Human trafficking survivor shares the story of human resilience

DE PERE, Wis. Imagine being six-years-old when a plane ride ends up being a trip into child slavery in Mexico. That's the true story of human-trafficking survivor and author, Jabali Smith. The San Francisco Bay Area native shared his survival story at St. Norbert College on Monday.

Jabali Smith speaks in front of a crowd at St. Norbert College's library

It was 1977 in Berkeley, California when Jabali Smith was sent off in a cab by his own mother to be trafficked into a sex cult in Mexico.

"She ultimately was offering her daughter as a sex slave and me and my brother as servants or slaves to this messianic doomsday sex cult," said Smith.

Smith details the horrific time in his life, but ultimately brought a message of survival, faith, hope and forgiveness found in his book, “Slave.”

"There were ritualistic, physical, emotional psychological and sexual abuses," said Smith.

Smith also answered questions about human trafficking and how to keep loved ones safe.

"Ultimately, that no matter what happens to us as human beings, we have the ability to design our lives and our future, and our past does not equal our future," Smith added.

After nearly six years of torture, Smith finally escaped child slavery two weeks before his 12th birthday. Instead of being bitter after a betrayed childhood, Smith created "The Well Child Foundation," to help youth who were once traumatized.

"It’s to teach a new generation of young people that they could access healing and live successful and empowered lives after trauma," said Smith.

If you missed Monday’s session, Smith is doing another presentation Tuesday, November 6 at Lighthouse Books on Oneida Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.