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Sex trafficked since childhood: 'I ended up servicing around 30 to 40 men a day'

In Lane County, hundreds of people are sex trafficked every year., according to Diana Janz from Hope Ranch Ministries.  What is being done to combat the problem? Watch #LiveOnKMTR Thursday, October 26, and Monday, October 30, at 6:30 p.m. for a special 2-part report. (SBG)

COMING UP | Hear from reformed sex traffickers now combating the 'lifestyle' #LiveOnKMTR Monday, October 30, at 6 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Rebecca Kelly spends her days elbow-deep in butter, sugar and gluten-free flour at Bonnie & Clyde's, the gluten-free bakery she runs from her home.

But she says there was a time when she was often hungry.

Food was scarce growing up.

School was often the only place where she ate.

When she was 15-years-old, Rebecca met an older man in a park.

He asked her if she was hungry.

Her answer was yes.

And that is where it all started.

"I ended up servicing around 30 to 40 men a day," Rebecca said.



National problem, local victims

Across the nation, more than 3,000 people are being victimized by sex trafficking, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

In Lane County, hundreds of people are sex trafficked every year, says Diana Janz from Hope Ranch Ministries.

Rebecca, now 26, is one of those victims.

She runs Bonnie & Clyde's gluten-free bakery from her home in Springfield. She also spends time sharing her story of survival.


'I was always drugged'

Rebecca said for months after they first met when she was 15, the man gave her food, clothes, and sometimes a place to stay.

But not before long, he started asking for things in return.

He asked Rebecca to have sex with his friend in exchange for money.

Rebecca agreed.

Rebecca has a traumatic brain injury. When she was just two weeks old, a foul ball at her sister's softball game damaged approximately a quarter of her brain, she said.

"My training as a child was to listen to adults because I have a brain injury," Rebecca said. "And they know better. So if an adult told me what to do, then I do it."

Rebecca said it started out with one or two men a day, but that was just the beginning.

"I ended up servicing around 30 to 40 men a day," Rebecca said.

Things escalated her junior year of high school when she said this man kept her in a room all summer.

She said men would come and do whatever they wanted to her.

"There would be people who would cut me so I had infections and stitches and staples, and I was always drugged," Rebecca said.

Rebecca said that, because of her brain injury, doctors told her she would never feel emotions.

She said she felt brainwashed and unable to form opinions.

"My conscious humanity was not there," Rebecca said.

COMING UP | Hear from reformed sex traffickers now combating the 'lifestyle' #LiveOnKMTR Monday, October 30, at 6 p.m.

'There's something better out there for you'

Eventually, it got to be too much.

Rebecca confided in a teacher.

"He told me that I deserve better. And that there was other things that my life was meant for," Rebecca said.

Rebecca said it was difficult to talk about, but getting out of that dangerous lifestyle was even harder.

She never filed charges against the man, and has not had contact with him since high school.

Now she shares her story to shed some light on the issue of sex trafficking in Lane County and prevent this from happening to others.

"No matter how many bad things you've done, how long you've been in the system, there's something better out there for you," she said. "And you should go find out what it is."


'That was the first time that I experienced joy'

For Rebecca, that something - or in this case, someone - was Mike Kelley.

They met on a Lane Transit District bus six years ago.

"We just started talking and became instant friends," Rebecca said.

Mike became her confidant, her support system - and eventually the official taste-tester of her earliest recipes.

"The dog would not eat it. It was that bad. I'm not kidding," Rebecca said.

She said Mike also helped her experience emotion for the first time in her life.

"I was rubbing his feet after a long day of work and for some reason I just started crying," Rebecca remembers. "And I was like: 'I Iove you.' That was the first time that I experienced joy."

Rebecca said her life will never be totally normal.

Her past is like a bad dream that can never be forgotten.

However, she said for anyone still living that nightmare, she is an example of hope.

RESOURCES

If you or someone you know is being trafficked, there are a number of resources in Lane County.

Hope Ranch Ministries

http://www.hoperanchministries.com/
E-mail: info@hoperanchministries.com
Phone: 541-255-2151
Post: PO Box 595, Springfield, OR, 97477

Lane County Against Trafficking

https://www.facebook.com/lanecountyagainsttrafficking/

National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1 (888) 373-7888



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