Life After Trafficking, part 1
Hello and Welcome, I am very blessed to have you join me in this series. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post my goal this week is to take my story back, and educate the public about what life is like as a survivor of human trafficking.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of this week’s series, I feel that it is important to be blunt about how I wound up in captivity. My story has been told time and time again. And we all know about Eden. But the story that Eden told is very far from the reality that I experienced. There are critics out there who accuse me of lying about my experience because of the Hollywood version of my life is not the same as the personal story that I have shared time and time again. Eden is not a documentary. Eden is a fictional story that found inspiration from my life.
I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. I had what many would consider a tough childhood. Like many young girls I had a very poor self-image, my home life was not warm and cozy, I rebelled and I made some poor decisions as a young woman. But none of those decisions merit what happened to me after I tried to get my act together. I left home against the wishes of my parents, and we fell out of touch. After moving to Dallas I met a handsome man in a bar. We spent the following weeks in each other’s company almost non-stop. So it was not surprise for him to want me to meet his parents. I wanted to be loved so bad that I believed everything he said. I wanted so badly for his words to be true.
When we left to visit his parents it took me a while to realize that we weren’t traveling in the right direction. I wasn’t familiar with Dallas, and the highway system was foreign to me. It turned out that I was being kidnapped. It wasn’t until it was too late that I realized what was happening, and I had no way out. I was held for weeks against my will. To this day I am not sure what he was doing, but it was clear that something was not working out in his favor.
This is when Kat came into my life. She took me off of his hands and told me that she would help me into a better situation if I would cooperate with her. By “cooperate” she meant work for her as an escort. I was so happy to be out of my former situation that I was happy to work for her. She gave me a place to stay, she fed me, and I wasn’t doing anything crazy. All she wanted me to do was accompany men to events. I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. Until one of these men tried to force himself on me. I escaped and went immediately to the police. The police who would not file my report because I was “a prostitute”. I was devastated, but I trusted Kat and knew that she would take care of me. Only she didn’t. She made a phone call and drove me to a parking lot where two large men were waiting for us. I was bound and gagged and pushed into the floor of a van which drove us for hours and hours. The van that drove us to the compound where I would be held in a storage unit with dozens of other girls and forced to sell my body. The van that drove me to my nightmare, where I was beaten, starved, and tortured until I agreed to play along.
I eventually was able to escape. But when I escaped I was badly damaged. I was addicted to drugs that I had been force fed for years. I had no money, no identification, no place to live, no way to make a living. I couldn’t go home. It had been years since I had spoken to my family, and they surely believed that I had abandoned them. I had nowhere to turn, so I turned to the streets.
I definitely did not see a happy ending at this time of my life. And as you will learn tomorrow, the victimization continued for many many years. Thank you for joining me today. Together we will bring awareness to the realities that exist underground in broad daylight. I hope to see you again tomorrow.