At age 20, I was given a modeling opportunity with a clothing line in another country. I was overwhelmed by the thought of this huge dream, that this could possibly be my big break in my new modeling career. It was too good to be true. They offered me an all-expense paid trip. I was going to stay at a resort that was featured on the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Celebrities went there for vacation. This was a big deal!
When I arrived, it was not at all what I expected. I soon found out that I was trapped in a nightmare. Without my knowing, I had been purchased as a sex slave for a billionaire and his girlfriend. They actually bought me as a Christmas gift. I won’t go into all of the horrific details of what I endured. But, I never knew that this type of evil even existed! I didn’t know that people would lie to, trick and force regular American girls like me into being sex slaves.
After going through an extensive healing journey, it became part of my life’s purpose to help trafficked people. I’ve been in the anti-trafficking movement for over 10 years and have been doing Sex Industry Outreach for five years here locally. I am an author of two books, “Fighting for Your Purpose – From Sex Trafficking to Ministry” and “His Beloved Bride – A Journey into Deeper Intimacy with Jesus.” My husband, John Skiles, and I pastor Impact Life Church in Destin. I attribute my ability to heal and live a successful life to my faith in Jesus.
What is Sex Trafficking?
“U.S. law defines human trafficking as the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel a person into commercial sex acts or labor or services against his or her will. The one exception involves minors and commercial sex. Inducing a minor into commercial sex is considered human trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud or coercion.” – Polaris Project
Top 3 States in the USA where Sex Trafficking was reported in 2018 (Polaris): 1. California 2. Texas 3. Florida
What types of Sex Trafficking are here locally in the Panhandle?
• Illicit Massage Brothels
• Familial Trafficking (family members trafficking minors, usually drug related)
• Intimate Partner (pimp/trafficker groomed and built relationship, then trafficking started)
• Victims Sold Online (yes, there are websites and apps where trafficking victims are sold locally)
• Sex Trafficking is also happening illegally in some of the legal commercial sex Industry venues
• Sex Tourism (due to the number of vacationers that visit our shores)
How you can help?
• If you see it, report it! Call 911 and the Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888
• Educate yourself – Free Educational Resources at www.SulaSkiles.com/SexTrafficking.
• Connect with Local Non- Profits and Anti Trafficking Groups (See Recommended Below).
• Spread awareness in your spheres of influence.
• Give to those doing the work. Most victims escape their trafficker with nothing.
The Secret Place (Home for Girls)
Circuit 1 Human Trafficking Task Force
For more information, visit Sula at www.SulaSkiles.com.