'I Was Drugged And Forced To Do Porn': Surviving The Sex Trade

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woman in captivity
A look at how human trafficking victims fare in life and love after surviving the sex trade.

"You don't belong in a strip club," he told her. "If you ever want to stop doing this, just call me. I'll come pick you up, I'll help you with whatever you need. But just remember that you're worth more than this."

For weeks and months after that, he would drop by the club periodically to check on her and make sure that she was doing all right. At first, Samantha wasn't sure if she could trust him, but eventually she decided it was worth a try. She sent him a text asking him to come pick her up, and to not let her go back to the club—no matter what. "Whenever I felt desperate and was tempted to go back, I would call him and he would talk me out of it," she says. "He was a source of constant support." He also encouraged her to explore her faith by reading The Bible and finding a church she wanted to attend.

During this time, Samantha got a magazine in the mail that featured a story about Treasures, a faith-based nonprofit that helps women find healing after being trafficked or working in the sex industry. It is located in the San Fernando Valley where 95 percent of all legal porn is filmed and distributed. The founder of the organization, Harmony Dust, was once a stripper, and is able to understand the emotions and struggles of the women she counsels.

After reading the article, Samantha got on the phone and called Dust. She has since gone through extensive counseling with Treasures and says that speaking with Dust allowed her to take the first important step: recognizing that what happened to her was not her fault.

"I felt so much guilt and shame because I thought that I was stupid for going to the photo shoot without taking anyone with me. I thought, 'If only I didn’t have that drink, if only I hadn't taken those pictures,' then none of this would have happened."

Mary Jo Rapini, a licensed psychotherapist based out of Houston, Texas, says that this is a common response she sees in the trafficking victims she counsels.