CBS 4 Gainesville by ALICIA TARANCON SUNDAY, APRIL 17TH 2016
Gainesville, Fla. — Jerome Elam is a writer and human trafficking advocate. He’s also a human trafficking survivor. When he was only 5-years-old his step father began molesting him.
Before long, Elam was being used for child pornography.
“That went on for awhile and then one day he introduced me to a pedophile ring that he belonged to, my indoctrination into the pedophile ring was me being raped and beaten by all ten members,” says Elam.
He tried to get help, but was constantly threatened and beaten by his step-father.
Then when Elam was 12-year-old, he tried to end his life.
“I went into my mother’s rose garden, I downed the sleeping pills, chased it down with the vodka and fell into a deep sleep, I woke up in an emergency room with a group of wide-eyed doctors who told me I had just been dead for a total of three minutes,” says Elam.
It was then that Elam finally got the help he needed from law enforcement to get out of sex trafficking.
The Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking says sex trafficking isn’t just happening over seas, but across America and right here in Alachua County.
“We got a report last year from the Child Advocacy Center where they saw 25 kids that were involved in the sex industry, in other words that’s 25 cases of sex trafficking, 5 of which were pornography cases,” says Richard Tovar, the director of the Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
That’s the number of cases reported last year in Alachua County.
But stories like Elam’s are happening every day and years later he’s able to share his story with others in hopes that it will help victims come forward.
“I do struggle at times, but you know what, it’s worth it, the fight is very much worth it and I encourage everybody whose a victim or survivor to speak out and I encourage everybody to get involved in this fight and get involved with organizations that are involved with human trafficking,” says Elam.
There are number of different resources and ways to get involved like the Alachua County Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
If you find yourself a victim or know someone that may be in trouble you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888.