‘From childhood to adulthood overnight’: Abilene human trafficking survivor tells story of sexual abuse


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene woman Claudine Williams was forced to grow up long before she was ready.

“I am a former victim of sexual assault at the age of 13, and from that assault, I had an unwanted pregnancy and an unwanted abortion at age 13,” Williams said.

Williams never thought she would be a victim at that age – in some of the most vulnerable stages of her life.

She was even forced to go and pick up a bag and take it on a bus, which she later found out was full drugs. All of this happened to her before she turned 18-years-old.

“Your whole entire childhood is stripped away,” Williams said.

She says the emotional pain from that experience was a roadblock for her.

“That 13-year-old had no idea what emotions or psychological pain was because she was supposed to just jump rope and play basketball and not have to transition from childhood to adulthood overnight,” Williams said.

As a child, Williams kept a lot of that pain inside and even developed a fear of speaking up. After reflecting on the experience, she encourages other victims to do the opposite.

“Talk to someone because the outlets are more readily available today than they were when I was that 13-year-old victim,” Williams said.

Some of those outlets are available right here in the Big Country, one of which is Beyond Trafficking. They aim to help protect and empower survivors of human trafficking.

Executive Director for Beyond Trafficking, Stephanie Rocha says, “I think that homelessness is definitely an issue and so basic needs aren’t being covered that’s how people sometimes get exploited.”

Rocha says the pandemic and the border crisis have been contributing factors in the Big Country.

“The goal of Beyond Trafficking is to establish a safehouse here in Abilene for human trafficking survivors of labor trafficking as well as sex trafficking, so we’re working tirelessly to bring that here to Abilene,” Rocha said.

Among the many survivors Rocha has worked with, Claudine Williams is one of them.

“Claudine was able to get out of the game and she was able to turn her life around,” Rocha said.

Claudine Williams is now putting her focus on helping victims of sex trafficking see their way to a better future. In January, Williams and Rocha are working together to reach survivors at the collegiate level. They plan to have a meeting at Texas Tech University, bringing students together to address human trafficking.

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