For 25 years, Carla* lived a nightmare. At the young age of 5, she was physically and sexually abused. To this day, she can recall vivid details of the trauma she endured at such an early age.
As a young woman, Carla longed to know she was loved, so when a boyfriend promised her the moon, she fell for him head over heels. This boy turned out to be her first human trafficker. He used her drug addiction and emotional vulnerability to gain control over her and exploit her sexually. If he didn’t get his way, he beat her. He took all of her money and even kept her drugged on pain pills by slipping them in her drink or telling her the pills were aspirin.
Over the years, Carla moved from abusive relationship to abusive relationship, trafficker to trafficker. Eventually Carla couldn’t take it any longer and attempted suicide. We first met her in the hospital where she was overwhelmed by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She felt absolutely hopeless to have a better life, so she tried to end
it. Before we met her, several well-intentioned people had offered to help her but were unable to and were often more harmful than helpful. As a result, it took Carla a while to open up.
After a few days, Carla began to trust us. She heard about options for her future that made her hopeful for the first time in years. Eventually, we helped her get placed in a program in another state for victims of human trafficking where she could heal from the years of trauma she has endured. Even though she is no longer in Central Florida, she keeps in touch regularly and we are happy to continue to give her whatever resources she needs to stay on her path of recovery.
Since the program began, she is doing very well and is rebuilding her life. She has reconnected with her young son and family members, attends counseling, church, addictions groups, and actively volunteers in her community. She recently wrote a note to Florida Abolitionist sharing how thankful she was to our staff. She said she never thought she would enjoy her life again, but she is! We are thrilled to play a small part in her healing journey.