Las Vegas is a hub for sex trafficking, and for years police and other organizations have sought to tackle the issue. What happened frequently in the past is sex trafficking victims would be charged with prostitution, while the "Johns" and pimps get off scot-free.
That’s part of the reason Annie Lobert said she wanted to start Destiny’s House. It’s a place for women who are sex-trafficked to get the help they need to leave those situations.
“It is exactly like the mafia. A girl leaves her pimp and the hunt is on. There is a hit on her head because the [pimp] is now long between $300 and 600 thousand, maybe even a million.”
From the street, Destiny’s House looks like any home in any neighborhood, and that’s the point. The home is meant to protect women from the pimps looking for them, and allow the victims a chance to get back to a normal life. But that doesn’t always happen.
“Our house in Henderson, we had pimps show up with guns,” Lobert said. “It happens. It happens.”
Lobert decided to create Destiny’s House after her own experience. She was sex trafficked for 10 years and when she decided to leave, she said she had nowhere to go and no help. Now she uses her own experience and hardships to find victims and get them the help they need.
“I have seen as young as 10 and as old as 60,” she said about the victims she’s come across. “For ladies that go back, they go back about five to seven times before they actually quit for good.”
Lobert isn’t alone in her standing up to pimps and protecting victims conquests, she also works closely with Laurin Crosson. Crosson has a house like Destiny’s House in Utah. She said people reach out to her, and she comes down to Las Vegas to get them, and brings them back to Utah.
“[And for the pimps], they can just go to a mall, or a skate rink to get a new girl because it’s not worth the drive,” she said.
Lobert and Crosson said a majority of victims are under 18, and come from the foster care system. They also said the majority of victims they help believe their trafficker is their boyfriend or fiancé and most don’t understand they’re being trafficked.
The sex trafficking industry is a billion dollar a year industry, they said, and for these two women, their only goal is to take a little chunk of that everyday.
“We are little fires,” Lobert said. “Lets light a fire, we are little torches just light, and light your neighbors and spread it and soon we’ll have a ring of fire and then the traffickers can’t get to their victims.”
For more information on Annie Lobert and Destiny's house visit their website.
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