Survivor shares personal testimony of escaping human trafficking in South Mississippi
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Sharon Robbins was just an 18-year-old teenager when she was recruited to be a sex worker. She remembers the harrowing day well, being approached while waitressing at a local beach restaurant on Highway 90.
“There was a gentleman that came in and set at the breakfast bar every morning,” Robbins said. “He befriended me for weeks and then months, and then asked the question. Befriending a young man or a young lady, that’s how the grooming process starts is they become your best buddy.”
The vicious cycle of abuse, neglect, and humiliation hammered her mental health, leaving Robbins plagued with emotional numbness.
“I didn’t understand how I got here. I cried myself to sleep a lot of times because sometimes doing that hurt physically, not just mentally or emotionally. I just became a piece of meat. My job was to please him until his time was up, then go dance, and then go home.”
Like so many others who are coerced through phycological manipulation by handlers, Robbins was once convinced there was no means of escape.
“I didn’t know there was a way out of what had happened to me,” she added. “I didn’t understand who to blame then. Now as I’ve grown more mature and have my own children; I get it. This was part of my journey.”
Today, Sharon Robbins is sixty-one years old. When asked, “What advice she would give her younger self during that time forty years ago,” she stressed the importance of having a mother figure.
“Keep running until you run into that brick wall called momma, the right momma. That’s what I did; I ran right smack into my momma Fey. I’ll never forget her. She changed my world,” said Robbins.
Now serving as the Founder & Executive Director for Jubilee Havens, Robbins wants survivors to know they matter.
“Because of the way that they have dealt with their trauma, and they are not dead, and they survived; they are a plus to society, society just doesn’t know it yet,” she said.
According to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the following numbers were recorded for the state in 2021:
- 275 reports of human trafficking
- 368 victims (300 potential minors, 68 adults)
- 102 reports of familial trafficking
- 20 arrested for human-trafficking related incidents
- 10 children recovered
For more information on the organization, you can visit their website at www.jubileehavens.com.
If you or someone you know is in need of immediate assistance, dial the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888)-373-7888, (844)-738-0590 or text “BEFREE” to 233733.
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