Windsor human trafficking survivor shares story of abuse
Published Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:56PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 11, 2019 6:33PM EDT
A survivor of sex abuse and human trafficking is sharing her terrifying story.
Victoria Morrison is a young Windsor woman, who was lured to Winnipeg and forced to work in the sex trade by her then boyfriend.
The 26-year-old suffered beatings, electric shocks, was locked in a freezer and feared for her life.
Her former boyfriend is now beyond bars, but Morrison is still coping with her traumatic experience.
"At times I just wanted to give up and basically end my own life," says Morrison, in an interview with CTV Windsor.
In court, prosecutors were told it was the worst case of domestic violence many had ever seen.
"I thought I was going to die in Winnipeg," says Morrison. “It seemed impossible to escape.”
Between May and August of last year, Morrison says she was in a vicious cycle of being advertised for sex, then abused and locked multiple times in a freezer.
“The freezer was turned off but I would have panic attacks while I was in it,” remembers Morrison. “So I would suffocate because I couldn't breathe and it gets hot really fast when it's not on."
But last August, Morrison convinced a "customer" she had been set up with to take her to police. She concocted a plan to pretend to get cigarettes and fled.
“And I said ‘just drive me to the police station’ and he did. I'm really lucky for that," says Morrison.
Now Morrison is sharing her story to help her deal with her post traumatic stress, but also to help others.
Shelley Gilbert, the coordinator of social services with Legal Assistance of Windsor, works with a number of victims of human trafficking at WE Fight.
"I think Victoria is pretty extraordinary," says Gilbert.
Gilbert tells CTV News Morrison's story reveals how easy it is for anyone to fall victim to the sex trade.
“This is happening in communities all throughout Windsor and Essex County and all throughout the province of Ontario and really throughout the county."
WE Fight provides direct services to survivors of domestic and international human trafficking.
"Who better than someone with lived experience like Victoria to explain to people what's happening and how it can happen to just about anybody," says Gilbert.
Morrison says she really wanted to come back, see her family and get her life back.
CTV News first met Morrison after Caesars Windsor made a generous donation to WE Fight in January, just three months after a suspect was arrested in Winnipeg.
That suspect, Andres Pavao, was sentenced to eight years in prison last week after pleading guilty to one count each of human trafficking, forcible confinement and obstruction of justice. Pavao, 30, also had ties to Windsor.
Morrison is pleased he is behind bars, but she is still coming to grips with what happened.
“I don't think what I went through has really hit me yet,” she says. “I understand that it happened but it's almost mind blowing. I can't believe that I went through something that horrible!"
In her victim impact statement read in a Winnipeg courtroom last week, Morrison said Pavao sentenced her to a lifetime of fear and PTSD.
Morrison is trying to get her life back on track. She plans to return to school for social work.
The staff at WE Fight said last year they had 70 to 80 open cases and that was “just the tip of the iceberg.”
There is a hotline if you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking. It is 1-866-528-7109.