Sex trafficking survivor talks about struggles, wants to help those suffering

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by Matt Doyle

Milwaukee -- It's one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world  generating more than $32 billion a year.  And Milwaukee is a hub for human trafficking.  But one local woman wants to help put an end to it. 

She spoke out at the launch of Exploit No More, a non-profit group formed to fight sex trafficking.

"Pain, lonely, suffering, guilt, shame," Laura Johnson said.

She says there are many more words to describe it.

"I was only 14."

Johnson was sold for sex until she was 24.

And it's happening more than people realize, right here in Milwaukee.

"They're getting manipulated, they're being traded for money, for sex. Not even just money for sex, but a car for sex. I mean for anythinig."

Johnson says it's easy for young girls to get caught up in it.

"They think he's cute or he's telling me he loves me. He telling you all these great things, these great nothings, that's what I call them."

Now she's taking on sex trafficking, sharing her story.

"There needs to be more survivors that step up and recognize.  Let them know the community needs our help."

She spoke to nearly 1,000 people Sunday evening at the launch of Exploit No More.  A group aimed at raising awareness about sex trafficking - with a goal to open a safe house for victims.

"We want to have a place that girls can go, specifically girls that have been trafficked, exploited, raped, abused," Jason Butler, Exploit No More's President said.  "That they can go and receive long-term residential after care. That's our hope and our dream."

Johnson knows it could have helped her.

"I was that lost kid. There was no police report out on me. Wasn't nobody looking for me and I was being exploited."

You can find more information at exploitnomore.org.

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