There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking.
Gaby was suffering from drug and alcohol addiction when she posted an ad online to find a job in modelling or web-camming. Her ad was answered by a college professor who rented an apartment for her and other women to stay in where men would come in to purchase sex. Gaby was afraid to leave because her trafficker had all of her information. He had her ID, her social security card, and he knew where she lived. Gaby was in a controlled environment where she was allowed to leave. She always went back because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn't. One day she found a church, went inside, and wrote a suicide note on a prayer card. The church's female pastor found the note and tracked down Gaby. The pastor told her to not go back and she gave Gaby a place to stay in her family's home. Gaby never went back, she went to rehab and became part of Wellspring Living Program for young girls and women who have been trafficked. She now supports herself with a government job and is raising her 8-year old son.
Before you get into life you're probably used to chaos, dysfunction, self-destruction, self-harm, tragedies, you know. I was just really kind of going deeper, deeper deeper, and deeper into the depression, but I had to keep going I had to keep working, I had to pay for things. So, you kind of become a shell and you just do, you don't really, you know take care of yourself.
I stayed in a room for the entire day and men would come to the door and I would get a text from the male that was trafficking me, the trafficker, and he would let me know that it dududuh, this amount, they'll be there at this time. And it didn't feel awesome at all, didn't feel good. I think I got worse with drugs and alcohol once I got in there. You would do a lot of drugs and drink a lot to avoid you know the reality of it, to numb yourself to it too.
And then, you know on top of this, I have a son out there that I couldn't be there for. His father was like ‘I'm you know what I'm taking custody,’ because I was out of control with drugs and alcohol before we got to this point. Because it was like my last resort, what I had to do to pay for the things that I had to pay for, like rent you know. I already, it was geared, you know, to go that route. I felt something pulling me to a church because I know that churches help people, well I thought it, and of course they did, you know. And I mean, God is mysterious.
And then when you go into wellspring, it's like heaven and hell. It's like, it’s peace, and you begin to love yourself in there. That's what wellspring does, that's what's awesome about Wellspring. Like thank you, thank you, for giving a crap about me for once.
And they, it really kind of brings you back to life, slowly. You have to. you know, give up your cell phone, give up going on a path by yourself, give up drinking give up all this stuff. But it's so worth it.
I trust this place I mean with everything. I trust it with everything, because it works.
All credit to Wellspring Living
Original Narrative can be found here