A victim tells her story

By From page A14 | April 25, 2014

Kristi Merrill, 25, was abducted from the Sacramento-Carmichael area in March of 2012 and held as a “sex slave” for four months. She was found and rescued by a Christian organization that specializes in finding and helping women and girls escape from similar circumstances.

The Mountain Democrat covered the issue extensively at the time. There was a good deal of controversy as the rescue group got the headlines, but little was mentioned of law enforcement involvement in the events then or later.

Merrill spoke as a “survivor” at the Board of Supervisors meeting April 22 as part of a larger presentation on the county’s multi-disciplinary Foster Youth and Human Trafficking Task Force. Now a staff worker at the Summit View group home, Merrill spoke of trying to “turn tragedy into triumph.” She described being “brainwashed” and indicated it was common in the dark world of human sex trafficking.

And although the statistics suggest that foster youth are particularly vulnerable to “commercial sexual exploitation of children,” she noted that she “graduated from Union Mine High School, was from a good family and had never been a delinquent.” She closed her remarks warning that, “it can happen to anyone’s son or daughter.”

Chris Daley

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