Sex trafficking victim speaks to St. Ursula students

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - We hear about victims of sex trafficking, but rarely do we hear from survivors, those who break free from their captors.

A Columbus, Ohio woman is speaking-out about her incredible ordeal. Her name is Theresa Flores. She spent more than two years trapped, forced into a life of sex slavery, by a boy she'd me in high school.

She says most of those girls don't live past their 30's. Flores said she's one of the lucky ones, who lived to tell.

She spoke to a full-house, more than 340 people, who filled the cafeteria at St. Ursula's cafeteria Wednesday night.

"I wasn't abused, I wasn't neglected, beaten, I didn't do drugs," she said. "I was a good kid."

It is a story Theresa Flores hopes the students will never have to tell their own children someday.

How this good girl, who was a sophomore in high school at the time, in a new city, could have gotten entangled in something so lurid is almost unbelievable.

"Pretty soon, this one boy started showing me a lot of attention," she said.

Flores went home with the boy, who'd told her she was pretty. She was a new girl, trying to fit-in, trying to make new friends and she welcomed, what seemed like friendly and innocent advances, ignoring all the red flags she'd been taught by her parents.

"If you ever have sex, if you ever get pregnant you're out," she recalls her mother telling sternly. "And I believed it."

So how did this girl become a sex slave?

The boy took her to his home instead of hers, drugged then raped her, and then claimed he had photographs of her in graphic sexual situations.

He blackmailed her, threatening to show her parents and telling her, you will earn those back.

"I didn't know what earn them back meant," she said. "I was very naive, I thought like wash their car, do their homework, I had no idea what he meant."

She was forced to have sex with countless men after that, all the while hoping, she'd be given those photographs. This went on for more than two years...

"A lot of times they literally are forced, sometimes they're locked down, sometimes they are beaten so bad they fear they can't leave or they're threatened with serious physical harm or even the threat of death," said FBI Special Agent, Jeremy Baker.

Human trafficking ads used to appear on Craigslist, but now, after a major crackdown, thousands of new ads are showing up on a site called,

"Someone can log on to the website and browse like they would for anything," said Ryan Dalton, with Operation Broken Silence. "A new car, a lawn mower, but they can also search for people."

A four-month investigation by a Memphis Human Rights Group, Operation Broken Silence found, during the last quarter of 2010, more than 1,900 ads posted on listed women for sale just in that area.

"Somebody under the age of 18, that's involved in commercial sex is human trafficking," Flores said.

Attorneys General in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi joined 18 other states in asking to close its adult services section back in September.

It's still open and busier than ever, though users do have to agree to report suspected exploitation of minors and human trafficking to the police.

Theresa Flores tell kids, if it could happen to a good, Catholic school girl like her, it could happen to anyone.

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