ONE YEAR ON: Central Valley non-profit restoring faith in victims of sex-trafficking one makeover at a time

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It's a story of survival many victims don't live to tell. (KFSN)

It's a story of survival many victims don't live to tell.

Arien Pauls is a survivor of sex trafficking, she said, "The day I escaped I was dead inside. I was okay with the thought that he might kill me if I tried to get away. I was trapped almost three and a half, four years. There was a lot of abuse; a lot of threat of harm might come to my family if I tried leaving."

Pauls had just graduated from Bullard High School's class of 2007 when she was lured into the sex trade. Her trafficker first made contact through her Myspace account.

"What started off as a romance did very quickly turn into a forceful situation where I did find myself out in the streets."

Trapped nearly four years, Pauls was able to escape.

"He did beat me until he physically passed out from beating on me, and when he did, I ran."

Adjusting to life back home proved difficult.

"I didn't know that I was a victim, I felt like it was my fault."

Counseling services through 'Breaking the Chains' helped change that mind set. Now their lead victims advocate, the single mother and Central Valley Justice Coalition Board Member works with the non-profit Beauty for Ashes.

Beauty for Ashes Founder Ana Lopez said, "We believe that there's pain from the past that needs to be healed and the key that we use is love."

Each month BFA selects a handful of survivors to come and pick out a brand new outfit as well as get a complete makeover. The day center has makeup hair and nail stations as well as a professional photographer to capture the transformation from a day of pampering.

"It penetrates their hearts and helps them to see themselves in a different light and to allow that healing process to take place," said Lopez.

The organization is still looking for volunteers so they can hold more events.

Related Topics:
societygood newsnon-profitHuman Traffickingsex crimesfresnoFresno
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