Lilly was sitting on a bus on her way to work one day when her life changed forever. “I was just looking out the window, barely paying attention to anything in particular. That’s when I saw the billboard.” Lilly had passed by that billboard every day. A black and white photograph of a woman in chains, and a phone number to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. “I wasn’t in chains. I wasn’t sleeping in a dungeon. But I was being trafficked.”
Lilly’s husband forced her to work long hours and took all of her wages. She had to work holidays and even when she was sick. When she tried to leave he would become violent with her or threaten to hurt their daughter.
When Lilly first came to the Radiant Futures, she was uncomfortable identifying herself as a survivor of human trafficking. “Attending groups and counseling regularly helped me accept and process my past. I was a survivor. What happened to me was wrong. My story mattered.”
There are many faces of domestic violence and human trafficking. Though no two stories are the same, each story is valid and each survivor deserves to be heard.