Jasmine Grace Marino, 36, is a survivor of human trafficking from Nashua.
My family is growing at the moment, we are expecting another girl, thereíll be five kids all together. We are looking to buy a home and just continue moving forward and doing my advocacy work, speaking publicly about my story to raise awareness and educate.
I didnít identify as a survivor for a long time. I met this guy, he got me to love and trust him and he would tell me he loved me. And before I knew it, I was working at a massage parlor. The brainwashing and manipulation is so severe itís like coming out of a cult.
I very quickly learned how to shut off emotionally and mentally from my body. Because it does something to you mentally and emotionally. So to cope I just shut off. Thatís why I used drugs, to take away the pain that I had experienced.
Once more healing came, through my faith and through therapy, I felt so compelled to be like ďHey, how do I help? How do I give back?Ē
So I started sharing my story and started being empowered because, now, all that pain was being used for someoneís purpose and someone elseís benefit, and that made all the difference, and it takes you out of that victim mentality and to the survivor mode which is empowering and encouraging.
Iím running a support group in Lynn, Massachusetts, for women who are in a drug recovery program. I help them self-identify. So many of them have shared similar stories with prostitution, the commercial sex trade, all linked with their drug addiction. Once I can share my story and help them understand what exploitation is, things really change for them, like lights go on. They really start to heal and realize they arenít alone, theyíre not the only ones.
CourageSpeaks NH is a collaborative movement that uses photography and storytelling to empower survivors and their communities to raise their voices against violence. It is a partnership of HAVEN, the YWCA of greater Manchester, and Seacoast award-winning photographer Deb Cram. It highlights the lives of courageous survivors and their positive perspectives. The stories shared are all in the survivors' own words. The goal of CourageSpeaksNH.org is to serve as an expanding platform for Granite State residents to share their stories and learn how others have traveled the path of healing and survival. Please join the second annual womenís SUP event sponsored by Portsmouth Kayak Adventures to benefit CourageSpeaks NH on Sept. 22. For more information, visit CourageSpeaksNH.org.