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Survivor of human trafficking case shares story in hopes to help others

The Denver District Attorney's Human Trafficking Unit has been around for six years.

In that time, they have investigated over 150 cases and filed lawsuits for 91 cases and 28 indictments in the grand jury. Including, Randy Clark's case, a Colorado man who has been sentenced to 45 years for assault and human trafficking charges.

This was a multi-agency effort between prosecutors and police from Boulder, Denver, Longmont, and Louisville.

About six years ago, a dedicated unit was formed to combat human trafficking, surrounding both labor and of adults and juveniles. Initially, the unit had only one member, but it has since grown to include six individuals solely focused on these crimes and investigations.

The case of Randy Clark highlights that traffickers don't have a specific victim profile. In Clark's case, investigators discovered multiple victims across different jurisdictions, leading to a collaborative effort among agencies and DHS offices to prosecute him.

According to the unit, trafficking trends involve perpetrators using to exploit vulnerable individuals, often connected to drug-related activities. Parents are urged to monitor their children's activities to protect them from traffickers who prey on vulnerabilities.

Kelly Rogers, a survivor of human trafficking is sharing her story in hopes to help others.

“I was forced to perform sex acts on other men, I felt helpless, and I felt trapped because he made it seem like I owed him,” said Rogers of her experience with Clark.

She met Clark through Facebook Messenger when she was 21 years old struggling with addiction.

“At first it was like, totally normal. He would like throw parties and you know; it seemed like legit,” said Rogers.

Chief Deputy District Attorney, Lara Mullin with the Human Trafficking Unit says this is a tactic these criminals use to reel their victims in and it is becoming more common.

“We are certainly seeing this trend of individuals like Randy Clark, who use social media to prey on individuals who are vulnerable and so his focus was primarily recruiting and looking for people who were addicted to drugs and looking for drugs,” said Mullin.

That's how this nightmare began for Rogers.

“At first he would, you know, either sell drugs or give them to me for and then the next time I met up with him, he was like, okay, you know, when I got you the stuff, well now you owe me, and I'd be like, ‘okay, well, let me pay you back,'  and he'd be like, ‘I don't want your money,' said Rogers.

Clark started making her perform sexual acts on others, exploiting her for money. Rogers was just one of three victims.

“One time when I did meet up with him, he took me to this creepy house in Denver and he said he had to go inside because he had to make a deal with somebody and I followed him in and I was already intoxicated – we met this guy named Grimey and he made me perform oral sex on him and he yelled at me, screamed at me and threaten to hit me,” said Rogers.

Mullin says this happens often because people don't realize they're getting into dangerous situations until it is too late.

“What's important is that the victims of trafficking are unseen, they're not coming forward about these crimes. They're not even identifying as victims of human trafficking and so frankly, we've missed them. They're some of the most vulnerable parts of our population and they deserve to be seen and they deserve to be supported,” said Mullin.

She also notes It's important to be mindful of who one is speaking with online.

Rogers echoes that, as she states this can happen to anyone at any time.

“It doesn't happen the way that people think it does, they don't kidnap people and hold them against their will, they get you to do their bidding by holding something over you,” said Rogers.

To report or get help: Call 866-455-5075

Colorado's Human Trafficking Hotline is a 24/7 hotline and resource directory managed by the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization.

Colorado's Human Trafficking Hotline is a survivor-informed resource created to connect individuals experiencing exploitation, individuals reporting potential human trafficking tips, and service providers in search of referral with available support services in a safe and anonymous manner.

You can also text the Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline: 720-999-9724

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

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Human Trafficking Essentials Online Certificate Course
Human Trafficking Essentials Online Certificate Course

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.

 

EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.