Two Harbors, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Every year more than 27 million people around the world become victims of sex trafficking. The average age of a child when they first become a victim is 13.
These are sobering statistics but what really brings them home is when you actually meet victims of this terrible trade.
Bobbi Larson of Two Harbors was just 14 when she fell victim to sex traffickers. As she looks back on all that happened to her between 14 and 18 years of age she says she feels like garbage.
Bobbi Larson is a timid 19–year old. In her short lifetime she’s been through Hell and back.
She says it frustrates her that no one understands what she’s been through. And its hard not to have people to talk to about her ordeal.
When Bobbi was a freshman at Two Harbors High School she says she was bullied because she was somewhat overweight. She said the kids picked on her, calling her names like hippo and slut. She ran away from home and as a vulnerable young girl it didn't take long for her to fall into the wrong hands.
She says she was given a variety of drugs and quickly became addicted.
“It was just all beating and threatening me and I got zero money, couldn't go anywhere. I had to sit in this dirty back room. Just smoking meth and having sex.”
Her drug addiction was so strong that she would do anything to get her fix.
“It was just meeting guys and going to smoke marijuana, doing ecstasy, meth, cocaine, drinking.”
It was a violent and dangerous lifestyle...and the men who ran her life were often demanding and cruel. She says her pimp hit her and showed her a gun.
Then one day the FBI showed up. She said she knew she faced a struggle with her drug addiction but was sick of being on the run and worrying about where she was going to stay and if she were going to die.
But that wasn't the end of it. Bobbi has been in an out of rehab and group homes, but at 19 she believes she's now on the right path. She's back living in Two Harbors and her parents know that every day is still tough.
Her mother, Deanna Larson says every day is a struggle for her daughter and believes it will take years, if ever, for her to get over her experiences.
Bobbi’s dad Scott Larson says the years when they didn’t know where Bobbi was or what was happening to her were awful.
“Not knowing what was going on with them; did they want you there to help them; were they calling your name when they were being attacked by someone? It was very difficult. A lot of sleepless nights."
Bobbi knows her parents suffered too and appreciates their love and understanding. She’s currently looking for a job and is trying to stay straight.
“I've messed up a couple of times already but I feel like I am doing the best that I can. At least I am not on the streets shooting meth up.”
There are a lot of organizations working to help young victims of sex trafficking. Tuesday night on the KBJR 6 & range 11 News we'll look at what’s being done to support kids that have been caught in the trafficking trap.