Nicole's Story

Jan 17, 2020 | by Ashley Powell

At an early age, Nicole had been in and out of homeless shelters with her family. When she was only 13 years old, Nicole’s mom married a man who they moved in with. Her stepfather physically and sexually abused Nicole, while her mother ignored the problem. Nicole ran away many times trying to escape her childhood. At 18 years of age, Nicole met a 30-year-old man who flattered her in all the right ways and met her basic needs. After several months of happy dating, her new boyfriend began forcing her to take drugs and sexually exploiting her.

For an entire year, Nicole experienced this abuse, never getting paid, only receiving food and a place to stay. Nicole’s only survival skill was to be agreeable. On one day, however, law enforcement discovered Nicole while running a sting at a local hotel. They realized that she was a victim of human trafficking and contacted The Salvation Army Project FIGHT through the 24-hour hotline.

A case manager from Project FIGHT met Nicole at the hotel. They assessed her immediate needs and were able to provide her with a safe place to stay, new clothes, and food. From there, Nicole and her case manager developed a case plan to help her get back on to her feet.

Through The Salvation Army Project FIGHT case plan, Nicole is now living independently and working full time. She is learning self-confidence while attending therapy to deal with her ongoing trauma. Today, Nicole is a member of her community where others do not know her past. She feels like her dignity has been restored and she now sees a hopeful future.

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