Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Oklahoma Sex Trafficking Survivor Shares Her Story

Emily Baucum, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma is the crossroads of the nation, making it a prime trade route for sex trafficking.

3/24/2011 Related Story: Truckers Aim To Stop Sex Trafficking In Oklahoma

More than one million American children are involved in the sex industry.

One of them, a survivor of sex trafficking, shared her story at the NSU Campus in Broken Arrow Wednesday night as part of a two day conference sponsored by OATH, or Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans.

11/18/2010 Related Story: Why Oklahoma Is A Prime Trade Route For Child Traffickers

"And I knew that this was a terrible, terrible thing that was happening to me, but there comes a point in time when you just leave yourself," Jeannetta Taylor said.

Jeanetta Taylor is a Green country native. At just 11 years old, she was molested by a family friend with no one to turn to for support, Taylor turned to alcohol.

Her life spiraled out of control. She made some bad friends who held her against her will, selling her for sex to different men, multiple times a night. By the age of 15, she'd been arrested twice for prostitution.

Taylor's now 40 and works with abused kids.

The audience at Wednesday night's conference was packed with social work professionals, who are taking away more than just a continuing education credit.

"I think most people have the attitude that it doesn't happen in my backyard," Alice Hooper said. "That's why I think things like this are important, because it is a real issue in Oklahoma."

Mark Elam, director of Oklahomans Against Trafficking of Humans, said one-third of trafficked children meet their abusers online.

Oklahoma's two major interstates, I-35 and I-40, are often used to transport victims across state lines, he said.

The bulk of the conference is Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at NSU's Broken Arrow campus. The cost to attend is $75.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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