Shamere McKenzie

Photo by Kay Chernush/ArtWorks for Freedom

 SHAMERE MCKENZIE was simply trying to find a way to pay her college tuition      when she met her trafficker.  He seemed like a nice guy, and he promised her she could  make money dancing.

Instead he forced her into sex slavery.

For the next several years, Shamere was forced to perform sexual services both on the   streets and inside strip clubs.  Strong-willed as she is, Shamere often refused and resisted this man who posed as her boyfriend.  Each time, she was beaten to a point where she was unable to take care of herself.

Escape was never an option.

It wasn’t until the police busted the pimp (and her!) that she was able to find a way to liberate herself from his clutches.  Even though Shamere was clearly a victim, she was charged alongside the pimp and put on the sex offenders list.

Today, Shamere is a free woman.  She is empowered by her recognition of her own strength, her faith, and her family and friends.  She works as the Program Assistant for Shared Hope International, an organization whose mission is to prevent, rescue and restore women and children in crisis.   In addition, she is a subject matter expert consultant with Fox Valley Technical College Amber Alert TTA;  a member of the DC Human Trafficking Task Force; a member of Who is Stolen performance troupe; a mentor to survivors of sex trafficking; a member of the National Survivor Network  and an international speaker on the issue of sex trafficking.

Shamere tells the inspiring story of a woman who was able to survive a fate that is all too prevalent in the US.  But she knows that thousands of other girls are still enslaved by tricky pimps.  And she also knows that many vulnerable young girls who are seeking a little bit of help or a little bit of love are just a flirtation away from the same harrowing experience she had.

She considers herself to be the voice for those still enslaved, those who perish while being enslaved, and those who were victims and are now free, and are still afraid to share their stories. Her strong determination, passion for success and her faith in Jesus Christ helps her to keep her eyes on the prize.  She believes that one day she will be a Human Trafficking Attorney, advocating for victims of modern day enslavement.

In her dynamic talks, lectures, and workshops, Shamere McKenzie not only shares her story, but she educates people about the tricks pimps use to convince girls to get involved in “the game.”  Her speeches are moving, inspiring, and may actually save some young girls lives.

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