Nova Scotia

'They are so incredibly brainwashed': A daughter's spiral into human trafficking

Jennifer Holleman says her daughter was lured from Yarmouth, N.S., to Alberta by violent pimps. She was with a man believed to be a john when she died in a car crash two years ago.

Jennifer Holleman wants people in Yarmouth to know other young women are vulnerable to pimps

Maddison Fraser, 21, died in July 2015. She was in a car crash with a man believed to be her john. (Submitted by Jennifer Holleman)

The moment Jennifer Holleman stepped up to the podium, the fear tangled in her gut suddenly disappeared. After two painful years, she was finally ready to tell her daughter's story publicly.

"My daughter Maddison, two-time Canadian national boxing champion. Loyal, courageous, beautiful and loved by all," Holleman told the crowd.

"They beat her, they tortured her and they raped her."

Holleman said her daughter was lured from Yarmouth, N.S., to Alberta by violent pimps when she was 19. The mother spoke at a human-trafficking conference in Yarmouth this week organized by the Tri-County Women's Centre.

"I want people here to know [human trafficking] is here, and that it's very real," she said.

"It's not just what you have to deal with in the moment that they get involved. It's everything that you have to deal with, trying to get them out, trying to make them understand. And they are so incredibly brainwashed."

Two years after her daughter's death, Jennifer Holleman of Yarmouth, N.S., decided to go public with her story this week. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Maddison Fraser died in July 2015. The 21-year-old was with a man believed to be her john when his car crashed in Edmonton. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Holleman doesn't believe investigators did enough to help her daughter when she was alive.

"My daughter was not protected in any way at all — ever — unless it was me trying to protect her. Nobody on the legal side of our justice system protected my child," she said.

She said she pleaded with police in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta when Fraser went missing for weeks at a time. However, Holleman didn't realize the severity of her daughter's situation until after her death.

Maddison Fraser's mother wants people in Yarmouth to know the dangers of human trafficking. (Jennifer Holleman)

CBC interviewed Holleman last year, but concealed her identity. She revealed how after her daughter's death she found a voice recording on her phone that described how she was tortured.

At the time, Holleman hoped a police investigation would result in charges. She has since been told there is nothing police can do.

"I carry a lot of anger," Holleman said. "I think it would have been different if she would have been just killed in a car accident, and hadn't been involved in what she had been involved in. But I'm changed for sure."

A recording of the presentation Holleman made at the human-trafficking conference this week has already been viewed more than 30,000 times on social media since it was posted Wednesday afternoon.

She said the community support has been overwhelming, and it's pushing her to move forward.

"I'm going to hop on this 30K power train and ride it until there has been justice served for my child and until a change is made to end this madness in our country," she said.