BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of nurses in Biloxi recently heard about the horrors of human trafficking from a woman who survived it.
Lexi Smith's nightmare began at 10 years old, when a teenage boy from her Chicago neighborhood befriended her at a vulnerable time in her life.
"He had lured me to his house, trying to find batteries for a game that we wanted to play," Smith told a packed conference room. "He carried me up to his room and he raped me several times. He told me if I said anything, he'd do the same thing to my little sister."
Her fear and suffering continued for the next three years.
"And then he began inviting his friends over, and he sold me to one of his friends for the first time for $100. That's how much I was worth," said Smith.
Smith, now 25, shared her terrifying ordeal at the Mississippi Nurses Association Convention on Friday.
"I was shocked that she came out and said that it happened to her," said Alexa Smith, Delta State University nursing student.
Smith wanted to open the nurses' eyes to the reality of human trafficking; like the faces, the branding tattoos, and how to respond if they encounter the victims in their clinics and hospitals.
"I thought it was very important that she was able to touch not just those of us who are health care providers, but also the students that are just entering their nursing practice, so they will be aware of how they can be involved and how influential they can be in changing people's lives," said Pelahatchie Nurse Practitioner Gayle Harrell.
Smith graduated from college with a degree in psychology. She currently assists law enforcement agencies, and does advocacy work for human trafficking victims.