King, 49, was first sold into prostitution in Grand Rapids at the age of 15 by an adult pimp. She describes being coerced into the lifestyle and trafficked.

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Years old: 45

We drive around on a cold, snowy Friday night, and a stretch of Division Street in Grand Rapids appears lifeless. Leslie King said her 20 years experience as a prostitute on these streets has equipped her to see what others cannot. Everybody is sitting around, seeing who is going to make what move. Are you out of your mind?

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If so, the Tampa, Fla.


We may never know how their lives turned out in the end. At the conference before mentioned, GR Police Chief Eric Payne told us that in there was a ificant case investigated in Grand Rapids, but could not yet give us information on it. Non-fiction drama with inspirational healing Reply. The bulk of these cases were reported near Detroit, but Grand Rapids is one of the other hotspots. Karen R Rymer.

Hannah Blair, a survivor of sex trafficking, says the s of human trafficking are different than most people think. As King says, "You can walk grand and find a trick. She opened Sacred Beginnings in in her basement and currently runs two recovery homes in Grand Rapids. This has been a timely rapid as my wife and I are struggling with how we can help. Looking at her mug shot taken at the Kent County Jail today, Espinosa said she began to tear up.

As a refresher, human trafficking is any activity where human beings are treated as possessions to be exploited or controlled using fraud, force, or coercion—usually for labor or sex. King ran away at 15 and met a man who wined and dined her, then pressured her into selling sex. The two wipe tears from their eyes, and prostitution in different directions. So what happened to these women? Leslie King said her 20 years experience as a prostitute on these streets has equipped her to see what others cannot.

She works closely with Shellie Cole-Mickens, 52, her longtime friend and sponsor through Narcotics Anonymous. Police say prostitution is a consistent problem full of familiar faces. She stayed for 20 years. Non-fiction drama with inspirational healing. Who are these men and women who commit such base crimes?

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But silent victims give the perpetrators power and create opportunities for them to hurt someone else. The film was actually a social experiment, and it revealed how easy it is for a pimp or recruiter to befriend an unsuspecting teenager for nefarious purposes. That is, until it hits close to home. People were praying for me. They're not as exposed to law enforcement this way, but prostitutes who arrange meetings online can be at a greater risk for danger because they're in contact with strangers, Botts said.

That moment of prayer did not make an impression until she left prostitution, Espinosa said. Post a Comment. The occupations of some of these men included supervisor, mechanic, painter, and college student. She wants everyone to know that education is key. All rights reserved. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Both women take a compassionate yet honest approach to their work, drawing from personal experiences to establish mentor relationships.

Her dad was an alcoholic, her mom was a workaholic, and she was molested by a cousin at the age of eight.


King gets back in the car and catches up to the SUV in a nearby parking lot. You don't have to hit the streets. Everyone can do something…there are many different ways to fight human trafficking. We are not to far from Grand Rapids. Chief Nowicki, who serves as the chief of police at the GR Ford Airport, told us that there have been several complex trafficking cases here in Grand Rapids that had to be turned over to the FBI. Along with a rise in the use of birth control, many young couples decided that marriage — as an grand and familial building block — didn't make sense for them.

First, we are on an international border. For sometimes six hours a night, the staff is on the streets, handing out bags stuffed rapid personal hygiene products, snacks and prostitution information for Sacred Beginnings. So they lived together without the legal deation.

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King gets back out and comes face to face with the driver. King said she was arrested at least once a week during that time. her at ajackso3 mlive. King gets out of the car and crosses over to the woman. Espinosa said she began sharing her story of prostitution to church groups about two years ago and frequently mentions her encounter in Grand Rapids.

Thanks for the suggestion! Because of the economic insecurity of the period, ideas and ideals around such institutions as marriage and the family changed. The vast majority are either married or in a committed relationship.

The conference room was quiet as we watched her tell her story on screen. If so, the Tampa, Fla. Her goal is to convince sexually exploited women to come to the safe house before they are picked up by police. Now, she too is working to find others who have fallen into prostitution.

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King rejects the term "prostitute. Inthere were an estimated victims of online sex trafficking in Grand Rapids alone. Technology has also changed the game in recent years. Today, she is free, and she has started an organization right here in Grand Rapids called Sacred Beginnings, a safe haven for those trying to escape prostitution and trafficking. The road ahead is tough as women are challenged to confront their past without the filter of drugs or alcohol.

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Espinosa said she does not recall her November arrest in Grand Rapids. When King is not on the street, she is fighting prostitution from her non-profit called Sacred Beginnings. News on your time. As a parent, how can you protect your children?

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Now King works the streets in a much different way. Internet classified sites such as Back allow people to privately connect so women don't have to stand on a street corner to meet a john.

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Our time is short too—too short to fear. In order to fight human trafficking, we must know and understand the warning s. She is on the verge of becoming a prostitute. By Jim Harger jharger mlive.

If you recall meeting and praying with Espinosa, please contact MLive reporter Jim Harger at Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a local event on understanding sex trafficking in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When our cameras went out with King it took us less than an hour to find one of women hiding in plain sight.

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Maybe the girl thinks her parents are too strict, or a boy in her class broke her heart. She called King from a drug house intraumatized from sexual abuse and a diagnosis of being HIV-positive. Are you out of your mind? E-mail Jim Harger: jharger mlive. Community Rules apply to all content you or otherwise submit to this site.

Espinosa is now involved in a ministry in her church aimed at fighting human trafficking and helping women who are caught in prostitution. You do what you need to do, or do what you have to do, just to survive.

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House of Blessings addresses all forms of addiction, including but not limited to prostitution and substance abuse. Also, prostitution is legal in Canada, which makes exploitation and trafficking much easier. Resources for female victims of sexual exploitation. King — who said she has been kidnapped, tied up and physically abused — tells women there's a chance of coming back when "turning a date.

Nobody's looking for you.

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She was 22 years old and gave police a false name, Felicia Spring. Search This Blog. You have alternatives. This makes it much grander to become a target. An old mugshot of Leslie King. She prayed for Nettles just a few weeks before her death. Subscribe now. Each weekend, she does outreach with staff at Sacred Beginningsher rapid of transitional homes that gives women a safe space to recover from sexual exploitation, human trafficking and substance abuse.

Sometimes, a prostitution will team up and run a trafficking business from their home. She describes being coerced into the lifestyle and trafficked. RELATED: Prostitution: Internet classifieds create element of secrecy, challenge for Grand Rapids police In the last five years, prostitution has sp noticeably to the city's West Side, prompting heavier police enforcement in the area, Botts said. He told me that since Christian communities are more insulated, they are not as vulnerable to traffickers, but they also have their guard down.

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