Sex trafficking victims discuss insidious effects

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Candace Williams’ life as a victim of abuse and sex trafficking came to a sudden pause on the road from Ohio to Arizona.

She was traveling with man who had escaped a halfway house, speeding out west so she could re-stoke a meth habit.

But police intervened along the way and, as she tells it, God intervened while she served three years in prison.

“They thought they were arresting me, but they were saving me,” she said Saturday.

The night before her arrest, she had prayed for help.

“Either take me or something has to change.”

From the time she was 11 to 15, she and a relative were (sexually) exploited while living in Columbus with her mother.

“In our minds, we were getting rewarded for doing these types of things,” she said.

Things didn’t get better as she grew older, when drugs entered the equation.

A group of concerned Green residents gathered at Central Administration Building for a panel discussion on human trafficking on Saturday.

“When I was 16 I got involved with an individual that sold drugs,” she said. “He would tell me, ‘My friend is interested in you. Go and have sex with (him).”

Williams said the attention and expressions of love she hadn’t received from her mother became a need, keeping her involved with men who abused and manipulated her for financial gain.

“If I didn’t do those acts, they would beat the crap out of me,” she said.

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