This is a story that affects our community and more importantly, our children.
More than a hundred thousand kids in the US are sold as sexual commodities every year. News 10 sat down for an eye-opening interview with a Terre Haute woman who was a victim of human trafficking.
‘Flesh for Sale’ at the age of 12
They are images fit for the movies – horrific pictures and heart-breaking stories of young girls taken, tricked, lured from their families only to be sold for sex.
These children are thrown into the multi-billion dollar criminal industry known as human trafficking.
“I was sold several times to different bikers…”
Gina, 46 of Terre Haute, agreed to tell News 10 her story as long as we didn’t give her last name or show where she lived. It is a heart breaking story that started when Gina was just 12-years-old.
She was living in Florida when her mother sold her to a motorcycle gang.
“I was now their property,” Gina explained. “They had bounty hunters that if I tried to get away they would hunt me down and I would get a terrible beating, but also they knew where my sister lived and that they would go get my sister.”
She was taken from her home and forced to be part of a ‘group’ of young girls used as sex slaves.
“The girls were forced to be prostitutes and strip dancers – strippers. Any humiliating thing they could think of to have the girls do they would have them do,” Gina said. “Every guy in the house would have their way with you.”
Gina explained how 10 different guys owned her at one time. They dyed her blond hair brown so she wouldn’t be recognized and she was fed only cottage cheese and scrambled eggs to keep her skinny.
She was only given a real meal once every three days. And it was either make so much money every day, or be tortured.
“I saw enough beatings. Severe beatings that I was very careful to do what I was told,” she said. “I didn’t think I would survive it. I did try to commit suicide once and I got a beating…”
Gina’s nightmare continued for years and even now, decades later, the wounds are still raw.
“I later found out the police from three cities knew where I was, but left me there because they didn’t want to blow their drug investigation. They were investigating him for drug trafficking…”
Gina did eventually get away. A relative brought her to Terre Haute to start a new life.
But there are still physical reminders of her horror.
She has a spinal cord injury she received from one of the men that still affects her today. Franklin, her service dog, helps her get around now.
Now, she’s trying to use her story and her strong faith to help others.
Gina is writing a book hoping it will bring healing, inspiration and courage to other girls. And she’s starting a non-profit group called ‘Living legacy of hope.’
Her dream is to eventually help house other survivors – to give them a new life and to teach them that they do matter.
“It’s just utter despair when you know there’s not one person in the world that is willing to take a stand. You go into survival mode and you just press through,” Gina stated. “It’s a horrible feeling. It’s very dark. It’s very dark.”
Gina has teamed up with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to bring awareness to human trafficking.
She will tell her story in April to local, state and federal officials in hopes of helping other survivors.