"Brittany Lewis," (a pseudonym for a woman now studying to become a nurse practitioner), thought she grew up in a "normal" family. She lived in suburban Minneapolis, attended a Baptist church—her dad even served as a deacon there. She recognized that her family wasn't perfect. Her dad was an alcoholic and would steal her money—but she assumed that was the kind of thing that happened in other people's families too. After she hit puberty, though, her dad started to rape her. Frequently. Almost every night.
One day, Brittany's dad took her for a drive to his friend's house. She didn't think much of this, until they put her in another room and she saw the friend giving her dad money. "It was supposed to be a party," she said. "We all started drinking, then they all raped me. My dad held me down while they did it."
Though her dad expressed remorse afterward for doing this to Brittany, it wasn't the last time he would sell her for sex.
Sadly, while Brittany's story is horrific, it isn't unique. Trafficking in women is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately $12 billion a year. There are more slaves in the world today than in any other time in human history. Studies estimate nearly 27 million people are in bondage across the globe—for manual or sexual labor.
Thankfully, though sex trafficking is at an all-time high, there are tireless warriors fighting to end this modern-day slave trade. In Brittany's case, it was her high school basketball coach who sensed something amiss in her life. Read Brittany's story for an inspiring look at how she moved from victim to victor, and how she's working to help others come out of the shadow of sexual abuse and exploitation too.1