Survivors of sex and labor trafficking are the true experts and the engine of innovation in the anti-human trafficking field. But they are also so much more than that. Some work in the field and some don’t. They are teachers and parents, artists and writers, doctors and lawyers. They are fierce, resilient, talented and diverse. This is some of their work.
Alex is a labor trafficking survivor from North Carolina. Born in Hong Kong and raised mostly in Europe, she was trafficked in the U.S. as a minor by an adoptive parent. Alex’s submission is a poem based on her experience.
Stephanie Anderson is a survivor of trafficking from Montana. Her submission is an excerpt from From Unlikely to Unlimited, a 2016 project she worked on with her son, Christian. Stephanie tells the story of their journey encountering and overcoming her son’s autism diagnosis. The story is accompanied by a classical music soundtrack composed by Christian.
Ashlie Bailey is a trafficking survivor leader from Tyler, TX who has dedicated her life to the fight against human trafficking. Ashlie is also the co-founder of the Henry, Leroy, Oscar Call Your Mom! campaign and co-founder of The Finding Hope Project. Many years ago, Ashlie was able to find her voice through her art, music, and writing and she has shared photos of her art and jewelry collection Beauty for Ashes Designs.
Amy is a survivor of sex trafficking from Oregon who journals daily as a way to process her trauma. Amy’s submission includes entries from her journal, which she plans to turn into a book about her experiences.
Beautiful Feet is a Native American from Oklahoma and a survivor of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic abuse. Beautiful Feet’s submission is a collection of poems which display a variety of trauma informed works from the last 12 years of her life.
Eric Harris is a consultant and field expert in the area of human trafficking, lending his expertise to several anti-trafficking organizations, taskforces, and coalitions. Eric’s submission is a narrative of his experience as a survivor – an excerpt from one of the presentations he provides on human trafficking from a male survivor’s perspective.
Rachelle Limbeck is a survivor of sex trafficking in Washington state who has dedicated her life to ending human trafficking. Rachelle has found her voice through poetry, prose, and activism. Her submission is a poem about her experience, entitled He Sold My Soul.
Shanna Parker is a survivor of child sex trafficking and the founder of Angels Go To Work, an organization working to eradicate human trafficking through education, collaboration, and community efforts that is led by survivors. Shanna has worked with a group of allies, survivors and supporters to develop a photo project entitled “Oh Say Can You See,” depicting a more realistic view of what human trafficking looks like in America. These images have been used in power points, print-media, training materials, art displays, awareness presentations, trainings and more.
While shame and pain kept her quiet for years, Kelly Patterson’s journey of healing and freedom from sex trafficking are giving her a loud voice today. Kelly is the founder and CEO of Treasured Lives, an organization with a clear but simple mission of helping and inspiring others. Her artwork and writing skills reflect her passion to reach out to other survivors, lend understanding to their family and friends, and light a fire in others to help in the fight against sex trafficking in all its forms.
Allyson is a survivor-leader and her story is based around a chunk of her life beginning in early 2000 in San Angelo, Texas. Her submission is a excerpt from her book Armor Of Her Embers which is released in segments and available on Amazon, as well as her own photography. Since fleeing her abuser she has found her voice through art, writing, activism and is a recent graduate of a specialized school which focuses on leadership and affirmative action. She also provides uplifting support on her website Armor Of Embers.
Charlie is a survivor who has dedicated their life to serving others like them. In their day job, they are an advocate working with runaway and exploited youth to help them overcome complex and compounded trauma. Charlie has also served on various working groups, advisory boards, and as a consultant to several anti-trafficking organizations and agencies. Charlie’s submission is a collection of pieces that capture their style as a survivor artist.
Kelly Wells (Cody)
Kelly Wells is a survivor of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. She wrote her first book Who Am I, Discovering the Value and Worth of Women as a way to overcome, forgive, and heal from her trauma. In 2016, Kelly wrote In Full Bloom, a poem that was published in the U.S. Library of Congress.
Sean M. Wheeler
Sean M. Wheeler wrote this poem about being used in child pornography. The poem was originally created for Fight the New Drug, an anti-pornography organization.
Natashia Wilson is a survivor from Las Vegas. She is a spokesmodel for the organization Voices for Dignity, advocating on behalf of sexually, mentally, physically, and verbally abused women. Additionally, she is a property manager at the organization Chattanooga Community Kitchen. There, she provides continuous support and mentorship to ten women who have dealt with unspeakable emotional and physical abuse.