A human trafficking victim trapped in a Tennessee home escaped her captors on Thanksgiving Day.
Police were called to a Thorntons gas station in Murfreesboro for an unknown reason, according to the Daily News Journal. After they arrived, authorities spoke with a woman who had been held against her will in a nearby home and harrowingly escaped through a bathroom window.
The unnamed 29-year-old woman said she had been sold and traded for drugs in the Readyville and Bradyville areas. She had also been swapped in Grundy County, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky.
She told police her captors had drugged her with ketamine, which can cause hallucinations and has been used as a date-rape drug, to make her sleep at night. They also forced her to take cocaine during the day, according to police filings.
The survivor described her two captors as a black man with a gray and white beard and a Hispanic man who claimed to be part of a cartel.
Candy Carter, founder of Last Call 4 Grace Ministries and a longtime advocate for victims of human trafficking, told WATE-TV that fear often keeps victims from escaping.
“We like to tell them, ‘When they come away from it, you’re a hero,’” she said. “It does a lot to the human body, just what their mind and physical body goes through when they have been a victim to these kind of crimes.”
Some are able to cope well after escaping, while others require more attention. For most, Carter said, there are “triggers that pop up — you know, certain smells, certain sounds.”
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery in every sense,” she added.