AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Every year in Maine, between 200 and 300 young women and girls are being trafficked for sex.
That's according to the Maine Human Trafficking Needs Assessment, a report put together by Hornby Zeller Associates for the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
In recent years, more and more people in social services and law enforcement have come to realize that most women who engage in prostitution are being forced into it, whether it's through organized crime, or an abusive boyfriend.But until now, there was no good sense of how many people we were talking about, and what happened to these women before they were trafficked.This is someone who grew up in Northern Maine and left their household."So what happens to young women like Grant that make them enter the life? I was trying to work, going to Mc Donalds for work. I was going to school full-time and raising my son on my own."She was the perfect target.Grant said she started building risk factors as a young child. Her mom moved her and her brother to 28 different states in a span of just a few short years. When her family moved back to Maine when she was 12, she started dating a boy four years older than she was."No one ever talked to me about sex or boys or how to say no or boundaries or -- nothing. So when he pressured her to have sex, she didn't stop him. The trafficking report found that women most likely to enter the life have a history of sexual abuse or domestic violence."If you don't have someone who cares for you unconditionally, who will accept you with your addiction, or accept you with your poor choices that you've made, or your history or whatever reputation that you have.
If you don't have someone who will accept you after that, you have nowhere else to go."Now that victims advocates in Maine have data to show that women who work in the sex industry are, in fact, victims of exploitation with common risk factors, they're hoping both public officials, and the rest of us, will see sex trafficking as a real issue that has concrete solutions.
We're not quiet about it anymore."For more information about sex trafficking or to get help, you can visit
Last week I was on a steamy date with a super sweet guy.
Not knowing what this job was, they went to a brown apartment building the next day. And that was all they needed to say."For other women, the trap can be health care they can't afford... Keller said, "Most women don't want to be doing this.
All are trying to survive."Some are even trafficked by abusive boyfriends, who claim the sex work is "for us" Spach said.
Is this going to be the one that I didn't do it good enough so he's going to kill me? Her traffickers knocked her out with alcohol -- and that was it."I remember waking up at home, and my knees hurt but they were -- I could walk, and I was fine. Sometimes the trafficker fools them into thinking they care.