West Virginia teen, Hadassah Lane first ran away from her home at the age of 13. She was gone for only three days, but those three days changed her life forever. Looking for freedom away from her mother, she accepted a ride from a man who found her walking along the street alone. Upon entering the vehicle, she was sexually assaulted.
Over the course of her early teen years, Hadassah can remember sexual abuse on multiple occasions after that – often during trips to friends’ homes and sleepovers, where she began to believe that she was to blame for the abuse. Her belief that it was her fault stopped her from reporting her abusers.
“I wanted to be the cool girl, I wanted everyone to like me.”
By 16 years old, Hadassah learned that she was pregnant. “My whole world kind of fell apart,” she says.
Soon after giving birth to her son, she began to dance in a local strip club to support both herself and her child. She describes a deep desire for those around her to know that she was self-sufficient and could meet all their needs on her own, rather than ask for help. Hadassah eventually made connections through her dancing that introduced her to heavy drug use. She began to abuse methamphetamines regularly. When she was 19, those same friends invited Hadassah for a short trip to Houston, Texas. She accepted, but soon after arrival, was propositioned by her friend to begin having sex for money during the duration of their trip. When Hadassah declined, her companions abandoned her and returned to West Virginia.
Suddenly, she was far from her family and completely alone in Texas, on a much longer trip than she expected. She knew she would need help to return home. After declining many offers from men who said they could “help” her, Hadassah finally accepted an invitation. The man that she met picked her up and raped her, before bringing her to a Houston parking lot. When they arrived, he then began to traffic her – sending her to different cars throughout the parking lot. This continued night after night; the trafficker took Hadassah’s phone and ID to prevent her from escaping. She said, “I got no benefits from it, I just got promises.” (Gould)
Hadassah’s trafficker became increasingly abusive and volatile, beating other girls around her, and even dousing her with gasoline during an argument. Eventually, she was provided access to return home and she came back to West Virginia. Hadassah came home traumatized, but she also came home silent. She did not want to tell anyone in her community what had happened to her: “I absolutely hated myself…I didn’t think I deserved to be here.”
As a result, Hadassah did not receive any services or seek recovery, and ultimately, chose to return to her trafficker in Houston. This time, she was trafficked for several months, across several states in the South. She fell into the pattern of what she calls “mind control” by her trafficker. Every night, Hadassah had a quota to meet, or she was not able to eat. By July 4th, 2017, she was desperate and ready to leave for good. Hadassah took off on foot, and with help from a family friend, was able to return home.
But once again, without rehabilitation and recovery, she returned to a dangerous methamphetamine addiction and her former job at the strip club. Hadassah found herself in a cyclical rotation that she called a nightmare: “I was in so much pain from what happened, and I didn’t know what to do.”
After suffering a near-death experience due to laced drugs, Hadassah realized that she desperately needed help in order to return to her family and be a healthy mother to her son. She could not do it on her own.
Hadassah found shelter and full recovery with a local program that worked to help her with her sobriety and post-traumatic stress disorder. She received services that have helped to reassimilate with her community and escape the life that she was trapped in for several years.
“I learned that I was worth so much more than what my traffickers were making me…now I actually have hope.” (Lane)
Bochy's Place is positioned to provide more beds for victims of sex trafficking. If you are searching for a way to help provide hope and healing to survivors of sex trafficking, or want to know more about our mission at Bochy’s Place visit our link,https://www.bochysplace.com/getinvolved.