There is no definitive face of sex trafficking, nor is there a definitive experience. Each survivor’s story is unique.

It is important to remember that once a victim is recovered, this is not the end of his or her story. As survivors work through psychological traumas and potentially long, drawn out criminal cases, we must come together to support every survivor’s journey to justice.

I was groomed.

"When I was 16 years old, I met some older men at the local mall. One of the men started taking me on dates and buying me clothes and meals. Not long after we started dating, he coerced me into sex trafficking, convincing me that if I complied, I would never need to rely on anyone ever again. At 17 years old, I was forced to make at least $1,000 per day. Eventually, my traffickers forced me to take on a different role where I was in charge of recruiting more teenagers to be exploited in commercial sex. Most of the money went to my traffickers. To keep me under their control, my traffickers threatened my family who lived nearby."  —Taylor, Survivor

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"I was exposed to things no child should ever have to be exposed to. I did things that no human being should ever have to go through." 

—RD, Survivor

 
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I was afraid to leave.

"I was afraid to leave because he knew where my family lived, he was aware where my friends lived, he was aware of the high school that I went to, he knew so much about me….I didn’t want this part of my life to be exposed." 

—Katrina, Survivor and Advocate

 
 
 

"What I've been through is not who I am." 

—Katrina, Survivor and Advocate

 
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“To rebuild your life, you have to know that you matter. You aren't just someone worth saving.

You're someone worth fighting for.” 

—RT, Survivor and Advocate

 

Our Survivors Council

At ECPAT-USA, we believe one of the keys to ending sex trafficking is not only showing empathy for survivors, but listening to their recommendations for how to better support other survivors, protect vulnerable populations, and craft legislation and policies that will be the most effective in preventing child sex trafficking.

It is from this understanding that ECPAT-USA sought to create the Survivors Council, which allows for a direct line of communication between those working to end commercial sexual exploitation and those who have first-hand experience with the issue. The members of the Council are enlisted in reviewing and guiding current and future initiatives to ensure the efficacy and sensitivity of programs, reports and materials.