SAN ANTONIO – A mother’s heartbreaking story about her daughter, who was trafficked, is being used to save other families and stop the cycle of trafficking and addiction.
“We lost our daughter seven years ago to addiction and human trafficking, and that is what has propelled us to start the foundation Meant to Soar, healing the next generation,” said Elsa Ezell.
Elsa Ezell said on the first day her daughter, Britta, went to college, her drink was drugged.
“She was raped, and she really struggled with that. And that led to drinking, and drinking led to drugs,” Ezell said.
Then, the drugs led her to people who sex-trafficked her.
“She was being sold on Craigslist. There’s such a commodity for selling people that if they can get somebody hooked on drugs, you know, they’ve got you,” Ezell said.
Ezell was kept in the dark while it was all happening. Isolation is a key tactic traffickers use to pull their victims away from their families.
“She would call them her friends and her family, and we were not her family anymore. When you need the drugs, all of a sudden, she would do anything for them,” Ezell said.
She now knows Britta was using drugs and being sold on and off for six years.
Once clean, Britta had two beautiful babies, but soon after, addiction pulled her back in and took her life at 24 years old.
“Britta always wanted to be a mom. There’s nothing in the world that she wanted more,” Ezell said.
Ezell and her husband are raising Britta’s two children.
“There is a world of children born in this universe of human trafficking and addiction. These kids have seen so much that they should not have seen,” Ezell said.
She knows families like hers need help.
“Help the grandparents raising these grandchildren, the adopted parents raising these grandchildren, the foster homes that have taken in these children,” she said.
Ezell’s nonprofit, which is launching this week, will fund therapy for these families and other needs they may have. It’s all an attempt to save children from the cycle of abuse, trafficking, and addiction.
“The perpetrators know that there’s wounded hearts, and they’re ready, and they’re waiting for the next generation,” she said.
Ezell wants families to be educated about the signs of trafficking and not assume their kids won’t be affected.
“It can happen to anyone,” she said.
In Britta’s memory, Ezell knows she can make a difference for the children and families that are Meant to Soar.
The organization launches at 7:00 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 30, with a 5K walk and run at the San Antonio Zoo.
For information, head to the Meant to Soar website.