Amanda Taylor, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY - Twenty-one years ago, Samantha, as she's asked to be called, was humiliated, abused and sold into human trafficking.
"I was totally clueless," she tells me. But within in hour, Samantha knew the life they had planned for her.
At just 17 years old she had run away from home in hopes of getting away from abuse, but instead, a friend dropped her off with known gang members and they wanted payment.
"They said you're either going to prostitute or sell drugs and you can't sell drugs because you'd get caught, so you don't have a choice," Samantha said.
And if she told them she wasn't doing that, "Oh they would beat me," Samantha said. "I remember if I said something they didn't like, they'd hit me. They'd beat me. They'd rape me."
And the first time they prostituted her out is etched in her memory.
"It was at the Classen motel in Oklahoma City," Samantha said. "The guy's like you shouldn't be doing this, you're so young. And all I could think of is, you're not the one that's suppose to be doing this. I wasn't given a choice."
Then Samantha shares the worst part, "They put me in a car, and the guy reaches over and he puts his hand on my leg and says, ‘We're going to have some fun.' That very minute, my whole soul and being, I knew I was going to die. I knew. I don't know how. I just knew."
And at that moment, she jumped out of a moving car. Months of horrific abuse, just came to an end.
It's taken her 21 years to talk about this and put it to paper in a book filled with compilations from other victims. She now accepts that sharing her story may help another young woman, either in her shoes then, or now.
"You must accept that you have been a victim before you can become a survivor. No one can be a survivor without becoming a victim."
4 Warning Signs Your Child May Be At Risk:
1. Gifts you don't know where they're coming from.
2. Failing grades.
3. Arguing, fighting.
4. Don't know friends or new group of friends.
How to report Human Trafficking:
Look for and report possible predators at: www.netsmartz.com.
Cyber Tip Line: 1-800-843-5678, www.cybertipline.com
Resources to get help:
OATH: Oklahomans Against the Trafficking of Humans: www.OATHCoalition.org, 1-800-995-0128
Children of the Night 24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-551-1300
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888