SOUTH EUCLID -- Victims of human trafficking told stories of their entrapment, suffering, and escape.
The symposium focusing on human trafficking drew dozens of people to the auditorium of Notre Dame College. All have been involved, or plan to be involved in fighting the mostly hidden crime.
"At the beginning, it seems like an endless party. Easy money, every day," said China Krys Darrington, of Akron. "You make your own rules. Seems like an easy life."
Darrington, 41, left her life in the sex trade underworld 8 years ago. She became entrapped at the age of 9 when she became the victim of a businessman at a friend's sleepover.
"The bottom falls out at some point for everyone," she told WKYC. "Whether it's watching your friends die, whether it's child welfare on your back, whether you do something so bad that your kids end up sick, broken, or dead."
"There are people who came and. asked me directly, 'are you involved in these things?'" she said. "And it wasn't until the bottom fell out, until I was ready to accept help, that I was going to get the help I needed to get out of that."
Darrington now works as a victim's advocate in trying to help young women escape from the human trafficking network, which is said to be active in Northeast Ohio.
"Do you know what was one of the biggest things that helped, was when somebody stopped treating me as a bad apple, when somebody said what happened to you? What happened? And what can we do to help," Darrington concluded.
Another young woman who just escaped from the man who had been holding her for pleasure and profit told the symposium she had been lured in as a teenager, due to the lack of a solid family.
"I was always looking for a parental figure," the woman, who still lives in fear of the man who entrapped her, said. "It's just I didn't have one my whole teenage years growing up, and I ran into the wrong people."