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This year marks nearly 20 years since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed

A local woman who was trafficked shares her story of survival
Posted at 6:27 AM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 14:14:10-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Candice Shepard is a survivor of human trafficking and said she didn't think she was ever going to get out.

Shepard, grew up in Ridgecrest but found herself in cities such as Reno, San Francisco and San Jose trafficked by an individual she says she trusted.

"You can easily get off track, all it takes is just being around a man who will promise you the world," Shepard said.

Shepard explains human trafficking as a domino effect.

"Life was really bad for me. I escaped my trafficker in San Jose, I jumped out of a two-story window. He took my identification from me," Shepard said. "I didn't have my phone. No contact with my mom or daughter. I was completely shut off from the world that I knew."

This year marks nearly 20 years since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed.

Doug Bennett, is the founder and president of Magdalene Hope, a local nonprofit. The organization has helped over 7,000 people who were trafficked.

Bennett said it's not only about human trafficking but action.

"It starts with people being concerned, starts with law enforcement taking this more seriously, prosecutors prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law in order for this to change," Bennett said.

Still, recovering from the trauma, Shepard said she will never be a victim again.

"This is something that is happening like people can't say oh we didn't know it was happening anymore. No this is happening," Shepard said.

Magdalene Hope is hosting several events throughout this month, for the list click here.

If you or know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, for help you can text "help" to 233-733 or call (661) 808-4673.