MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis native movie producer is debuting his film that raises awareness about human trafficking Thursday.
The movie "Meet the Snows" is fictional, but it focuses on trafficking in urban areas. One survivor from Memphis said talking about it, like with this movie, is the best way to let people know about the wide-reaching problem.
Human trafficking survivor Kelley Alsobrook was a victim of human trafficking for five years. She shared her story ahead of the debut of film.
"He had beaten me so bad, that I was unrecognizable," Alsobrook said. "He tried to drown me in a bathtub, and when he got tired of trying to get me to drown, he took alcohol, and he poured it all over me. And he was gonna set me on fire, but we couldn't find a lighter. That's all God."
It's the type of terror she came to know.
"I became an easy target for traffickers because traffickers look for a person's vulnerabilities, and they play on those vulnerabilities... I had three different pimps because as soon as I'd get away from one, I still wasn't healed," Alsobrook said.
Alsobrook said her trauma started years before she was first trafficked though.
"I grew up living in fear," she said. "I grew up believing that I was nothing and that I would never be anything because that is what my father told me every single day."
She said when her first pimp came around she didn't immediately see the danger.
"He took care of me and my daughter, he paid for my room. He wooed me, you know, made it seem like it was a relationship," Alsobrook said.
Alsobrook said people being snatched up and kidnapped off the street is rarely the case for how people are sexually trafficked.
She said it's common for human trafficking victims to not realize they are a victim.
"The victim may tell you, 'Well, he's my boyfriend,' or there's that survival sex because look at our economy right now," Alsobrook said.
She said it's a major problem in Memphis.
"You gotta remember we've got I-40, and it goes everywhere, so this is like a hub," Alsobrook said.
However, she said people can be good neighbors and know the signs.
"If you notice that someone is is changing, changing the way they're dressing, being more provocative," she said. She also said it's important to know the misconceptions.
However, she said the traumatic cycle will continue as long as greed exists.
"What drives that money is the demand, and that's what people don't want to talk about," Alsobrook said. "They don't want to talk about the purchasers, the buyers, the Johns...there are no laws in place. There isn't anything in place for the people who are driving this."
Alsobrook now runs a non-profit called EmpowerU where she helps women heal from trauma.
"Meet the Snows" is showing Thursday at 7 p.m. at Wolfchase Malco Cinema.
You can buy tickets here.