Human trafficking survivor details 18 years of sexual abuse to help others identify warning signs

Local 4 Defenders explore the struggle of escaping human trafficking  

A woman who was trafficked starting at the age of 12 and survived 18 years of sexual abuse is sharing her story.

D'lynn wants to tell her story so the system can be changed and human trafficking victims can be saved. She said her story began when she was 12 years old and ran away from her home just outside of Seattle.

During that time she met a man who was 70-years-old and she said he turned her onto methamphetamines. She became addicted and was a human trafficking victim in a matter of months.

"He was my first pimp," she said. "I end up doing the dates, or whatever you want to call it. I get the money, we get out of the car, we go back into the pimp's car and I hand him the money right away. So, now, this goes on for a few years and this becomes the norm," she said.

D'lynn is 32 now and is sharing the abuse she endured. The details of her story are graphic.

"He started filling up the bath tub and he started putting my head in it and I started to drown, I needed to take a breath," she said. "Then he goes and gets a hammer and tells me to put my hands on the bathtub and he hits my hands, after that the doorbell rang, it stopped him."

She is hoping her story will help teach others how to notice the signs of a victim of human trafficking and be able to step in and help.

She said despite going to numerous hospitals with injures, nobody reached out to help  her.

Eastern Michigan University academic advisor and lecturer David Manville said he usually has a survivor come and speak to a classroom because the survivors are the real experts.

"I usually have a survivor come with me because I can teach it academically but they're real experts on this and so sharing their stories and the difficulties they've had means a lot more. I think to people than just having me talk to them about it," Manville said.

More on this story Monday night on Local 4 News at 11.

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.