Our 15-year old daughter is a recent victim of human trafficking in Columbus, Ohio. Our daughter, as many teenagers went through struggles of peer acceptance, body image, and overall happiness. She turned to social media to share her every emotion. During this vulnerable state, she started making new friends who accepted her and included her in everything. They really seemed to care of her. She even called one of them her boyfriend and invited him to our home.

Our daughter disappeared this past March. A search was led by law enforcement in the City of Columbus and Franklin County. With the tireless efforts of officers, friends, family, perfect strangers and media outlets- our daughter was found. She underwent intense therapy and medical evaluations while she remained under professional care for several weeks. As a result, we discovered she was already deeply tangled into what is referred to as the grooming process- she was assaulted, manipulated, and drugged. Her image was altered and she was exposed to various weaponry. Her new “friends” proved to be the initial stage of trafficking. She continues to suffer from feelings of severe guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Her mental health is declining even with traditional treatment methods.

In a bold and necessary attempt to interrupt this process, as our daughter still desperately needs professional care, our family is seeking specialized therapy for her. Although we are gainfully employed, unfortunately our insurance does not cover this aggressive therapy or any of its kind. We are asking for your support on this mission to save our daughter’s life and stop this horrible cycle.

More information on trafficking, with a focus on our hometown state- Ohio.

Traffickers target vulnerable individuals and then execute a psychological and physical grooming process aimed at transitioning them to a dependent role. Using violence, sex, substance abuse, false promises and manipulation, traffickers then abuse the dependency and soon have physical and mental control over their victims.

Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. Ohio has some of the highest numbers of cases in the country, ranking fourth in the nation behind California, Texas and Florida. Ohio serves as a distribution center where victims are collected and then moved around to outside destinations. Ohio is an ideal location to obtain victims and transport via interstate highways connecting to New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Pittsburg, Nashville and Indianapolis. Truck stops and freight yards are potential trafficking hotspots. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel children and adults to engage in commercial slavery and/or sex acts against their will. Human Trafficking is real and unfortunately, very real in Ohio and in our family.
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