(CNN)At the age of 12, on the way home from the movies, Melanie Thompson says she was kidnapped on the streets near her family home in New York City. She was forced into prostitution, and for more than eight years she was sold for sex on the street, online and in underground strip clubs.
New York street art shines a light on human trafficking
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"I felt like it was never going to end. I was raped all the time, I was bought all the time, people would come and do unimaginable things to me," she told CNN.
Thompson, aged 23, is now free, though she still bears the scars. She has bite marks on her neck and a scar on her arm from when a pimp attacked her with a knife.
"I may be physically out, but I still feel mentally trapped... Even to this day, I still struggle with viewing myself as a person who's worth something more than sex or money," she said.
Thompson's story is now represented in a mural on Manhattan's 25 Bridge Street, and her experience can be heard by simply scanning the image using the "Behind the Wall" phone app.
This is part of an initiative by the NGO Street Art for Mankind (SAM) to raise awareness of child slavery through art.
The campaign features six graffiti murals by international artists, depicting different forms of slavery across the world, including sex trafficking in the US, domestic slavery in Europe, and child soldiers in Africa -- as well as child labor in the fashion industry in Asia, the fish industry in Latin America and the chocolate industry in Africa.
The images are not direct representations of the victims, but rather an "allegory of the issue," said Audrey Decker, co-founder of SAM along with her husband Thibault Decker. "The point being that this child could be any child, including ours," she added.