Sometimes physical pain is well worth the emotional relief.
For a sex trafficking survivor, who did not want to be identified, getting the tattoo on the back her leg that says “Daddy’s Girl” covered up, the impact goes much further than skin deep. It helps erase the pain from her past.
“It feels really good, but it hurts really bad,” she said.
Tattoo cover-up sessions like these are organized and paid for by Atlanta Redemption Ink, a nonprofit started by Jessica Lamb.
“We work with sex trafficking survivors, former gang members, former self harmers and individuals that are in recovery that have marks from addiction,” Lamb said.
Since 2017, Atlanta Redemption Ink has helped hundreds of people cover up marks from their past.
Tattoo artists like Crystal Boyd of Pur Ink Tattoos in Alpharetta, Georgia, open their doors and donate their time and talent to become part of this healing process.
“It definitely weighs on me,” Boyd said of the tattoo cover-up experiences. “A lot of them do open up and talk to me while I’m tattooing them and it’s hard not to cry.”
Many of these recipients say fresh ink gives them a fresh start at life.
“I feel like a brand new person not branded with somebody’s name on me,” said the tattoo coverup recipient.
With her body once branded with her pimp’s name tattooed across her chest and “Cash Only” written on wrists, this sex trafficking survivor is now confident that these cover-ups will help open up a better life.
“That’s me and my son” she said, while pointing out a recent cover-up. “And I got like the universe because he’s like my world; my universe.”
She says before Atlanta Redemption Ink, she thought there were only two ways to get out of the sex trafficking industry: jail or death
She says these new tattoos have given her a new life with a new goal.
“I’m going to help girls like me somehow,” she said. “I don’t know how, but one day I will.”
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