LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Most parents would do anything to protect their children from harm, but in some households right here in Lubbock, parents are deliberately putting their children in dangerous situations so they can make a profit.
KCBD sat down with three women, who broke free from years of abuse and are receiving help from community resources here in Lubbock, like Open Door.
We have given them different names in this report to protect their identities.
“I was trafficked by my father. It started around 7-years-old or 8-years-old right here in Lubbock, Texas,” Danielle said.
She told us she finally broke free when she was 29-years-old.
“So my mom was my trafficker, so I had to stay in the household. There was no out,” Sophia said.
For many survivors, the fear of reporting the abuse can be greater than enduring it.
“I knew that if you spoke up, that they were going to remove you from your household, and that is not something you want to do as a child,” Sophia said.
For one of the survivors we spoke with, her step father’s debt became her burden.
“We have to pay this guy back, so you need to start selling weed at school or just carry this bag at school for me. When you get out of school, I’ll pick you up and we have to go by his house to make this payment, and you have to pay him whatever he wants you to do,” Monique said.
She made the decision to sacrifice herself to save her family from his threats.
“Or I can get your sister, your baby sister to do it if you won’t. I could beat your mom; I could throw you mom down some stairs. Would you like that? So it was more, I have to do it to protect,” Monique said.
These women, and unfortunately thousands of others, have watched as the people who they thought loved them the most ripped away their childhood.
“I would go to get out of the shower and my towel wasn’t there. I’m a seven-year-old little girl and I’m having to ask my dad to bring me a towel. Then it got to where that kind of progressed,” Danielle said.
When a parent was not sexually assaulting them, these women said they were being handed off to someone who was.
“Dad’s friends, dad’s girlfriends,” Danielle said.
“Some were business partners, some were friends,” Sophia said.
Children’s bodies in exchange for drugs and cash, and when they did try to run away, it was never far enough.
“He came back and got me plenty of times and drug me back, but it’s hope on the other side of that. It’s someone who can help you, someone who has a spy sense who can figure out there is something wrong. It’s hope and faith in God because He hears you, He is real,” Monique said.
Hope, prayers, and in some survivors’ cases, police officers who follow their instincts.
“I prayed to God one night, please get me away from this man. I don’t care what you do, just get me away. The next morning, I was picked up by the Lubbock Police Department," Danielle cried.
These women are still healing, and thanks to Open Door, they have found each other, have a safe place to call home, and are learning what true love really looks like.
“There’s laughter, there’s lots of love, there’s family, true family,” Danielle said. “I get to live.”
Read more stories from our Sex Trafficking on the South Plains special in the Sex Trafficking section of KCBD.com.