Nearly two weeks after receiving a phone call from Attorney General Ashley Moody informing me that she would be appointing me to the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking Direct-Support Organization Board of Directors it has been made public and still don’t haven’t been able to find words to adequately express how honored I feel.
While growing up and being trafficked I was in public and came into contact with people all the time. People saw me, but they either chose to ignore what they saw, they were completely oblivious to anything happening or they suspected something was going on but didn’t care enough to ask questions in order to find out what was happening.
Over the last two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how far I’ve come. I never would’ve imagined I would be where I am and doing all that I’m doing.
Most of my life has been spent merely existing in a world full of people that didn’t really see me. I spent ten years of my life cutting myself and breaking my own bones in attempt to numb the emotional pain that suffocated me.
I couldn’t handle the idea of anyone knowing the horrific things that happened to me… so much so that when I finally started going to therapy in 2013 and my therapist wanted me to attend a support group for victims of sexual assault, I picked a group that was over an hour away (each direction) so that I could be sure nobody would know who I was.
As I worked though the trauma I began to share my experiences.
Over the last two legislative sessions I traveled back and forth to Tallahassee to advocate for bill that would require hotel staff to be trained to recognize and report human trafficking. I believe if a law like this existed while I was being trafficked, I would not have been trafficked as long as I was. During the final minutes of this legislative session the bill passed and Governor Ron DeSantis has since signed it into law.
Being Appointed by the Attorney General means that I am no longer invisible.
I am no longer just existing. I am no longer a victim. I am no longer just surviving. I AM A WARRIOR!
I have become the person I needed someone else to be for me when I was younger. I have found my voice and I will never stop being a voice for the voiceless.