Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

GREENVILLE, S.C. —A former Upstate stripper is breaking her silence

The woman, who does not want to be identified, got out of the business more than six years ago but said the path it led her down still haunts her today.

“I had nightmares.  I just felt weak,” said the woman.

The woman said her nightmare began the first night she took off her clothes at the club.

But she didn't know the depth of her darkness until one night when a fellow dancer convinced her to go to Miami to make more money.

“I didn't realize this girl was going to leave and I would never see her again,” said the woman.

Before she knew it, she was on her way to Florida with a stranger who started making demands.

“What you're going to do to make money here is have sex with people in the club for money,” said the woman.

But that first night she didn't pull in enough.

“He took me back to the hotel room and he raped me and told me he did away with girls that did not act right,” said the woman.

The woman said every day for a week was the same.

“He told me he was watching me, that he had cameras in the hotel room, that he saw everything I was doing and I needed to behave,” said the woman.

The woman said one night the man told her he was taking her back to South Carolina, but she knew that was a lie.

“He was essentially taking me away to do away with me, either kill me or sell me to another guy,” said the woman.

The woman said she was able to seek help from cashiers at a gas station and get a bus back home.

Today she's hoping her story will help other women in a similar situation.

“It's everywhere.  Small towns, big cities, the whole nine yards.  There is nowhere that is immune to having human trafficking,” said Zaina Greene.

Greene is the community engagement director for SWITCH, a non-profit organization fighting human trafficking in the Upstate.

She said strip clubs are often stepping stones into this kind of lifestyle, but there is help.

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