabulary.
4. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Put human-traffickers in jail and throw away the key! On a serious note, I would like to ask every civilized human being on this planet to take five minutes per day to reflect on how he or she could make our world a kinder, safer place not just for this generation but future generations. How would they tackle the situation if one of their loved ones became enslaved by unconscionable folk – by the obscenity of another human owning another? I would like to quote Frederick Douglas:
“Every one of us should be ashamed to be free while his brother is a slave.”
5. How can our readers get a copy of your novels?
They can go to my website store www.luciamann.com/store.htm. It is also available on AmazonKindle, Windows Mobile, Appleipad, Nook etc.
Like I said before, this humble author was scammed and now I have to start all over again. So if there is an agent or publisher who wants to have a dedicated, passionate storyteller on their books, I’m ready to join them.