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Three Roadblocks to Rebuilding a Life After Being Trafficked

April 24, 20233 min read

Overcoming obstacles is never easy, but it's necessary to move forward.” - Sandy Storm, Survivor

Trafficking survivors face many obstacles in recovery. The roadblocks can stem from an internal sense of shame, to societal barriers as a result of acquiring criminal records during our times of exploitation, compounded by the stigma related to being a victim of sexual abuse and assault.

Three Roadblocks to Rebuilding a Life After Trafficking



Guilt and Shame
As a trafficking survivor, even after almost two decades of freedom, I have had to battle the demons of guilt and shame. The mental gymnastics would create a daily struggle for the most well-adjusted person, without the added complications of complex-PTSD thrown into the mix. Personally, I have made a commitment to finding qualified, licensed therapists to help me work out the toxic shame and get free of its effects on my life. One of the best practices I have found to overcome guilt and shame associated with trafficking is to "take every thought captive" and I hand it over to Jesus, and He makes it obey.

Criminal Charges
Other struggles I have faced are due to the plethora of criminal charges I took on during the years I was trafficked. Despite the fact that I have been free for almost 20 years, those criminal records are still haunting me. As a result of the trafficking I experienced, I have several misdemeanor counts as well as a few felony charges that have prevented me from living a free life today. I am currently working with the incredible team at The Joseph Project, a team of attorneys and legal professionals who are working on my behalf to have my record expunged so I can truly move forward. Joseph Project is a nonprofit organization that offers this support pro-bono to trafficking survivors so we can break free from our past and live a free life.

Societal Stigma
The stigma attached to being a victim of sexual assault and abuse might be one of the hardest obstacles to surmount. The previous generations practiced secrecy concerning such things, and an unspoken rule seemed to be put in force that prevented any utterance of the evils of rape and abuse. I have broken through these blockades of disgrace by sharing the truth about human trafficking and exposing the evil forces behind these crimes. Not only do I now have the power of victory over the negative events that brought me so much harm, but every time I lift my voice and speak the truth, I am paving the pathway of freedom and breakthrough for many others who suffered in silence.

The pathways to freedom will look different for each survivor who breaks free from the toxic traps of trafficking, but these are some of the obstacles I have had to face head-on and work overcome in order to live a life of liberty today. Others may take a similar course, or end up safe and healed without ever facing these challenges, but in the end we are all working towards a life free from exploitation with every step forward.

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Sandy Storm

Sandy Storm is an author, speaker, and abolitionist. Generously gifted with a creative spirit, Sandy is an inspiration to many. She shares her story of great love, hope, forgiveness, and redemption, and her presentations have been called educational, inspiring, and powerful. Attendees leave feeling empowered to bring positive change to their circles of influence. Sandy is also a published author, having written a trilogy about her experiences with child abuse, addiction, abortion, human trafficking, and the industry of commercial sexual exploitation, available at FootprintPub.com. Sandy has experienced a powerful transformation, going from victim to survivor, and now she is truly thriving, now living what can only be described as a brand new life.

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