At first glance, Jillian Mourning would not strike anyone as a victim. She is smart and beautiful on the inside and out.
However, she is also a survivor of the sex trafficking trade. Her first introduction came while on a modeling job in Arizona. She flew out there with her manager.
Jillian says he and two men raped her, videotaped it and threatened to make the video public unless she did what she was told.
For several months, she was forced to perform sex acts in Charlotte and travel to other cities. She says her manager preyed upon her dreams and fear of getting a bad reputation.
She calls it blackmail. "I made great grades in college. I was a straight A student. I never tried drugs," she said talking about her reputation. "I didn't want anyone to know this was happening to me and he knew that."
The nightmare ended only after her so-called manager went to prison on other charges. She didn't tell anyone about the sex trafficking for four years.
Now she wants to take the sex trafficking industry out of the shadows and help other victims. She believes talking about it will inspire others to get help, prevent more crimes, and maybe help change a culture that feeds a demand for pornography.
"There are so many kids, even within Charlotte schools, that it's happening to," she said. "They don't feel comfortable talking about it until someone comes forward and says, 'I've been through this. It's okay to talk about.'"
The need is growing. The FBI says nearly 300,000 American kids are at risk. Pimps prey upon their dreams, fear, and needs. In some cities the sex trafficking takes place on the streets, in some communities hotel room meetings are more common, and there is a huge market for Internet videos.
Charlotte's become a hub because of great interstates, a busy airport, and it's size and location on the East Coast.
"It's a perfect place for a trafficker to have," said Jillian.
She hopes the non-profit helps other girls avoid becoming a victim and fosters a generation of boys who say "no" to watching porn or paying for sex.
She has lived the consequences of that culture and come out the other side, amazingly, strong.
"God has really put me in a good place and my non-profit is going really well," she said. "My life is going really well. I feel like I just need to continue on the upswing," she said.
Anyone with information about sex trafficking can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or email NHTRC@polarisproject.org
The fundraiser for "All We Want is Love" will be held Saturday, January 19th at the Blake Hotel in uptown. Tickets range from $150 for an individual to $1250 for a group. For more information, go to www.allwewantislove.org
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