Humans Behind Human Trafficking
"I spent 20 years being paid for.
Fifteen-year-old Christine McDonald ran away from an abusive home.
As a homeless youth, she was unknowingly brought into the world of human trafficking.
"He had to test the goods, and the goods were me."
But Christine says prostitution doesn't look the way we expect it to.
"It's not like I signed up and said, 'oh, I want you to sell me for sex'."
The 'pretty woman' picture of prostitution is dangerously misleading.
Only about 11% of women prostitute voluntarily.
The other 89%, ace a much darker reality.
"You were commodified, you were objectified and you were reduced to an object."
"A little red truck turned the corner. He pulled over, flashed his break lights so I walked down to the corner and I got in. We went and parked. He beat me and he raped me like I was a grown man. He took a gun and he pointed it at me, and he told me to get on my knees as he told me how I wasn't worthy of breathing the same air he was and how unworthy of life I was. I waited for him to pull the trigger and he didn't. He set the gun down and he started to undo his britches because he decided he was going to violate me all over again. I had an opportunity to get the gun and I told him to get on his knees as I pointed it at him. He told me about his wife, kids, job, and home - how valuable he was to the world. I had every ounce of rage and hate in me to take that man's life that day.
Christine says an act of God kept her from pulling the trigger.
"I didn't want to be the same monster that had been afflicted upon me over the years."
Seventy-two hours is all it takes with sleep and food deprivation, violence, perceived threats of violence or random acts of kindness to absolutely gain complete emotional and psychological control of a human being.
"To realize that you have fallen prey to someone that had that much psychological manipulation over you and that none of it was real. Everything you knew was a lie.
With 103 arrests, nine felony convictions and seven trips to prison, Christine is no stranger to law enforcement.
"Can't wait until we find you dead, so we can quit wasting our time with people like you."
Even in prison, prostitutes are seen as the lowest of the low.
"I had never been looked at as a human, equal to the people around me."
Christine now uses her story to help save other women's lives and helps to break the cycle of trafficking.
"As long as there's payers, there's going to be women. As long as there's women and payers, there's always going to be traffickers willing to take our people and exploit them and psychologically manipulate them for their profit."
"If more communities would have those conversations in public settings, we're going to be able to create a more comfortable environment for women to leave."
Christine has published two books.