ORLANDO, Fla. – Flor Turcio was 17 when she moved out of her parents’ home—her decision stemmed from the abuse she faced at 8 years old.
What You Need To Know
- Human trafficking survivor works to help others
- Flor Turcio raises awareness and shares her experience through her foundation
- Florida is the 3rd largest hub for sex trafficking, according to FDLE
“My step-father would sexually abuse me,” Turcio said. “I told my mother about it but she didn’t believe me.”
Turcio lived in the streets and that’s when she met a man who destroyed her life.
“He promised me the world,” she said “He told me he wanted to marry me, and I believed him.”
The man she believed was her boyfriend was really a sex trafficker for the cartel.
“They get us pregnant, then take our children to make sure we work or else,” Turcio said.
She said she was raped by dozens of men on a daily basis.
As much as she said she wanted to run away, she feared what would happen to her three kids.
When she reached her 20s, the cartel transported her from her home country of Mexico to the U.S. After about 20 years of abuse, she met someone in the U.S. who called the cops to help her reunite with her children.
Turcio worked with the FBI to help incarcerate her abusers, around 40 of them, including the man who sold her.
“I realized the cartel lied to me,” Turcio said. “Law enforcement didn’t care about my immigration status or that I only spoke Spanish. They just wanted to help.”
The FBI also helped to reunite Turcio with her kids.
Turcio continues to fight against human trafficking through her nonprofit, Fundacion Libre de la Esclavitud Sexual (Freedom of Sexual Slavery Foundation), and she partnered with Alianza for Progress to spread her message and help bring awareness, to help prevent it and help victims.
“I’m so happy for those women and I want to tell them ‘I was in your shoes. I can help’,” Turcio said.
“Human trafficking is a sad reality in our nation, and we must work to educate our community on how to recognize and prevent it. Flor is a living example of sexual exploitation, and through her book, she not only describes this nightmare but explains how she escaped with the help of the FBI, who she thought only spoke English and would not help her because she wasn’t a citizen,” said Johanna Lopez, Alianza Center Executive Director. “There is help and our goal is to raise awareness through Flor’s story in hopes of saving lives.”
Turcio also wrote an autobiography about her life story called El Silencia de Una Nina (The Silence of a Young Girl) to share her story and experiences.
Florida is the third largest hub for sexual trafficking, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.