First trafficked at the age of 15 after running away to California from her home in West Virginia, Angie Conn was able to escape and now advocates for girls and boys who have been lured—or are at risk of being lured—into sexual exploitation. Through her work, she helps her community understand that ending up and remaining in captivity is often about invisible chains, like trauma bonding, violence, and dependence, rather than actual physical chains. Ms. Conn feels strongly that highly sexualized portrayals of girls and young women in the media normalizes sexual exploitation.
“Violence is inherent in forced prostitution, from the trafficker to everyone who buys your body. When you walk into that room, or get into that car, or walk down that alleyway, they think they own you because they ‘purchased’ you. In that moment, you are required to surrender control.”