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Sex Trafficked: A survivor thrives

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Inside the world of sex trafficking and the hero's journey of a woman who escaped, healed, and now helps others.

“That's the thing with traffickers and exploiters. They're so good at picking up on your vulnerabilities. And my vulnerabilities were so obvious, especially at 20 years old.” - Gabrielle Congrave Baggenstoss

Former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of facilitating the abuse of underage girls at the hands of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein last week. While the world has learned of yachts, fancy parties, and island homes as the settings of Epstein’s trafficking, the reality is that sex trafficking and sexual exploitation happens in towns of all sizes and in homes and businesses hidden in plain sight.

Gabrielle Congrave Baggenstoss was attending Goddard College in Vermont, pursuing a writing degree, and working toward her lifelong dream of becoming a published author when pressures of academia became too much to bear. She returned to Minnesota via bus to start a new chapter in her personal life. The chapter would be far from her academic dreams and would at times be a living nightmare. Gabrielle became the hero of her story, though. She now helps others heal from traumas associated with sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.

In this Area Voices segment, Gabrielle takes listeners inside her experience in the sex trade, shares how she escaped the lifestyle, her multi-prong approach to healing from the experience, and she offers advice on how to help if you think someone is being trafficked.

...Try to notice as many details as you can:What kind of car is the individual in? Can you maybe remember the license plate number, make, model, color?...The appearance of the people. Are they walking into a specific house? What's the address?...you see, say, a woman in that age range where you're like, is she 16? Is she 20?...And she's with an individual who seems to be steering her someplace, looks off, gives you a bad feeling...Try to note all the details you can… - Gabrielle Congrave Baggenstoss

text the word “help” to 233733

or call 800-708-2727

or call 888-373-7888

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.
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