Sex trafficking survivor: ‘This is happening in Tallahassee’

From the Tallahassee Democrat:

Trafficking awareness march to capital

A group of nearly a hundred people gather at the Historic Capitol in an effort to raise awareness against human trafficking Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (Photo: Joe Rondone/Democrat)

AmyLynn Smoot tells how she was forced into a life of sex trafficking as an 8-year-old to show there is hope.

People do survive the trauma of being sold for sex with adults, she told the Rotary Club of Tallahassee. But sex slavery, Smoot warned, is an epidemic that continues in every county in Florida and across the country.

She recalled an endless stream of men from all walks of life and the violence and pain of being a sex slave for 18 months. Smoot also painted a graphic picture of how traffickers get and keep their victims.

“The manipulation, the fear, the intimidation the traffickers use is real,” she said.

“They’re using the same tools. The coercion, the threats, the violence, but they have a new tool and it’s called the internet.”

Tallahassee is a destination for traffickers and an area where children and young adults are brought into the world of sex slavery, said Robin Hassler Thompson, executive director of the Tallahassee-based Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center.

Read more from The Tallahassee Democrat
Photo: Joe Rondone/Democrat

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