Stories

I met my trafficker when I was 16 years old, working as a hostess and learning to serve. He was a very suave, charming man who happened to be 30. He gave me rides and began to hang out. It turned into gifts here and there on those rides and having conversations which turned into sex which then turned into having sex with others. From the beginning, and from that first time, I knew something wasn’t right. It distanced me from my family. And that’s when he became physically violent. And I was afraid. There is so much manipulation involved, there’s so much of the up down, you know, one minute you’re beating me, but the next minute you’re telling me how much you love me. I didn’t realize I was sexually exploited. It was a type of brainwashing. I think that a major movement needs to happen at the at-risk point. When social workers at school are aware that these children are going through divorce or they know something is not quite right at home...a kind word, just plant seeds. Or you have that social workers or even the people in the community, even parents have to be aware. What I always tell my girls, it’s not who you are, you know, it’s a part of your life, it’s what you’ve been through, but it’s not who you are.