Selah Freedom Survivor Graduate Turned Staff Member Uses Her Experiences to Save Lives

Much of our society chooses to turn a blind eye when it comes to the dangerous reality of sex trafficking 

We often tell ourselves that things like sexual abuse and human trafficking are happening in places far from home, yet reality shows us these things are happening in our very own neighborhoods. 

From the age of 3 to 12 Angelea was sexually abused, causing her to run away from home at the age of 13. This is when she was lured in and manipulated by her first trafficker. 

“I stayed with my first trafficker for a long time, but just as that relationship ended, I found my second trafficker,” stated Angelea. Angelea has children with both of her traffickers. She is a fantastic mother dedicated to helping her children live a life filled with love, respect and endless possibilities.

“After so many years of being trafficked this landed me on the streets,” said Angelea. “I was lucky enough to end up in front of Judge Maulucci of Bradenton where my journey with Selah Freedom began.”

Angelea now works with Selah Freedom as an Assessment Coordinator who aids incoming survivors with their transition into the program. She is often one of the first people survivors meet on their journey into freedom. Her compassion and authenticity help them discover their own self-worth and feel safe.

Angelea says that through her work with Selah Freedom she is able to help young girls process  through the story of her own journey. She can connect on a more personal level than most individuals and is able to show them that they can have their children back in their lives. More importantly, she teaches them “that there is power within them -  encouraging them through my own experiences helps both me and them,” she says.

In just a short 6-week period during the Assessment Phase, Angelea shares how she has been able to watch countless survivors find themselves and understand the power they hold within themselves. Her example inspires them that this is not the end… the best is yet to come.

Angelea recalls, “We’ve had girls come in who can’t even tell me their favorite color. They have had no identity outside of the life. Watching them morph into some one so strong and self-aware is something I can’t even explain with words, it’s an incredibly beautiful thing.” 

“Working with Selah Freedom allows you to experience things that you could not have imagined while still being able to learn from people you never expected to learn from. A leader learns to have compassion but also learns the importance of being firm when necessary. Having the unique ability to understand the survivors but also the staff gives me a sense of belonging. I don’t feel like I am working because this is truly something I love to do.” 

Angelea emphasized, “Don’t give up. Every seed that is planted eventually blooms. It might take you 100 tries to get clean or be ready for help but that 100th time is all it takes to finally start watering your own seed. I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” 

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In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Justice policy, this organization is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write the Florida Department of Legal Affairs, Federal Discrimination Complaint Coordinator, PL-01 The Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399-1050, or call 850-414-3300, or write Office for Civil Rights, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 810 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20531 or call 202-307-0690 (Voice) or 202-307-2027 (TDD/TYY) or https://ojp.gov/about/ocr/complaint.htm. Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may also contact OCR through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 (TTY), 877-877-8982 (Speech), or 800-845-6136 (Spanish).