Human trafficking survivor uses her experience to help victims

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Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) - Law enforcement freed over 150 victims of human trafficking this weekend, but those victims face a hard path forward.

One local group aims to help them and others like them.

Tennessee Valley Family Service's doesn't advertise their location, because the group brings trafficked kids through the building all the time. You never know who might be looking for them.

The regional director of the group, Lynn Caffery, tells us, "I'm a survivor of human trafficking, and this is where God has led me."

It was a long road to get here.

"I spent twelve years in prison," Caffery shares, "I was on the street when I was eleven. I was a junkie by the time I was thirteen, and I was running guns and drugs and being trafficked in that area."

Caffery took to the streets because her legal caretakers heavily abused her, but you could hardly say she escaped them.

"The first shot of dope I was ever given, I was eleven years old. It was meth. That's what escalated it," she reveals.

Caffery's relationship with the streets she fled to and the traffickers that took advantage of her is complicated, "All I knew is that these people took me in and gave me a home and even though I was high, I was filling that void of emptiness."

She eventually got caught up with law enforcement. She tells us she lost her freedom, but regained it through, "Prison. I had a social worker that didn't give up on me. And she said, 'I see something in you, you don't see in yourself.'"

For the victims who find themselves on street corners today, Caffery hopes to be that voice, but she's got a message for you too: "It's not a choice. It's a life that they're having to live because they don't know how to get out of it, and that's what we're there for. And it could be your child. You could have the perfect family, and your child is rebellious and leaves home. And a perp gets a hold of them. So you know, nobody's door is closed to this."

So far, in just a year-and-a-half, Tennessee Valley Family Services has helped more than fifty kids escape human trafficking and get into college with long-term plans for success.

They say they could do more, but they desperately need money for a remodel to be able to house more people.

If you want to find out more about how to help these victims of human trafficking, you'll find information on their website. There are phone numbers to call and a link to donate.