(CBS Detroit) – In recent years, we’ve all become familiar with the term human trafficking. S.O.A.P. was founded by author, advocate and survivor, Theresa Flores. As the former Birmingham resident tells us, human trafficking can be happening right in your own backyard.
“I was just a normal, all-American kid living in the upper-middle-class suburb of Birmingham, explains Theresa Flores, founder of The S.O.A.P. Project. “I was targeted by a group of guys and was courted by this one guy for 6 months. I had a crush on him, and he just asked me if I wanted a ride home from school one day, and I jumped at the chance just thinking he was going to take me home, but he didn’t.”
“He took me to his house and drugged me, and raped me. Then, he and his cousins blackmailed me for about 2 years with photos that they had taken. One night, I was kidnapped by them and left for dead in a motel in Detroit after having been used over and over again all night long.”
On her worst night, after being auctioned off to nearly two dozen men in a dingy, dirty, inner-city Detroit motel, Theresa recalled the only item that would have reached out to her, a bar of soap. With that in mind, she created S.O.A.P. — Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution — to help reach out to other victims.
“I was bound and determined that I was not going to let them win the rest of my life, adds Flores, “and I think it’s that resilience that made me come out okay. People give up, they’re like ‘there’s nothing I can do about it’…but there is.
Watch for “Eye on Detroit” segments weekdays during “CBS This Morning” at 7 a.m. featuring unique and positive stories from the Motor City.
© 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.