Former sex trafficking victim speaks about dark side of the Holy City

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) — Tricked, sold and then eventually saved. Lindsey Hass bravely tells her story of being part of a sex trafficking operation along the East Coast for one year, a reality that's becoming far to common.

Charleston County is one of the top five counties in the state for human trafficking according to the South Carolina Attorney General's Office. Her story mirrors what happens to many of those victims, where the leader of the ring started out as a friend. Hass was living in Maryland and was almost 21 years old when she went on a date with a man she considered a friend. Hass says, "A girl called him and said she had an emergency, he had to leave and asked me to ride with him to take her to a safe place,” she said. Lindsey says he took her to hotel and removed her phone.

Using violence, force and manipulation, he forced her into selling sex in cities along the East Coast. "When I first got with him, he threatened one of the girls with a cinder block," says Hass. They traveled up and down from hotel to hotel and stayed in Charleston because of the money that could be made in the area. "I could make upwards of a $1,000 a night, it was non-stop it was 24 hours a day here and all surrounding counties like Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, everywhere,” Hass said.

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Mike Foster