As a 10-year-old girl, Grace was abused at the hands of a trusted family member. In her words she says: “This abuse changed the way I saw myself in the mirror, and in the way I presented myself to other people. My self-esteem deteriorated, and my relationships with men were completely skewed. As I grew up I fell into a battle with drugs and an eating disorder.”
Her life was spiraling out of control so she decided to make a change and move in an effort to start over. One day, she met a man who befriended her in her new town. He offered her a job providing massage services out of his home. In her vulnerable state, Grace accepted the job, but it wasn’t long before she discovered she had been lied to. Unknowingly, Grace had fallen into the trap of human trafficking.
Held against her will and forced to sleep with multiple men a day, Grace was sold as a sex slave in the middle of one of the wealthiest and “safest” places in the United States. As time went on, the abuse and conditions became worse and she desperately longed for a way out. Every threat imaginable was thrown at her-- threats of violence, withholding of the drugs to which she was now completely addicted, and harm to her family.
One day, Grace found her trafficker completely passed out after getting high on drugs. She knew this was her only chance to break free. Courageously, she grabbed her phone and ran for her life. After making a call to her mom, she was taken to a rehab program where she began her journey of recovery.
Three years later, Grace is now a sponsor for other women with drug, alcohol, and trafficking backgrounds. “Having the opportunity to share my story with other women, and hopefully save even one from similar abuse, makes me genuinely believe that it’s better that I went through this experience than not having lived it at all.”
Brave words from a brave girl whose story will continue on as a key to freedom for the many more waiting to be rescued.
*Survivor's name and picture has been changed for her protection.