Human Trafficking Survivor Shares Her Story

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SACRAMENTO --

A local woman tells FOX40 that fleeing an abusive relationship changed her perspective on what human trafficking means.

"There weren't any bars, any chains, no prison, or cage holding me. It was just the psychological abuse. It's just, it's dehumanizing," Victoria said.

Victoria withheld her last name for protection, but spared few other details. She said her ex-husband coerced her into polygamy, where she was forced to share him with other women.

"I was removed. I was isolated. I actually lived in a cave for a while, in an adobe rock dwelling," Victoria said.

Victoria said she was programmed to give up her basic human rights and believed there was no way out of the relationship.

"Many people have different views on what human trafficking is and I definitely believe I fit into a certain sector of that," Victoria said. "When someone believes with all their heart that they have to live that way and there's no other way out, to me that's a form of abuse and trafficking because it violates your very inside of who you are."

"Force, fear and coercion is what human trafficking is all about. It really is a modern form of slavery," Nilda Valmores said.

Valmores is the Exectutive Director at My Sister's House. She told FOX40 people have a hard time defining human trafficking because it comes in many forms.

She works with some women who found themselves in forcefully arranged marriages, as well as other who have been transported across state lines to exchange sex for cash.

"We've seen their pain, especially in the beginning when they've just left," Valmores said.

That's why My Sister's House is producing a film. It aims to educate people about local human trafficking in all its various forms.

Assistant Cheif Deputy District Attorney Paul Durenberger said it is nearly impossible to determine the amount of human trafficking currently in operation, but there is a lot in Sacramento.

"It's about geography," Durenberger said. "Their traffickers follow this circuit: San Francisco, Oakland, Tahoe, Reno, Seattle, LA, and we're right in the middle of that. So Sacramento has a lot of trafficking. A lot of girls who are trafficked are local girls."

Durenberger said there are many local resources for victims of human trafficking, including Weave, Courage House, My Sister's House, Community for Peace, Bridgette's Dream, the Grace Network, the Bridge Network, and the Rescue and Restore Coalition to name a few.