Sex trafficking survivor says police were among hundreds of abusers


A woman has bravely recounted how she overcame a childhood of being gang raped, sexually abused by family members and trafficked.

Jessa Dillow Crisp, who is now 29 and lives in Denver, Colorado, only broke free from traffickers in 2010.

Her abuse started aged 10 in her home country of Canada where she was molested by members of her own family.

As a child, she was made to pose for pornographers, had to perform degrading sex acts and was raped in front of the cameras.

She was then sold to various pimps and friends of her family who abused her.

Speaking to MailOnline, she said: “I was brought up in Canada and the physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, and sexual abuse to include child pornography and sex trafficking was done in suburban neighborhoods, local brothels, and hotels.

“Although the abuse was perpetrated onto me and although I had no choice in the matter, I spent my childhood thinking I was bad, shameful, and that something was wrong with me.

“My abuse and trafficking started before the age of 10 and my family was definitely involved. Sadly, as I work with survivors I am finding out that “familial trafficking” is very common.”

She continued: “The physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, and sexual abuse set me up to be a passive victim when the child pornography started, which is a normal response when one is groomed into a trafficking situation.

“After the child pornography started, that is when the trafficking started with me being sold to people in the neighbourhood. Shortly after that, I was then taken to different pimps who sold me.

“Eventually my trafficking progressed into a deeper and darker evil where I was taken overseas for the sole purpose of being trafficked. It was not only terrifying, but during that time I often wondered if I would survive.”

Speaking to the charity Global Citizen, she added: ‘I remember the smells, the sights, and the tastes of slavery. The horror can’t be put into words, neither can the brothels I was taken to or the men and women I was forced to service.

“There was gang raping. Police officers were some of my buyers and multiple times I was handcuffed, raped, and told that if I told anyone I would be put in jail.

“If I couldn’t trust even the police, how could I trust anyone?”

But she said her terrifying ordeal got worse.

“I had somebody very close to me tortured and she eventually died in front of my eyes,” she recounted.

At her lowest point, she said her life changed when she met a woman who worked with survivors of sex trafficking at the age of 21.

She gave her a piece of paper with her number on and told her to contact her.

Ms Dillow Crisp finally plucked up the courage to ring her and called her from under a pile of blankets hiding from her pimps.

“She explained to me that my future did not have to be built upon the trauma that had happened to me,” she recalled.

The woman helped her get to the airport, onto a plane and into a safe house for women who had experienced human trafficking.

But after finding peace in the US, she had to return to Canada because her visa was only a six-month tourist permit.

Tragically, on her return, she was befriended by a female pimp when the Vancouver safehouse she was staying in closed.

She told MailOnline: ‘She was very kind and I had no inkling during that time that she was going to traffic me, I just knew that there was a kind lady who was paying attention to me when I needed help and was all alone.

“She said, ‘Jessa, I see sexual abuse in your eyes.’ I thought I had found a friend.”

“After building an exclusive relationship with me, she took me back to her home where she broke my will and trafficked me during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.”

She added: “Because of my past abuse and my past trauma I was just so vulnerable to people taking advantage of me again and I thought, ‘What’s wrong with me, what have I done?’

“After that second trafficking experience it was almost impossible for me to trust anyone. I was a slave once again.”

But after falling into the horrifying world of sex trafficking once more, she managed to escape a second time and return to the US.

“I was terrified of the unknown, frightened that I would be hunted down by my pimps and abusers,” she said.

After returning to the safehouse in the States, the director there encouraged her to enrol at college.

The 29-year-old graduated with a BA in clinical counseling and is currently working on an MA in clinical mental health counseling as a step toward a psychology doctorate in clinical psychology where she hopes to specialized in trauma recovery.

She has a GoFundMe account which can be found here.

When she is not working, she enjoys hiking Colorado’s mountains with her husband John, and is an aspiring photographer.

“I refused to let the evil of my past win,” she told Global Citizen. “Instead my pain has a purpose now.”