Survivor shares her story at human trafficking forum

A recent case of sex slavery and child porn in Detroit highlights the growing problem of human trafficking in Michigan and lawmakers are working to fight it.

A recent case of sex slavery and child porn in Detroit highlights the growing problem of human trafficking in Michigan and lawmakers are working to fight it.

One way is to get the community involved so they know what to look for and how to report it.

"I know the only way to get away was to kill him," said Joyce Haskett.

Sex trafficking survivor Joyce Haskett shared her story of utter desperation at a Tuesday night forum hosted by a Livonia church.

"One day what happened, I went upstairs, I got the gun and I killed him dead," Haskett said. "And I felt safe."

Her circumstances are extreme, but not unique. Take for example the recent arrest of Ryon Travis in Detroit, accused of selling woman online among other graphic crimes.

Police found a woman chained to pole inside his house.

"The victims aren't always chained at the neck," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuad

Advocates like Sen. Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan) and others on this panel want to make sure it stays on people's mind.

"Our mission is to eradicate it," Emmonds said. "And make examples of those who purchase trafficked individuals."

"Stop Human Trafficking" signs are designed to get your attention but they are temporary. Gov. Rick Snyder just signed a law requiring the human trafficking hotline number be displayed at rest stops, bus stops and airports as another way to get people out of this life.

Part of that starts by eliminating the fear victims have of leaving.

"If you are not afraid for yourself you are afraid for the people you love," Haskett said. "You know these people will do what they say they will do."

"I think we are going to see a rise in prosecution. Just as advocacy groups become more educated about this problem," McQuad said.

And that is why Haskett will tell her story to whomever will listen.
 


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