He had said he loved her. He had said he needed her.
Lobert is a victim of sex trafficking. Working as a prostitute since she was 18 years old, the young woman has experienced horrors that would make even the most stiff of upper lips tremble.
Yet today, the year-old stands and tells her story in an effort to bring to light an issue often shrouded in darkness. To tell the world that slavery is real, it is evil and it could happen to anyone.
The sex slave trade is one that pervades every corner of the world, including Fort Collins. It is the driving force behind a of grassroots and political initiatives to eradicate human trafficking, like the one started in part by senior construction management major Tim Hickory, or a bill sitting on Gov. But from there, unlike most high school students, her life took a drastic turn.
Lobert initially got involved with the sex industry on her own terms.
Selling her body made more than retail work ever would. The lifestyle quickly spiraled out of her control, as she became yet another face in the sea of women who are trafficked for sex, their bodies mere commodities to their employers. Sex trafficking is the use of a person for a sexual act under fear or coercion.
It is more common today than it has ever been. Lobert was frequently beaten brutally by her pimp, who told her no one but him would ever love her. When Hickory ed several friends in to form the CSU chapter, it was about raising awareness of the sex industry, which has, according to anecdotes by experts and observers, boomed since the Democratic National Convention in Denver in Amanda Finger, the executive director of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, said Craigslist advertisements for sex in Denver during the DNC jumped from about a day to a day.
Political conventions are notorious for drawing sex traffic, but even before the DNCColorado was known as a hotbed for trafficking because its capital city is home to one of the largest international airports in the country. From July toaccording to the Human Trafficking Project, 25 sex trafficking victims were identified in the state of Colorado.
But because HTP estimates found that generally only 1 percent of cases get identified, their figure of actual cases in the state are approximately 2, It can be used over and over. The U. International Labor Organization estimates that in1. Department of State blames, in part, the global financial crisis for an increased amount of trafficking around the world.
And Klein worries that trafficking will overtake the top two: the drug and arms trades. For Lobert, like most, prostitution was a short cut.
It was only temporary. Until she fell in love. Lobert was to give the man she loved all her money after every job, which he claimed to be saving for a home where they could eventually retire. He started beating her, forcing her to take drugs and jobs even when she refused.
And he demanded all the money. The first time Lobert tried to escape, her pimp discovered her plans and locked her in the trunk of her own car, running in the garage. Her project lies in the same vein of advocacy. When Choice Tan, a brothel in north Fort Collins posing as a tanning salon, was closed inprostitution became a local public reality for the first time in the memory of local police officials.
Trafficking victims are mislabeled, often by authorities, experts say. Pimps will use fear to manipulate women into staying with them.
This often makes cases of trafficking and prostitution hard to differentiate, and one of the reasons trafficking statistics in Northern Colorado remain sparse. Victims must volunteer that they have been held against their will for the case to be classified as one of trafficking, said Russell Reed, the sergeant in charge of crimes against persons for the FCPS.
Since working and training with Not For Sale, Hickory has discovered brothels operating in Colorado Springs and Denver, and was also hired by another anti-trafficking organization to investigate a brothel in South Dakota with two other CSU students. While posing as customers, Hickory and his teammates discovered a brothel in the back of the club, and reported their findings to be used to petition for anti trafficking legislation.
Hickory looks for several indicators when he suspects a place to be something other than a massage parlor, tanning salon, strip club or other front. These include being open later then normal hours, keeping the door locked and being surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Trafficking cases are recorded simply as cases of pimps and prostitution.
Steele, a professor at Metro State College on the issue since We honor that. And the consumers could be uncomfortably close to home. They cannot be identified by any one descriptor or stereotype.
In many cases, they look like your dad, your uncle, people who have it all together. There is no single profile.
The addicts are simply seeking their next fix. These cases are more likely to involve violence and children. Klein has been the prosecutor on several high profile cases of child prostitution, including a prostitution ring in Boulder.
It is not an isolated problem. But getting away physically was only the first step in the long process of recovery from the trauma caused by working in the forced sex industry. Lobert is now the founder and president of Hookers For Jesus, an international organization committed to abolishing sex slavery.
The network runs a home for women transitioning from sex trafficking called the Destiny Center, based in Las Vegas, which looks to become a nationwide system of safe houses. It can get something done.
Not For Sale is currently accepting any students interested in ing its movement. Authors: Maggie Canty. ZIP: 39428