****Content Warning: This story may be disturbing to some. Viewer discretion is advised.****
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Last month was National Sex Trafficking Awareness month, but 6 News continues to be here for you, highlighting the important work of the House of Promise, a local nonprofit that works to help survivors of human trafficking.
It can happen to anyone. No matter their age. It’s estimated that between 20,000 and 50,000 people become victims of sex trafficking each year in the United States.
The House of Promise’s main mission is to provide women survivors of sex trafficking a place to heal and recover. The nonprofit also offers residential living for victims for up to two years rent-free, as well as 24/7 support staff. They also offer mental health, physical health, and education services to victims in need. Victims can also receive aid from case managers, and receive help in landing a job.
In this four-part Digital Exclusive, 6 News will feature testimonies from real survivors that were helped by the House of Promise.
Yesterday, WLNS and the House of Promise shared the story of “Ann,” a woman who was tracked across state lines by traffickers. Today, we are parterning with the House of Promise to share “Bridgette’s” story.
The names of the survivors have changed and their faces have been censored to protect their privacy
Bridgette grew up surrounded by what appeared to be the perfect family.
Her father, a radiologist. Her mother, a teacher.
It wasn’t until her 30s that memories of her father’s sexual abuse would return
Bridgette recounted incidents where, as a child, Bridgette’s father would repeatedly sexually abuse her and have her appear in child pornography alongside other children her age.
Men would take pictures of the children on stage, naked, laughing and pointing.
Bridgette also said that her father indoctrinated her into cult, which she describes as “Satanic.”
The cult members would allegedly waterboard the children as a method of control alongside repeated sexual abuse.
Bridgette also recounted incidents where a man dressed as a police officer would come to her home and threaten her and the other children with being buried alive if they spoke out about the abuse.
“They would actually put us into the holes and shovel dirt,” she said.
Bridgette developed Dissociative Identity Disorder, likely caused by the trauma. She has seven alternate personalities living inside her.
They are distinct personalities with unique names and ages, said Bridgette.
One of the alternate personalities, a three-year-old child, holds onto the memories of the abuse.
Bridgette couldn’t believe the memories as they began to flood in, so she decided to confront her father. Sending him a simple text, asking if he abused her.
He responded “Yes.”
Bridgette attributes her healing to the House of Promise and her religious faith.
“I haven’t had hope in a really long time,” she said.
You can watch Bridgette’s full story in the video above.
If you or someone you know needs help, or want to learn more about human trafficking, you can find more resources here.