904-438-8109 info@rethreaded.com
Why Getting Out of the Sex Trade Wasn’t the Hardest Part

by | Jan 9, 2017

Written by a survivor of human trafficking

When I escaped the sex trade, I did not identify as a survivor. I thought that I was a bad person who made bad decisions. I was put in a program designed to help with drug addiction and alcoholism. I was provided with housing at a sober living facility. I was required to find a legitimate job. I was 23 years old and I had nothing to put on a resume, except I worked at a couple of different restaurants between 16 and 18 years old for a couple of months each, nothing that would make an employer think “She will be an asset to our company.”

No one knew that being prostituted was part of my recent past, I didn’t tell anyone. I felt ashamed and alone, I didn’t know what to say. It was easier to admit to being a drug addict because there were community and support for that affliction. On my journey to becoming employed, I had a couple of problems. I did not feel confident that I would be hired and I had no clothes that were appropriate for an interview. I reached out to an old friend and asked her if she knew of anyone who would hire me and she said to come by her place of employment and talk with the owner.

I showed up the next day and was introduced to him and hired on the spot. I felt excited to have a job and for a second, I let myself become excited about the prospect of a new life. I went to work the following day and was washing dishes, the next thing I knew, I was being groped and told that if I didn’t allow this- there would be no work available for me. I felt scared and unsure of what to do next. It was a requirement of the program to be employed. I finished out the day and went home, feeling somehow like I had failed and that this was my fault.

The next day, I told my case manager what happened. I also confessed to her my past experiences with the sex trade. She tried to help the best she could and I quit that job. Shortly after, I had the same experience at another job. I quit that one too. Eventually, I found a job that didn’t include sexual harassment. At this point, I was physically free from the sex trade but the effects lingered. I was first trafficked at the age of 17. I am now 27 years old and 4 years out of the sex trade. I have accomplished a lot but couldn’t shake the emptiness I felt on the inside. I was still haunted by intrusive thoughts of past trauma, I didn’t know that survivor services existed or even applied to me. Then I applied with Rethreaded.

My journey wasn’t easy, I had to fight every day to get free from the bondage of the sex trade. There are many obstacles and challenges that women face in physically escaping the sex trade, but much more lie ahead for women on their journey to continued healing and living a whole life. The reality is that many women leave the sex trade incredibly disadvantaged and vulnerable to re-exploitation. A real escape doesn’t happen until those vulnerabilities are overcome. It wasn’t until I was connected with Rethreaded and the Survivor Advocate Program that I was able to find acceptance and healing. I was taught how to dress for success. I have skills that I can put on a resume and use to advance in my career. I have been given the tools to build a life that is beyond what I ever thought possible. I now know that my past does not define me.

This blog was part of the Breaking Misconceptions Blog Series. To learn more check out the rest of the series. 

What IS Human Trafficking?

“You don’t look like a survivor…”

Why She Isn’t a Prostitute

The 5 Worst Things to Say to a Survivor

Quick Links

Wanna Help?

Take the pledge and become an advocate for human trafficking survivors

Take the Pledge

We challenge every individual and business to take the pledge to train themselves on how to spot and report human trafficking

Take the Pledge

Springfield Saturday

Hello Springfield! Come on down for a day of shopping, toffee tasting, and touring our space. Enjoy a community brunch with neighbors, and get the first pick of our seasonal items… all while supporting survivors of human trafficking.

Next Upcoming Event

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Auctor elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo. Lobortis scelerisque fermentum dui faucibus in ornare quam viverra orci.

Birthday Party

Come celebrate Rethreaded's birthday and support survivors. There will be fun, games, raffles, tasty treats, and much more! We celebrate each year with a fresh theme and plenty of surprises, so be sure to stop in and help us celebrate another incredible year!

Come celebrate Rethreaded's birthday! There will be fun, games, raffles, tasty treats, and much more! We celebrate each year with a fresh theme and plenty of surprises, so be sure to stop in and help us celebrate another incredible year!

Mom’s Night Out

Enjoy reconnection, rejuvenation, and the opportunity to make a difference. This event is designed to uplift and empower moms while supporting a great cause. 

Engage in refreshing activities, enjoy specialty treats, and revel in a community of women determined to support one another through thick and thin.

This is a special event meant to engage moms with refreshing activities, specialty treats, and connections with other moms in the area.

Cocktails For A Cause

Meet with other Realtors in your area while you enjoy cocktails, networking, exclusive toffee tasting, and a personalized shopping experience while contributing to the care and support of survivors of human trafficking.

Are you in the real estate industry and looking to expand your professional network? Our Cocktails for a Cause event connects relators, interior designers, contractors, and other real estate industry professionals here in Jacksonville. You'll not only get the opportunity to network but also here from industry experts.

Women Empowering Women

Connect, uplift, and support survivors of human trafficking. Enjoy hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and Rethreaded’s unique upcycled products. Take part in authentic breakout group discussions about how to value and intentionally use your time. 

Proceeds from ticket sales provide employment, holistic care, and services for women in Rethreaded’s Survivor Development Program.

Connect with other women at our Women Empowering Women events. You'll have the opportunity to take part in authentic breakout group discussions and network with like-minded women in our community.

Mukti Freedom Gala

Join us for our largest annual fundraiser. Enjoy a champagne welcome, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, seated dinner, silent and live auctions, entertainment, and dancing. 

As always, proceeds from this event go directly toward supporting survivors of human trafficking.

Our Mukti Gala is our largest annual fundraiser that helps us provide the resources needed for the survivor's development program. We would love your support at our next Mukti- which means "freedom" in Bengali - and help change lives with us. Plus, if you have the opportunity to join us in the festivities you'll get to enjoy an open bar, seated dinner, silent and live auctions, entertainment, dancing and so much more!

Human Trafficking Educational Panel

Join us as we discuss human trafficking prevention, dispel myths, and learn how to empower survivors. Experts will share their insights, experience, and perspective. Ticket proceeds support survivor care, support, and education.

Want to learn more about human trafficking prevention, dispel myths, and how you can empower survivors? Join us at one of our Human Trafficking Educational Panels where experts share their insights, experiences, and perspectives.