PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — In the wake of the City of Portland’s vote to support a lawsuit against Backpage.com, a survivor of sex trafficking in Portland spoke with KOIN 6 News about her abuse.
“He’s like if you really love me you’ll do this for me,” survivor Shelley told KOIN 6 News. She is speaking publicly for the first time — she hopes her story can help other survivors of sex trafficking.
After running away from a troubled home at 15, Shelley met a man who bought her gifts, clothes and food.
If she didn’t make a certain amount of money, Shelley said she was beaten. She said her alleged pimp also restricted her from contacting her family.
“He would ride up if I tried to leave and put me in the trunk of the car,” Shelley said.
Stuck in a violent cycle, Shelley said she eventually turned to drugs. Years later, she got into treatment, and in her 30s, she met a man who would eventually become her husband.
“He made me realize that I was beautiful,” Shelley said. “He loved me sincerely with no strings attached, he loved my kids, his kids as well.”
The survivor of sex trafficking and abuse now works full-time for a local non-profit, using her own story to give hope to sexually exploited teenagers.
Shelley said she decided to speak with KOIN 6 News after hearing about the recent death of sex trafficking victim, Ashley Benson at a DoubleTree Hotel in North Portland.
“I was devastated because that’s another young lady that is a human being like all of us that deserved to still have her life,” Shelley said.
Shelley said she believes there needs to be more programs and funding to assist survivors of sexual abuse. She hopes to someday create her own nonprofit.