At 19, Jillian Mourning was pursuing a part-time career as a model while also attending college in North Carolina.
On a modeling assignment, while she was sleeping in her hotel room, she says, her manager and his friends raped her and videotaped the ordeal. Mourning says a cycle of blackmail and sex trafficking continued for six months.
Finally, she says, she was able to get out of the dangerous situation after her manager was arrested and imprisoned on unrelated financial charges.
Mourning decided to use her nightmare experience to help others avoid the same ordeal.
Now, a Do Something award finalist, she has an organization that works to stop human trafficking: All We Want is LOVE (Liberation of Victims Everywhere).
After a brief break from school, Mourning returned to classes, focusing on international studies and German with a minor in holocaust, genocide and human rights, and began to tell people her story.
“The more I talked about it, the better I felt,” she told Yahoo News. But as shocking as her story was, people were just as surprised to hear that sex trafficking is not just an international problem, but one that happens in the United States, too. “People have no clue,” she added.
Her organization, started in July 2012, educates youth about human trafficking and also focuses on prevention. Her group provides training to places where trafficking is likely to occur: hotels, gas stations and truck stops.
Reaching victims can be difficult. So the nonprofit came up with the idea to give out bars of soap at hotels with the National Sex Trafficking Hotline number for victims to call.
The group has already distributed 14,500 bars of soap, and seven cases have been reported to authorities through their outreach.
Mourning says she wants to expand training for law enforcement across the country, seed grants of $1,000 to colleges and high schools to start local chapters, and give out many more bars of soap.
The 25-year-old would like to see that no more young women or girls have to go through what she did. “I can do something, and I should do something,” she said.
The Do Something awards celebrate world changers aged 25 and younger. The grand prize winner will be announced on July 31 during a live-stream event on VH1 and will receive $100,000 toward his or her organization. This is the one of five profiles of the finalists. Vote for the grand prize winner by text.
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- human trafficking