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Turning pain into purpose: Sex trafficking victim creates nonprofit for prevention

Posted at 7:56 PM, Jul 20, 2022

Watch this report at the top of this article.

MILWAUKEE — She was a victim of human trafficking for most of her teenage years while growing up in Milwaukee. Now, this survivor is turning her pain into purpose by helping spread awareness throughout our city.

"I think I was about 19 when I woke up one day in a strange place because alcohol would erase my memory," says April Bentley.

Before that day, Bentley spent the previous five years as a victim of sex trafficking.

"I didn't know that I was being trafficked. There was many years that I had no idea what that was. I didn't know that I was in a bad space," said Bentley.

She grew up near 14th and North. And says the trafficking began when she was 14.

"The community that I grew up in it was more or less that they celebrated it instead of tolerated it. Knowing that I was 14, where was I getting that kind of money? Why was my appearance change?" asked Bentley.

According to Polaris Project, a non-profit that runs the national human-trafficking hotline, sex trafficking is a $150 billion a year global industry. And it's happening in every area of the state. Wisconsin ranks fifth in human trafficking offenses, according to the FBI.

For Bentley, all it took was one woman who approached her on the streets.

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