On September 28, 2011, I was in a car accident that left me with a traumatic brain injury where I lost 20 plus years of memory. In the latter of 2012 due to all the meds I was on from my accident and longtime diagnosis of bipolar disorder and TMJ, I suffered heart failure. With all this I decided to go home to California to further my treatment of my TBI. this was when I met my trafficker. I ended up marrying my trafficker for a brief period, and it was during this time (Jan 2013 – Aug 2014) he exploited and trafficked me in every sense of the word, and I suffered severe domestic abuse.
I first met my trafficker online via craigslist as I was selling as much of my household goods, then I believe he found me on Facebook. My trafficker may not be the conventional trafficker/pimp, but he is just as calculating, manipulative, and abusive as they come.
In early February 2014, I was arrested (prostitution) but I made a deal with the arresting officer. The deal was I would help on stings, and RCPD would NOT pursue charges against me. On this day of my arrest, I was surrounded by 6 law enforcement officers and was interrogated. I was being asked “WAS I BEING TRAFFICKED? “I replied “NO”, all the while knowing what my Trafficker, had drilled into my head IF I were ever caught. By this point in time, my Trafficker was already abusive, physically, emotionally, sexually, and psychologically. These 6 law enforcement officers were all telling me they saw “him” being my Trafficker drop me off at the hotel. I still denied being trafficked. The officers had me use the hotel phone to call my Trafficker to let him know I was arrested. As I did,Trafficker told me he was headed home to be with Ashley (my daughter).
After all was said and done on this day, when I was arrested, Det. K M and SA B G- drove me back to my Trafficker and left me with him. My Trafficker then continued to traffick me for nearly another year. All the while I wondered if they knew that just a month earlier my Trafficker tried to commit suicide after he tried to kill me – a report and dozens of photos were taken by PennCo Deputy Sheriffs. My Trafficker did this because I tried to leave him (my then 16-year-old daughter Ashley and I called 911, as I performed CPR on him for over 45 minutes) until rescue arrived.
As time went on, it only became WORSE. 911 was called several more times and as you would have it, I never showed up in court, as Trafficker was keeping a close eye on me. No one from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department bothered to follow up on any of the calls after the initial reports, not on him, or me. I don’t know what to say, he nearly killed me more than once and at one point in June 2014 the deputies who responded to the 911 call never once made sure I was seen by medical personnel before they left the scene. In that report, it states I had some bruising around my neck, with swelling, with raspy voice and I was saying that I don’t remember (all signs of losing consciousness) and that I was scared… Still no one ever came back to check on me, my underage daughter Ashley or my pregnant 20-year-old Annalisa.
It was at this time- just as my divorce was filed, I hired Ellery Grey to help me make what I thought was an official report in October 2014. Nothing came of that report, other than spending $5000 when I had less than nothing and I still had to find money for my divorce attorney.
As my Trafficker became more confident and /or addicted, not sure which one it was, as far as I’m concerned – he WAS and IS BOTH… he started having others work (he took another girl along with me at times to Wyoming and there was Brandy as well). Also – I can’t prove this, but the Trustees at the Pennington County Fair Grounds (AND I KNOW THIS IS HEARSAY) told me that they would see “girls” going in and out to see my Trafficker from sun up to sundown, and that they would see TRAFFICKER talking on his flip phone (Trak phone). As for me I was being labor trafficked in Trafficker’s DAY JOB (Catering), sex trafficked whenever a PAYING JOHN came along, (which was more often than not), and drug trafficked, as he had me go get him his drugs and bring them back to him from Omaha Nebraska. Little did I know that he was making videos of me (with JOHNs and HIMSELF) and posting them online, but he was. Never a lost opportunity to make himself some of what he desired the most… MONEY.
As all this was going on- I tried to tell law enforcement, and I was told that I was too emotional to make a statement / report, I also tried to tell my then doctor, as I displayed all the physical signs of a trafficked victim (family Residency Clinic 2014). Still no help, I even confided into someone whom I thought was a friend (Kristen from Omaha NE). Only for her to later down the road, PLAN TO BURGERIZE the house I lived with Trafficker and to have me EIGHTY-SIXED (from what I understand, that means, killed) because she had come for rally 2013, and she saw the stacks of cash in the office. The very cash I had earned for him, my Trafficker. She decided she either wanted in or just wanted me to give her money. I wouldn’t give her any money, of course I didn’t have access to any money at all not to mention I wasn’t allowed to report Kristen’s plan to have me killed to law enforcement because my Trafficker said he didn’t need any cops around him. As usual, he threatened that IF I EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT GOING TO THE COPS, I better remember what will happen.
On August 8, 2016, I received a call from Special Agent of Homeland Security. He asked that I meet him at DHS. I wasn’t sure what for at first, only that my Trafficker was involved, so I agreed to meet him. I was at DHS for several hours, as I was questioned and once again, I am reporting to yet another law enforcement agency what happened. Begging all the while that they keep my Trafficker away from my family. I had been getting threats on my life and I was struggling to get a protection order. Agent M D made me feel comfortable and heard. For the first time – I WAS BEING HEARD. Since my OFFICIAL REPORT was and is in the hands of DHS and this is a federal office, I have not been assigned a victim’s advocate. With this I was unaware of any programs until recently.I repeatedly called the national hotline for human trafficking called POLARIS PROJECT and they offered little to no help in finding programs in my area. I searched for nearly 2 years and applied multiple times through DSS but was denied every time and I even called the DA VICTIMS ADVOCATE OFFICE (Feb. – Mar 2017), I received no response to my inquiries. I have tried to keep a log of everything I do, so that I may help down the road with laws and regulations.
As I escaped and divorced my trafficker, I made the decision to file a civil case for “intentional infliction of emotional distress” it was dismissed at the seventh judicial court level, so I appealed it to my state Supreme Court where we argued my case on October 03, 2016 – we are still waiting to hear the court’s opinion. It’s been nearly a year now. This civil case is not only a precedence setting case for my state but for the entire country. Also with the help of my State legislature, (Lynne DiSanto) regarding what happened to me, it helped in the drafting of SB102 and I testified in Pierre on February 01, 2017 in front of my state legislature. 2 bills passed with my testimony, they were signed into law on March 10, 2017. I also plan on doing public speaking with the help of OUR Majority Whip in the HOUSE of REPRISENTATIVES Lynne DiSanto, and tell my story of survival. I will also keep working with my state legislature and through the court system to change the way trafficking victims are viewed and treated. I hope to bring education to LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, on how to effectively communicate and treat a TRAFFICKED VICTIM, in order to NOT further injure the Victim. In the meantime, I have been volunteering as peer guidance with new survivors. Taking them under my wing and point them in the direction that they need to go for help and safety. I also just help them by listening, as I’ve been there and know what it’s like with all the hardships, only difference is – I HAD NO ONE TO HELP ME… but nonetheless I can’t let someone else go through it alone. Someday soon I hope to start a project for just this peer2peer called JADED FACES.
Through all that I’ve survived, I have discovered on my own that with much discipline and self-healing, I no longer tell my Traffickers story. I no longer think his thoughts. I am no longer trapped by my Trafficker, it’s been 15 months now I am firm in my own thoughts.
Sadly, one of the most insidious discoveries I’ve made is that of how I was dismissed by law enforcement in my county and even by my then doctor, also just how I was used by my Trafficker to bring in girls and REALLY JUST HOW DEVIOUS AND DAMAGING HIS BEHAVIOR WAS to me. Sadly- he is still walking around Rapid City and allowed to run his business.
There is much work to be done in my state, and I will be here every step of the way, I will NOT REST until it’s time to pass my torch.
1 5/2013 threats and abuse started
2 2/2014 arrested for prostitution
3 3/2014 turned away by Kelvin Masur when I tried to report to him what was going on.
4 3 – 4 /2014 started going to Crisis Care Center
5 10/2014 debrief by LE with Ellery Grey
6 9 2014 Trafficker filed for Divorce as I had NO money
7 Threats continued – still trying for a protection order
8 4/2015 divorce final
9 9/2015 filed civil case
10 5/2016 threats and harassment still continue
11 7/2016 finally a protection order granted
12 10/2016 argued appeal in from of SD Supreme Court- still awaiting opinion today
13 8/2016 made report with DHS
14 5/2017 Special Agent @ DHS emailed me the packet to apply for help thru Victims of Violent Crimes. As I was exhausted because I don’t qualify for any other help. I suffer from PTSD and anxiety which makes it difficult to leave my living space at times let alone work outside the home.
15 7/2017 back in court to ask for an extension on my protection order. It was granted.
16 Still and have been on going in some kind of therapy for my PTSD, OCD, Anxiety due to what happened with my Trafficker and a past dx Bipolar.
17 Today I’m still getting harassed via 3rd party on behalf of Trafficker/ Abuser