From an early age, Karla Solomon knew how to survive on the streets as a runaway. She called it survival sex.
When she was only 12 years old, she ran away from her tumultuous family, desperately seeking an escape from her childhood of abuse and neglect. She was quickly introduced to the sex industry by her older friends that took her in, and in exchange, she had a place to stay and a steady supply of the drugs that she was addicted to. By 14, she was pregnant, and eventually, the survival sex came to a stop.
Then again, at 30 years old, Karla ran away.
This time, she ran from a husband and three children, overwhelmed with the stresses of her life and responsibilities.
“I did the one thing that I knew how to do really good,” Solomon said. “I ran. But I ran away from my kids. I ran away from my husband. I ran away from everything and everybody that I knew. And I went to hide somewhere.”
On the run, Karla developed a close friendship with a man that she trusted. He spent extensive time with her, purchased her expensive gifts, and quickly gained her trust. Soon, he wanted to show Karla the work that he did. He solicited her to become his driver: night by night, she agreed to help him by transporting him to different locations, where they would pick up and drop off different girls. Very quickly, Karla came to the complete realization of her friend’s involvement in sex trafficking, and she witnessed his exploitation of many underage girls – but she never thought that soon, he would force her to become even more involved. (Blietz)
“During this whole time, he’s learning all this stuff about me, I never once thought about why I didn’t know anything about him,” Solomon said. “I didn’t even know his real name. But it was too good to be true and I didn’t want to lose that.”
One day, after attacking and abandoning a girl who was not meeting her quota for him, the man brought Karla to a hotel room and told her that it was time for her to start providing him with income. At first, she stood in disbelief as she watched him created an online advertisement for her, then, she tried to escape. He convinced her to stay and introduced her to methamphetamine to cope with the exploitation.
“I didn’t want to do it…so he wrestled me down to the ground and pinned my arms down on the floor and sat on top of my chest,” Solomon says. “And this is a really heavy man, and at the time I was probably like 110 pounds, you know, and so he ended up forcing me to smoke it, and eventually I was, I mean, it did not take long before I was very addicted to it.”
For the next 54 days, Karla’s pimp moved her all around the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado – every week was a different city and a strict quota for her to make. (Davies)
Multiple times she tried to escape.
As a result, she sustained beatings, rapes, broken bones, and even threats against her children. It was ultimately those threats that drove her to reach out to her husband, pleading with him to protect their family. She was sure that the only way to protect her children was to continue being compliant. It was through her phone calls that her husband and law enforcement were able to track Karla’s phone to a hotel in College Station, Texas. (Pichler) Through the work of local police, Homeland Security, and the FBI, she was finally rescued.
In 2021, there are approximately 313,000 victims of human trafficking in only the state of Texas. Karla Solomon was located and rescued in College Station, Texas, a city that is at a “special risk because of its location in the Texas Triangle.” The Texas Triangle is the location where major interstates connect DFW, Houston, and San Antonio to the rest of the country. This area has been called “one of the most heavily trafficked regions in the United States.” (Brionez)
“Sometimes, you just feel that you have no other choice or have no other way out,” Solomon said. “And I think that the biggest thing that girls and teenagers and boys and just anybody that’s in that life need to know is that there are people out there that can help; there are people out there that understand and that they’re not alone.” (Pichler)
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 victims like Karla, visit our link, https://www.bochysplace.com/getinvolved.
Blietz, Lena. Sex Trafficking Survivor is "Not 4 Sale" Anymore. 2 November 2019.
Brionez, Thalia. Reported Cases of Human Trafficking on the Rise During a Pandemic. 15 December 2020.
Davies, David Martin. A Sex Trafficking Survivor Tells Her Story. 8 January 2019.
Pichler, Brittany. From Victim to Advocate: A Story of Survival. 30 January 2021.