Kitchener-Waterloo

Former victim of human trafficking out to bust sexual slavery myths

A Cambridge, Ont. woman and former victim of human trafficking is warning others that real sexual slavery doesn't always look like it does on television.

Timea Nagy-Payne will share her story at Kitchener's Registry Theatre Thursday evening

Timea Nagy-Payne, a victim of human trafficking, shares her powerful story of being forced into the sex industry. (CBC)

A Cambridge, Ont. woman and former victim of human trafficking is warning others that real-life sexual slavery doesn't always look like it does on television. 

Timea Nagy-Payne will be sharing her story Thursday at Kitchener's Registry Theatre to reveal through words and music how human trafficking looks today in Canada. 

"The myth is that we get smashed, we get taken into some den and they put the handcuffs on us, and then they tie us to some bed," she told CBC K-W.

"In some cases, that might happen, but 90 per cent of human trafficking actually starts out very slowly."

And Nagy-Payne should know. She arrived in Canada as a teenager, thinking that she had signed a contract to work as a babysitter. 

'Raped more times than I can count'

Instead, she got caught up in a human trafficking operation where she was forced to work for free as a stripper. 

"We were fed one meal a day," she recalled. "We were tortured emotionally and physically. We were raped more times than I can count."

Music has a whole other way of touching people.- Timea Nagy-Payne

After three months, she managed to escape and has become one of Canada's leading advocates for victims of human trafficking. 

Nagy-Payne says telling her story through song is a new experience, but she recognizes its power and potential to reach people. 

"Music has a whole other way of touching people," she said. "Even if there was 25 of me, I still wouldn't be able to reach as many people or as deep."