I didn't know I was a human trafficking survivor:Theresa Flores shares story
Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)-- A slave across the street. The title of her book, but also real life for Theresa Flores when at just 15 she was drugged and raped by a boy she knew.
"He came up to me at school with an envelope full of pictures and he said you know you have to earn these back or we'll show em to the priests at church or your dad," said Flores.
For two year Flores says she was forced to have sex with random men. She was able to escape after her family moved, but she kept it a secret until years later as an adult.
"I went to a conference like this and learned about human trafficking and i had never knew that that's what it was called that happened to me."
Now she travels across the country with her nonprofit called Saving Our Adolescents from Prostitution or SOAP.
She advocates for victims at conferences like the Human Trafficking and Social Justice conference at the University of Toledo .
" We have researchers that present and that's important activists and policy maker and programming people, but when a survivor stands up and says this is my experience--we want to you to have a profound impact,” said Celia Williamson Celia Williamson Professor of Social Work and Director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.
Like her nonprofits namesake, Flores also leaves bars of soap with the sex trafficking hot line in hotels across the nation. Strangers have told her they work.
"She said this John was beating the crap of me and she She said I thought i was going to die and I grabbed my cell phone and I ran into the bathroom and I grabbed my phone and I saw a bar of soap with the red label and I hadn't told her it had a red label."
Flores hopes by sharing her story she can empower survivors like herself and raise awareness.
"It can happen to anybody. Like look at me my dad made hundred grand in 1980 we had 5 bathrooms. It doesn't just happen over there".