Survivor aims to stop I-5 sex trafficking

Credit: KGW

Survivor aims to stop I-5 sex trafficking

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by KGW staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 25 at 1:25 PM

PORTLAND -- For many people, Interstate 5 is a highway to work, but for one survivor of sex trafficking, it was a highway to hell.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, was living in Portland and was homeless when a relative said he could help her. He ended up selling her on the streets instead. He would drive her all over the West Coast using Interstate 5.

"Colleen,” as we're calling her, eventually sought help from her family and escaped, but she left behind many other women who didn't have that kind of help.

On Friday she took to the freeway again - only this time, she will be holding up a sign to try and stop human trafficking.

Watch: I5exit.com campaign begins

“I tried to leave a couple of times. That’s when you get beat. That’s when you get hurt. That’s when you get dragged by your hair. That’s when they teach you a lesson. They beat you up so badly you can't leave,” she told KGW.

On Thursday, she and other women dedicated to the cause put together signs that read i5exit.com. The signs lead to a website with information about human trafficking.

They'll hold those signs on freeway exits from Jantzen Beach to Albany.

“We wanted to take I-5 and flip it. Use it for awareness, use it for good," she said. "Maybe a survivor will visit the website and get the resources she needs and the help she needs.”

Colleen said she is still haunted by the memory of walking an 11-year-old victim to a police station. Colleen was too scared to go in with her. She still doesn't know what happened to the girl.

Anyone who is experiencing a similar crisis, or needs a resource for family or friends, can call the Sexual Assault Resource center at 503-640-5311.

KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.

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