HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - When some people think of human trafficking they think of a white van with free candy written on the side. Local leaders working to end human trafficking said this scenario is not always the case, and the selling of a person is probably happening closer than you think.
Lynn Caffery said she knows all too well what happens in the shadows of society; human trafficking. She found out when she left home at a young age.
“When they took me in they gave me my first shot of meth at age 11,” Caffery said. “Then they started trafficking me and selling me to both males and females trading me for guns. As I got older they put me in the clubs to work for them.”
From there, Caffery said she endured more abuse.
“If you don’t make a quota they beat you and hold food from you,” she said. “I’ve been raped with guns and instruments to the point that I could not have my own children.”
Caffery said she was trafficked until she was in her mid 20s, but when she got out she got an education to not only better herself, but to help others. Eventually Caffery formed a nonprofit called Safe Harbor Youth Incorporated, a place for teens in need.
“We work with anywhere from 16 year olds to 22 year olds that have fallen through the cracks of the system,” she said.
David Pinkleton with the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force said Caffery’s story is one of many.
“This isn’t something that just happens overseas or like Los Angeles, New York, Miami,” Pinkleton said. “It’s happening in Alabama and where we are in Huntsville we are actually based in the middle of the circuit .”
Meanwhile, the Huntsville International Airport even stopped a suspected trafficking incident themselves less than a year ago according to Public Relations Manager Jana Kuner.
“We have a public service department at the airport,” Kuner said. “They do extensive training with employees of the airport and tenants of the airport. So they know if they see something they say something and we can check it out.”