Survivor hopes law will slow human trafficking

Published: Aug. 3, 2016 at 10:07 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2016 at 8:45 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - State lawmakers are working hard to fight the battle against human trafficking.

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Now, an amendment to a prior law that took effect on Monday is going to require all hotels, as well as other locations that could be potential hot spots for traffickers, to post the National Trafficking Resource Center Hotline in their employees break rooms.

Kandace Wallace was a victim of human trafficking and describes it as "34 days of hell, I don't recommend that on my worst enemy. It was 34 days of being raped, being prostituted. I dug my own grave in a backyard, I was stabbed, teased, beat with books. I can't even begin to describe this stuff."

Her nights during the time she was held against her will were filled with casino trips but not for her entertainment, it was all for work.

"(I would) roam the floor and look for guys that are in the same situation," Wallace said. "If it's a lonely old man, go sit next to him and strike up a conversation. It was an all-day thing."

Wallace was lured into the human trafficking web in October of 2012 after her boyfriend at the time ended up behind bars, and his brother offered her a place to stay as she was dealing with a meth addiction.

"I was in active addiction and got promised a place to stay in return for drugs and using my car…I took the bait, I took the bait," she said. "The next thing you know, you didn't know how long you would be there for, and you're trapped."

And it wasn't until she started to sober up that Wallace realized if she didn't get out, she may probably never be able to.

"It was definitely the night we went to a casino and he told me that I was never going to see my family ever again, and he was going to kill me by the end of that night and I knew that if I didn't do something that night that I wasn't going to make it to the next day," Wallace said.

That's why a new amendment to a prior law aims to combat human trafficking by requiring all hotels, spas and massage parlors, strip clubs, full-service truck stops and rest stops to post the National Human Trafficking Resource Center's hotline in an effort to save lives.

"It's going to help tremendously, not just for the victims but for the guys that are doing this that, 'hey we are not going to put up this over here,' " Wallace said.

Only miles away from her parents *NAT POP: They were nearby* Wallace says a lot of us never assume that it's happening in our own backyards and our location aids traffickers.

"It's easier to get girls back-and-forth across the state line," Wallace stated. "It's definitely growing, because the city is growing."

Wallace has gained inner peace and said she will continue to share her story in hopes of helping others get there too.

"It took God turning my life around," Wallace said. "To move past it you have to forgive not yourself but the people too."

Wallace is a part of the local organization, SWLA Abolitionists, that works hard to fight against human trafficking by raising awareness.

And you can help too by simply downloading TraffickCam an app that allows you take photos of your hotel room for the benefit of law enforcement so they can determine exactly where an individual is being held by matching your photos with the trafficker's photos. 

According to NHTRC 53 human trafficking cases have been reported and 104 calls have been made across the state this year.

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