New project removes tattoos that branded women as property

Slowly and painfully, a mark of slavery is fading away.

Blood percolates on Arien Pauls’ chest as a laser removes a large tattoo of a rose on her chest, but it’s worth every pang. Every time the 27-year-old Fresno woman looks in the mirror, or someone calls her rose beautiful, it’s a tormenting reminder that she was once branded like cattle.

She received the mark in a garage at the direction of an abusive pimp. After it was done, she was made to pay for it by having sex with the man who gave it to her.

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