Raised as a Christian in a military household, Brooke Autry says she was “sheltered” from the dangers that were lurking around the corner in the real world.
Seeking acceptance and confidence, a then 14-year-old Autry, sought comfort in a nearby woman she babysat for.Image Credit: Screenshot/WITN News
“My mom brought me up as a Christian, so she tried to protect us from the world,” Autry explains to WITN News. “However, it did make me so unaware of the things outside of what my mom was teaching us.”
Autry says her neighbor, who was a stripper, soon became like a second mother to her. She grew to idolize her beauty and power over men.
When her mother learned she was babysitting for a stripper, she continued to let Autry do it.
Four years later, then 18-year-old Autry gained freedom from her family. They were relocated to a new military base in Maine but she stayed behind with a friend.Image Credit: Screenshot/WITN News
When the husband of the woman for whom she babysat for found out that Autry’s parents had left, Autry says he saw an opportunity to pounce.
“I was a bagger at the time and he was like, ‘You can be a model, you can be an actress,” Autry recounts.
But she later learned the men who she was told were modeling and acting agents were really pimps in disguise.
“They made it look like I was going to get into modeling, like I had an opportunity of modeling and acting,” she says. “These other opportunities were smaller opportunities to gain money and I was like, ‘Where do I sign up?'”
The “smaller opportunities” were actually dates men paid for, with no physical contact. But that soon changed when her “customers” became dissatisfied and started requiring more.Image Credit: Screenshot/WITN News
After living a life of prostitution for a few months, she says she felt trapped in the life she’d been pressured into.
“They used that shame, embarrassment and humiliation to keep you there.”
Autry celebrated her 19th birthday on a prostitution call, and it was in that moment that she felt trapped by “invisible chains.”Image Credit: Screenshot/WITN News
Her breaking point was when a “John” hurt her and she knew what she had to do.
She called her dad, told him she was in trouble, and begged him to rescue her.
Her parents knew something was wrong, but she didn’t tell them what had happened.
“When I saw her I knew something had happened to her, she was thin,” Brooke’s mother, Kym Nixon says. “I could tell she hadn’t taken care of herself and she wouldn’t smile, she wouldn’t look at us.”
Over a decade passed, but Autry’s secret life remained hidden from her parents, and keeping that secret lead her to drugs, alcohol, and even stripping.Image Credit: Screenshot/WITN News
But when Autry had a daughter of her own, she felt inspired to share her story.
She hopes that by sharing her struggles, she may potentially save others from the “heartache and devastation” she endured in silence.
Autry and her daughter are doing well now, and Autry owns an online princess costume business which she runs from her home in North Carolina.
And in an effort to fight back against all the pain her daughter went through, Kym Nixon has started Changing Destinies Ministry to help spread awareness about the problem.
The ministry’s mission to “reveal, retrieve, and restore those affected by human trafficking” is a perfect example of taking a terrible situation and using it for good.