HIGH POINT, N.C. - Chong Kim is a bubbly woman who grew up in Oklahoma, and she's a human trafficking victim. She shared her story with WFMY News 2 Saturday before speaking at World Relief High Point's Stand for Freedom Gala. This comes on the heels of a Greensboro man being arrested for human trafficking and child abduction on Friday.
Kim said in 1994, a guy she dated for a couple of weeks wanted to introduce her to his parents in Florida. But, he was actually a recruiter and abducted her. She was 18 years old at the time. She said traffickers forced her and other girls to live in storage units in Nevada where they were then transported across the United States to have sex with "clients."
Some of those stops were all the way in North Carolina including Greensboro and Raleigh. Kim said some days she had 18 to 25 clients. She said this crime can happen anywhere.
"When people say, 'I don't understand how trafficking can exist.' Then ask yourself, how many teenage runaways do you hear about? How many missing persons do you hear about? If you hear about that, then that is trafficking," she said.
She said she escaped through a vent in a Las Vegas casino after about three years as a victim.
"When we go through trauma, when we're in it, we don't release how bad the trauma is until the aftermath," she said. "The day that I was free, I remember realizing I don't have people barking orders at me, I don't have to be somewhere."
Chong Kim's story has been made into a movie called "Eden." Kim said she is also working on writing a memoir, which she plans to release this fall.
Crimes like what Kim endured are happening right here in the Triad. Alamance County Sheriff's Department and Burlington Police arrested Bryant Williamson of Greensboro on Friday for human trafficking. Investigators would not release information about the child involved or much about the case in general.
World Relief High Point, a group that advocates for human trafficking victims and awareness, said it was not surprised to learn about Williamson's arrest. Director Andrew Timbie said Alamance County is a known place for human trafficking because of the highways.
"Right there near the 40, 85 corridor, it's just a great corridor between the east and west coast. It's known for a relatively high trafficking area. We know that particularly because we often times in touch with Polaris, who's kind of the national tracking center for these things, and there is a lot of tips that come out of Burlington with the truckers," Timbie said.
He added that big events in the Triad like High Point Furniture Market and the ACC tournement are breeding grounds for trafficking. He said the most important thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to spread awareness.
"Really love flying under the radar, that's their industry and so when they can't fly under the radar anymore it makes it much more difficult to operate," Timbie said.
For more information about human trafficking statistics in North Carolina and other states, click here.