Christine McDonald was sold into 21 years of sex trafficking after foster care

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Christine Clarity McDonald was sold into human trafficking after falling through the cracks of the very flawed foster care system and experiencing several stints of homelessness. McDonald was also forced to choose between her eyesight and her unborn child, which resulted in complete blindness. After 103 arrests, seven prison stints, and almost taking a life, she knew she needed to find her way out of the evil that she had experienced the best way she could.

McDonald is now a speaker, internationally recognized author, and advocate to protect and rescue individuals from human trafficking. Her tragic story was not her ending, and she is living a life of achievement and acknowledgment to share her experiences so others can be educated about the danger and better recognize the signs of abuse and sex trafficking.

How were you introduced to the world of human trafficking?

I had a single-parent household, my mother was an addict, and we moved around a lot. I was in and out of the foster care system, which presented a huge vulnerability of sexual abuse. The system had failed me and somebody was willing to fill in that gap. A gentleman befriended me, provided for my needs, gave me a place to stay, and sold me for $2,500 to the owner of some strip clubs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Coffeyville, Kansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was sold into that at 15 and then at 17, I found myself with just layers and layers of trauma, very broken.

I was controlled, I wasn’t even able to go to the bathroom by myself. In all of that vulnerability and chaos, what do you do? I didn’t have anybody to call early, if I would have had an opportunity to get away, there was no one to call. I ended up in Kansas City, Missouri where I spent the next 17 years being bought and sold.

For 21 years, law enforcement, emergency rooms, service providers, and people in the community had opportunities to identify and see what was going on. Nobody reported it because the general public was unaware of what trafficking looks like. Because of that, I spent 21 years in it and I went through a lot of horrific things. Nobody identified me as a victim. One of the things I think we assume is a victim is going to say, “hey, rescue me.” when the reality is, is you become so brainwashed, so controlled through the violence, through the segregation, and you don’t know from one day to the next if your pimp or your trafficker is going to let you breathe, or kill you.

When he decides if you live or die, you become pretty compliant. That’s the power of psychological trauma through sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and violence. You’re not only experiencing the physical violence but witnessing the violence happening to others will cause you to comply and submit to whatever.

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