Everyone has a story that starts somewhere. Emmy has battled addiction and suffered as a victim of domestic sex trafficking. Now she has soared to the other side to help inspire and provide hope to others struggling just like she once did. Most importantly, she believes that prevention is key in fighting this problem.
"I have a passion to help people; a voice for the voiceless. Sharing my personal experience, strength, and hope, I reach to make a difference in our world. We must fight together. As a team united, working towards the same goals to end modern day slavery and the epidemic of addictions."
A little about Emmy. . .
"In school I was involved in a variety of extra- curricular activities (soccer, track, gymnastics, FFA and so on). I was also friends with everyone. Yet I always had that yearn to fit in and to be loved.
That is how my trafficker was able to target me. He used my vulnerabilities and my needs to make me believe he loved me and wanted what was best for me. It was all false!
Trafficking can happen to anyone; from all walks of life. Nobody is immune to the grips of a manipulative predator. These men (or women) pray on boys and girls with their charismatic and charming ways, its only a mask they put on. Once your in, you become trapped.
So why don't we walk away? It's not that simple. If it were, we would all be able to do so.
I don't want people to think it can't happen to them. Being naïve has gotten so many of us into trouble. I certainly never thought I would become a victim. I was sold over and over again to the highest bidder. This is not what I thought I'd be doing as a little girl. I didn't wake up one day and say, "I think I'll sell my body today".
It can happen to any one, from any where, and all walks of life. Traffickers don't care who you are or where you came from. Your demographic and socioeconomic status mean nothing to predators. You become a commodity; they see dollar signs, not a human life. It is sad to think there are men out there purchasing victims for their own satisfaction and self-entitlement; essentially they are no better than the traffickers themselves. Stay aware, become educated, know the signs. It is happening throughout our entire state, throughout our ENTIRE nation!"
One in four women in the United States will become victims of sexual violence. Emmy Myers, a local survivor of sex trafficking and advocate for victims, is working to change that statistic. The University of Wisconsin’s Freedom Week, hosted by Force For Freedom: An Abolitionist Movement, is a week-long awareness campaign which focuses on ending human trafficking. As part of the week of events, Myers discussed her experience as a victim of sex trafficking, myths that surround it and how to become aware of the issue Wednesday. Myers is the founder of Lacey’s Hope Project, a Wisconsin-based project she started in memory of a close friend and fellow victim of sex trafficking. The project’s goal is to help raise awareness of modern-day slavery by focusing on the signs and dangers of sex trafficking and survivors’ healing processes. Lacey’s Hope Project also collaborates with other organizations to help individuals in crisis, with a specific focus on the interplay between trafficking and addiction, although one doesn’t necessarily signal the other, Myers said. “Attend [events] like this, become educated,” Myers said. “I really believe in education for prevention.” While many view sex trafficking as an “inner city” problem, Myers said it happens all over the state, country and world. In Wisconsin alone, human trafficking has been reported in all 72 counties. The U. S. Department of Justice estimates there are between 14,500 and 17,500 victims per year in the United States alone. In Myers’ situation, she had an older boyfriend who became abusive and began using drugs. She also struggled with addiction and eventually became a victim of sex trafficking. While she was fortunately rescued, Myers emphasized this could happen to anyone. There are plenty of indicators of sex trafficking people can look out for, Myers said. Some of the most noticeable ones include having few personal belongings and not being able to attend regular events such as family gatherings and school functions. When it comes to portraying sex trafficking, Hollywood tends to use stereotypes of “junkies” and “pimps” to describe those involved in it, Myers said. “That’s exactly how I thought it looked like, until it happened to me,” Myers said. In reality, Hollywood’s portrayal of sex trafficking couldn’t be further from the truth, Myers said. Many, like Myers, believe in Hollywood’s narrative — but through her work, she is trying to change the public’s perception of sex trafficking. By sharing her experiences through public speaking, Myers hopes to make the public aware of the signs of human trafficking. “If you had a sister, or a cousin, or a niece and somebody was selling her, wouldn’t you want something done about that?” Myers said.