Sex trafficking survivor shares her story - KPTV - FOX 12

Sex trafficking survivor shares her story

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She didn't want us to share her name, but she wanted to share her story.

We'll call her "Lisa," and she found herself turning tricks at the young age of 15, after she was sexually abused as a child and ran away from home.

"Being homeless and sleeping in cars, you try looking for places to stay. And you run into guys you think that care about you," said Lisa.

One of those men she thought cared about her eventually turned on her, and the shelter, food and gifts she received suddenly became a debt that she owed. The man convinced her to sell the one thing she could: herself.

"I walked the streets, got in different cars," said Lisa. "There was a lot of times I felt like I wasn't going to come out of it alive."

It took several years, but Lisa did make it out alive. She met a man that really did care about her and who helped her take the big step of leaving "the life" behind. Now, she works as a sexual abuse counselor, trying to help young women and girls who are stuck in the same situation she was in. In the Portland area, there are a lot of them.

"I think it's the internet now, more so than anything else," said Lisa. "And it's the strip clubs as well."

Most recently, 24-year-old Ashley Benson was found dead in the stairwell of a Portland hotel. Detectives described Benson as a victim of sex trafficking. She was connected to an escort service and met the man suspected of killing her through the website

"It's really disturbing because that could have been one more life that could have been saved that didn't have to go through that," said Lisa.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month. According to Portland's Sexual Abuse Resource Center, its counselors serve more than 100 survivors of child sexual exploitation per month.

Anyone needing assistance can call SARC's 24-hour crisis hotline at 503-626-9100.

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