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Sex trafficking survivor speaks to Salpointe Catholic students

Posted at 9:50 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 00:50:58-04

When Lisa Hansen began her presentation at Salpointe Catholic High School, she first offered a warning to the staff and students there.

"I'm just going to forewarn you, it's not going to be a fun topic," she said.

Virtually every seat in the auditorium was filled, as students intently listened to a presentation about a topic many of them probably have never talked about: human sex trafficking.

Hansen works at Sold No More, an organization that is aimed at combating and abolishing sex trafficking. She spends a lot of time going from school to school, educating youth about how serious this problem is, and how vulnerable they can be.

"We just have to be vigilant in talking to our kids," she said. "It's a whole different type of stranger danger, it's not what it used to be."

What she means by that -- the Internet has opened the door for more child predators, therefore, the industry has been able to grow immensely.

"You can sell a person over, and over, and over," Hansen said. "Labor trafficking brings in $50 billion a year. Sex trafficking, $100 billion."

The profits of the illicit industry shocked many students in attendance.

So did Hansen's story.

"I didn't just wake up and find myself a victim of sex trafficking," she said. "It started at a very young age with abuse."

She eventually ran away from home, but that decision quickly put her in another hole.

"I couldn't face my family anymore because there was so much shame over myself, who I thought I believed I was," she said.

But rather than going deep into the dark details of her personal experience as a sex trafficking victim in a way to instill fear in the students, she takes a different approach. She's very open and honest, doesn't sugarcoat it, as it's an uncomfortable topic. However, she tries to make the students realize just how much they are worth.

"You're in a room, sitting next to a person that is so valuable that you can't even put a price tag on them," Hansen said.