The 10th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day brought to light issues many women face right here in central Ohio.
This year, the event focused on how the drugs and the opioid crisis have impacted and increased the risk of human trafficking.
Latice Champelle is a survivor of human trafficking.
She said it began at a young age.
“There’s an incident that happened to me when I was 11 years old and my grandmother, God rest her soul, had the individual pay her so that way she wouldn’t go the police,” said Champelle.
Champelle said things became worse after her mother died from complications of the AIDS virus.
“I’ve been in a lot of dangerous situations where I’ve been kidnapped, I’ve been held hostage,” she said.
She added a woman, who she thought was a friend, introduced her to crack cocaine and much more.
“She kind of wield me in with the drugs and then I didn’t realize I was being trafficked by her telling me ‘Oh, hey if you sleep with this one, he’ll give you this and you can go and get this,” said Champelle.
It was a combination of sex, money and drugs that kept Champelle trapped.
She felt she had no way out, but she says her children and her faith gave her the strength to go get help.
As a survivor, she was at at the Statehouse with tears of joy on Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
She said she tells her story and hopes no one goes through what she did.
“When you see something or feel something that’s not right you have to speak out and tell someone,” said Champelle. “You have to ask for help.”
Lawmakers said it helps them to hear the stories of what these survivors went through because they can start to put together policy to try and put an end to human trafficking.