Recently, a former sex trafficking victim who has joined us as an intelligence analyst for our counter human trafficking program called “Skull Games” shared her trafficking story with us. We want to share this incredible journey with our readers. We’ve left out some details to guard her privacy.
I’m a 32-year-old mother to three children. I have two daughters and one son. I started being trafficked in 2012 and left my trafficker in 2016. My grandma, who was a big support system to me, passed away in 2009, and this caused me to turn away from God and start not really caring about my actions or the consequences for them.
I was working two jobs at the time and going to school. I ended up getting a DUI one night after leaving the club, and because my mother was a co-signer on my car, she took it away from me. At the time I had my own apartment and I had no way of paying my rent. I was friends with this guy I knew from high school who ended up being a pimp, and he led me into the sex industry. He taught me how to talk to tricks, how to get more money, how to fake having sex with tricks, and basically all the points of prostitution.
I began working on a major boulevard in a large tourist-driven economy city. After about 5 months, I decided that I did not want to sell my body anymore. It started taking an emotional toll on me, and I told my pimp I no longer wanted to do it. He took me home to my mom’s house.
After about a month or so of being back at my mom’s, I ended up relapsing and decided to try out at a strip club. I was still testing the boundaries of the industry. I felt like I was safer being in the strip club. I felt like I was in a more controlled environment. I wasn’t having sex for money anymore, so I felt like what I was doing wasn’t as bad.
After about 3 months of stripping, I connected with a man online and ended up meeting up with him. He started out as my boyfriend, and then a few months into our relationship he began to take my money from me, forcing me to go back out and work the streets again. He felt that I wasn’t making enough money in the strip club, so I needed to begin prostituting to bring in more cash.
After being on the street for a while, security and vice officers began recognizing the women in the sex industry from the other establishments we frequented. Before long, they knew each of us by our first and last names. I began to get arrested often. After being arrested so many times, the pimp I was involved with got the idea to traffic me across state lines.
He took me to another large city in the region. The first night I was there I made a decent amount of money. My early financial success helped him decide to force me into staying there for weeks at a time.
Meanwhile, this man was also keeping my children away from me at home. I begged him to let me come back home, but he wouldn’t allow it. I returned home for a couple days at a time. This man regularly abused me mentally and physically. He even took my kids and called me on the speakerphone, while instructing them to tell me that they would never see me again.
During one of the many times that I left him (I tried to leave him plenty of times throughout the time he was trafficking me), he ended up giving my kids to my mom. After that, he couldn’t take them from me anymore.
In 2015 while I was working in another large city, I ended up getting arrested on what is known as an in-call – when a “trick” comes to a specified location as opposed to the trafficked person going to him. Vice officers responded to an ad I had posted online. When they arrived, I was in the room with another girl who had heroin on her at the time. I ended up going to jail for the heroin and for the prostitution charges. After I got out of jail my trafficker picked me up and brought me home. Once home, he made me head back to the major boulevard to work again.
One night I was out working until about five in the morning. I texted my trafficker nonstop asking if I could come home. He refused to answer the phone or reply to any of my texts, so I decided to go home anyway. My friend was living with me in a spare room at the time. She had her own pimp who was frequently staying at the house too. He and my trafficker were friends.
In this instance, my friend was with me, so we both headed home together. When I got home, I noticed a car parked in my driveway that I did not recognize. My friend and I went inside. She went to her room and I went to mine, but I found the bedroom door locked.
I kicked down the door and discovered my trafficker asleep in my bed with a girl I didn’t know. I woke both of them up and kicked her out of my house. Furious, I told my trafficker that I did not want to be with him anymore.
He snapped and went into a violent rage. For roughly 15 to 20 minutes, he beat me up. By the time it was over, I had two black eyes, fractured ribs, he split my left ear open, and broke my eardrum. I was knocked unconscious, and then he tried to strangle me to death.
In the fog I can remember trying, unsuccessfully, to pull his hands off of my neck. My friend’s pimp heard what was happening and finally burst into the room and pulled him off of me. I’m certain my friend’s pimp saved my life. When I was able to climb to my feet, I told my trafficker I was going to call the police. This scared both the men into leaving my house. I went to the hospital, but I lied and told the staff I was caught in a bar fight to account for my injuries.
I didn’t talk to my trafficker for about two weeks after the attack. Then one day, he showed up in the sliding glass door outside my bedroom. This time he was bleeding terribly. He told me he got in a fight and that his opponent stabbed him. He said that during the brawl, he punched a police officer so he ran and couldn’t go to the hospital in case the police were looking for him. I ended up feeling bad because he was hurt, and I wanted to nurse him back to health. This is how his cycle of abuse with me started all over again.
After some time went by, he sent me to a lot of different places. I had already been arrested in the city I had been working, and the police had a warrant out for my arrest. So my pimp sent me to several large cities across the U.S.
In 2016, I was working in one of those large cities when on an out-call, a “trick” almost raped me. I was already scared, but my trafficker still forced me to work there. Just two weeks later, I had a “trick” come to my room and put a gun to my head. I didn’t react in fear. I went into fight or flight mode. I did and said anything I could think of to save my life. I told him I wasn’t there alone and that my pimp was going to beat him up. I told him the hotel had him on camera coming to my room. I basically said anything I could to make him leave. Eventually it worked.
After he left, I remember panic setting in. I cried hysterically. At the time I remember thinking “where was my pimp?” Why wasn’t he protecting me? I felt like I was going to end up dead in a hotel room and my kids were going to have no mom.
I got on my knees and started praying to God to help me and just guide me in a better direction. The next day I completely stopped answering my trafficker. He kept calling and texting me, but I wouldn’t pick up the phone. I got on a plane and flew back home to my mom’s house, and I never went back into the sex industry or back to my pimp. I left all my belongings, everything I had, at my trafficker’s house and completely stopped answering him. From that point onward, he never came after me again.
Throughout the time I was being trafficked, my mom had no idea what was going on. All she knew was I was constantly leaving, constantly getting on planes, and constantly gone.
In 2013, she found an organization that helps sex trafficking survivors through a friend. The founder of the organization ended up explaining to my mom that I was being trafficked. My mom hired a private investigator to follow me, and he ended up confirming what the founder had explained to my mom. She was heartbroken, but ultimately she couldn’t do anything to save me unless I wanted to save myself. The organization continued to provide resources to my mom and my children throughout the entire time I was trafficked. The organization’s founder reached out to me numerous times, but I didn’t want anything to do with her.
When I left the sex industry in 2016, I ended up dating my then-husband. He was head of security at the strip club where I used to dance. He used drugs a lot in the beginning of our relationship and ended up being abusive towards me. This resulted in him being sent to jail for a little less than a year. Prior to him going to jail I became pregnant with our son. When he finished his jail time I wanted to believe he had changed, so we ended up getting back together. We were married in 2018, and it was, in the moment, the happiest time in my life.
I ended up working for an online company that I really enjoyed until the pandemic began in 2020 and I lost my job. I was home from 2020 to 2021. In September of 2021, I was invited to a training weekend in Colorado at the All Things Possible Training Center.
Going to the ATP “Samantha Weekend” event for survivors was the best choice I ever made. It completely changed my life. During the weekend, I was prayed for and freed from the bondage that had been holding me down for years. My relationship with God was made so much stronger. I went home feeling empowered.
With friends to support me, we went to the large city where I had warrants against me so I could face them. The district attorney and judge there ended up dismissing and dropping all my charges because they had seen the changes I made. I had stayed out of trouble and had not picked up any new charges.
After returning home, I decided that I was going to press charges against my trafficker. On the same day I made my recorded statement for the police, I found out some horrifying news.
After my husband left for work, my oldest daughter handed me a note that said my husband had been touching her in sexual ways. I immediately called 911 and reported him to the authorities. The organization founder removed me and my children from the house. We went to a hotel room and then to a safe house.
For four days the police tried to get my husband to leave my house, but they were unable to contact him. Finally on the 4th day, they served a swat team warrant and entered my house to discover that he had committed suicide on the couch.
After all this good had been happening in my life, it was so hard to come to terms with the fact the man I loved and trusted had been abusing my child in horrific ways and was now dead. It all happened so fast.
I waited a few days before going back home. Out of necessity, I had to return to pick up all of my belongings in order to move back to my mom’s house. I wasn’t working at the time and had set up several interviews and various jobs prior to finding out my husband was a pedophile.
Due to the severe shock and distressed mental state I was in, the people helping me felt like working at a place that wouldn’t understand my trauma would be a bad idea. That is when I was offered a job working alongside other survivors, advocating for and mentoring women and children who are still trapped within the sex industry or who have already gotten out and are just trying to stay stable in their healing process.
It’s now 2022, and 6 months have gone by since finding out my husband abused my daughter. I’m still processing all of this and coming to some kind of understanding about why he made the choices he did. I’m convinced that my walk with the Lord had become too strong for Him to allow such evil to continue in my life. God protected me and my children. Recently, I officially pressed charges against my trafficker.
Since September of 2021, I have been to three more weekends at the All Thing Possible Training Center. I now help to bring participants to these weekends. These weekends change people’s lives; they help bring closure and healing; they bring people closer to Jesus; they restore faith in humanity. Prior to me going to the first training, I had no faith that decent men even existed. Now I have faith in men and know that Godly, amazing, respectful men do exist in this world.
As we shared in our introduction, this Victim-to-Victor has also recently become a hunter of sexual predators by assisting us as an intelligence analyst for our Skull Games program.