'I thought I was going to die': Ontario survivor of human trafficking speaks out
Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019 8:45PM EDT
An Ontario woman who was forced into the sex trade, beaten and tortured is speaking out about her ordeal in a bid to help other victims and to work through her own trauma.
Twenty-six-year-old Victoria Morrison said that “at times I just wanted to give up and basically end my own life,” while describing the horrific ordeal that started just over a year ago.
Morrison was lured by her then-boyfriend, Andres Pavao, from Windsor, Ont. to Winnipeg, where he forced her into the sex trade, while subjecting her to beatings and torture, including electric shocks, being burned with a hot iron and being locked in a freezer until she went unconscious.
“I thought I was going to die in Winnipeg,” Morrison told CTV Windsor. “It seemed like impossible to escape.”
Morrison was able to get away by asking one of the johns Pavao set her up with to drive her to a police station under the pretense of going out to buy cigarettes.
“I said ‘just drive me to the police station’ and he did,” said Morrison. “I’m really lucky for that.”
Now Morrison is coming forward to share her story in a bid to work through her post-traumatic stress and to help others.
She has been working with WeFight, an organization that provides direct services to victims of trafficking, domestically and internationally.
“This is happening in communities all throughout…the province of Ontario and really the country,” said social worker and WeFight employee Shelley Gilbert.
WeFight staff told CTV Windsor that in 2018 they had 70 to 80 open cases alone.
“Who better than someone with lived experience like Victoria to explain to people what’s happening and how it can happen to just about anybody?” said Gilbert.
Morrison said “its mind blowing " that she "went through something that horrible,” and that she wants to “make the best out of her life” moving forward.
Pavao was sentenced to eight years in prison last week, after pleading guilty to one count each of human trafficking, forcible confinement and obstruction of justice.