All We Want Is L.O.V.E.

By Jillian Mourning


My heart still pounds every time I tell this story. I attend Forest Hill Church in Charlotte. We have been studying the book of Habakkuk and more recently about the things people say during hard times like—Why God? Why does this happen? Why does that happen? We have trouble rejoicing in hard times. No one knows that better than I.

Six years ago, I had trouble rejoicing during really hard times that came into my life. Now, when I look back, as horrific as they were, I am thankful for them and able to see the good that God could bring out of this very evil, satanic period.

It’s funny how there are always verses that you hear that really apply to your life. Just this morning at church, sitting there listening, everybody has a story, everybody has a hard point in their life —but we are able to use that to bring us closer in our faith with God.

Going back, when I was 19, I was in college at UNC Charlotte, making a 4.0 grade-point average and involved in a lot of clubs. I started modeling when I was 12, but started really getting into it when I graduated from high school. My mom was a drug addict and alcoholic most of my life and was not very supportive of any of these activities. So when I graduated from college, I started to get more offers, people that wanted to be an agent, here, there and everywhere. I didn’t really know how I was supposed to get into it.

One day, a model—probably a recruiter—messaged me and said she had a guy who would love to meet me and help me with my modeling career—not just building my portfolio, but getting me jobs all over the country.
So I met him for coffee. He was dressed in a nice suit and tie, and owned a multi- million dollar financial hedge fund, which was connected to all of these people. I got to see the models he represented. Their photos looked like they were straight out of Vogue. At 19 years old, and without much parental guidance, I thought, “Wow! This person could really help me capture my dreams.”

Well, modeling to me is what so many other situations are to everybody else—vulnerability. There is nothing in this world that someone isn’t vulnerable to. Everybody in this room has something that they are vulnerable to, whether it is getting a better job, a better relationship, more money—you know—just success. There is something that everybody wants and desires that you think you’ll do anything to make it happen. So, I said, “Okay, what do I need to do?”

I worked for this man from February of 2007 until May of 2007 during my college breaks and sometimes on weekends, flying to other cities. I landed three different magazine campaigns and was on the cover of some packaging for Gilden—the t-shirt, socks, and underwear company. I started to get all of these jobs and thought, “Wow! I am 19 years old, getting good grades, living a normal life, but also making my dreams happen.” And never in a million years, did I think, “Oh, this person is just trying to groom me, or build my trust, or is going to take advantage of me.” I actually told my dad that I saw this man like a father figure to me, because he always asked me about school, about my grades, and how my life was. Throughout that period, I developed a trust for him and always saw him in this light because he was my father’s age and was someone who seemed to have my best interests at heart.

Well, I finished my high school exams and in May of 2007 flew to Scottsdale, AZ to do a photo shoot for an ad campaign for CAO cigars. They had picked two girls to come out to do the shoot, and then pick one of the ads to run. I had never been to that city and they put me up in a five-star hotel. I was super excited. That five-star hotel also gave me a sense of safety, because if you’re in a really nice environment you’re not thinking of trafficking happening where people are entering an elaborate lobby and spending $400- $500 a night on a room.


So my manager met me out there. We had lunch that day, and again dinner that evening. We talked about the shoot the next day and he wanted me to get a lot of sleep. I went to bed that night thinking, I would wake up in the morning, and go shoot, and then fly home a couple days later.

Well, in the middle of that night, I heard a rustle at the door and someone entering a key card. I was a very deep sleeper at that time, though, no more. I woke up foggy and hesitant. Then I saw my manager and two other men come into the room. My first thoughts were, because I trusted this person, Am I late? Did I miss something? Why are you in here?—thinking that I had done something I wasn’t aware of. So after about 2 minutes of silence, and him staring at me while setting up a video camera on a tripod, I’m watching and waiting for someone to tell me what’s going on. I quickly realized what was happening, and then my manager and the two other men dressed in business suits raped me. They videotaped and photographed the entire event and then my manager told me I would still continue to work and do my job in a few hours.

The next day, along side my manager, I did the photo shoot for CAO Cigars, and had to pretend everything was normal. They all shook his hand like he was this great businessman, an upstanding citizen, a Christian, and a father of two. I had to act like this perception of him was true while I knew from the night before, that it wasn’t.

I had to ask myself, “Who am I going to tell?” because if I told anyone, they would say, “Well, it’s your fault. You shouldn’t have gone out there. What did you do wrong?” And I didn’t have a mother who I could share that information with, and so I came home. My roommate asked me how my trip was and I was very short and said, “Oh, it was good. I hope I get the ad.” And that was the end of my story. I had decided, just like from the trauma I experienced in my childhood, that I would compartmentalize, just put it in the back part of my brain and move on. In high school, I was that overachiever; I was president of everything, involved in every club, and graduated third in my class because I didn’t want anyone to see any trace of the trauma that was going on at home. So I decided that with this situation, I’d just do the same thing. I’ll be good at school. I’ll not make any mistakes. I’ll be really successful. I’ve never been in trouble. I’ve never tried a drug. I didn’t drink until later in college. So I felt like I had done all these things right, and people would just see that part of me.

Two weeks later, my manger called and said he was in Charlotte. My heart sank when he said he needed me to come meet him. I responded, “Why in the world would I need to come meet you?” He quickly replied, “I have all of the videos and the photographs from Scottsdale. I think you might want to see them.”

“No. I don’t want to see them. I really would like you to be out of my life.”

And he said, “No, I’m not requesting. I’m demanding. I need you to come meet me up here at the Hampton Inn at Exit 28, next to Cashion’s gas station. And if you don’t, I’ll show up at your apartment. I know you have a roommate. I know where your family lives, and it would be in your best interest to meet me.”

To keep the secret from getting out to my roommate or anybody else, I said, “Fine. I’ll meet you.”

When I got there and I asked, “What do you want? What is this all about?”

He said, “If you don’t continue to do this on a regular basis with any of my financial or celebrity clients that you choose, then I’m going to sell these videos to pornographic and rape websites.”

Rape websites do exist all over the entire world and usually run on foreign IP addresses, where there are millions of videos of women getting raped. Men can purchase these, and obviously do purchase them because they stay in business. So at 19 years old, I really didn’t want someone to Google my name, and see these videos appear. How could I get a job? What would people think of me? And it was a really, really tough decision. I didn’t want my family to find out. And I didn’t want him to ever show up at my doorstep, again, so I said, “Fine, I’ll be compliant with whatever you ask…just don’t hurt me.”

So for almost 6 months until October of that year, about once a month, he would call and say, “I need to you to come to this city,” or “I have a client coming to this city to meet you.” And these weren’t clients like you see on Dateline, NBC. These were men who had children, wore wedding rings, made a lot of money in high financial positions but for some reason thought a 19 year old would choose to sleep with them and was there by choice. From physical scars, to physically being beaten up, to having every instance videotaped and photographed to keep me in that submissive state, my liberation finally came in October when my manger came under investigation by the FBI, not for trafficking, but for financial crimes. He was sentenced to prison for 15 years for running a large ponzi scheme. At that point, I thought, “Wow…I have my freedom back,” though I lived in a free country. When you are manipulated by someone who has the ability to hurt you, knows everything about you, knows where you live, and is in a very powerful position, you are essentially enslaved.

So I went to finish college and graduated in two majors and two minors with a 4.0 average. I did my senior thesis on human trafficking and sex slavery, so my minor in college was Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights. I lived in Germany for a while and saw human trafficking all over Eastern Europe when I traveled. Never once did I think that used to be me. So I completed a 60-page thesis on this issue, all based on what was happening in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and everywhere else it happens. I didn’t see myself in that situation. I only saw myself stuck in a really bad place I didn’t know how to get out of.

A few months after, two years ago this May, I researched the Internet to find out how long my former manager had been sentenced to prison. If I saw he was sentenced for a really long time, I would get joy out of his pain in being in there. During this time I came across an article online where another victim of his had written about her experience and said, “I hope it comes out about the sexual predator, molester, and trafficker that he is.”

That was my aha! moment. “Oh my gosh! Wait a minute! That’s me. I’ve studied this. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it and never really realized it.” That was a really hard thing to read, because I felt stupid that I had never connected my experience with that and all the time I had worked to put those memories to rest, they all came flashing back. I was living it again. I was seeing it. I was hearing it. I smelled it. And I didn’t want to sleep. I didn’t want to do anything.

So, I continued to scroll down and read the rest of the article about him. There were probably 10 different girls, anonymously with Internet IDs, saying the same thing happened to them and that my former agent had profited more than $13 million through selling models. Just this one guy—$13 million!

Believe me when I say that there are traffickers and pimps in Charlotte making over a million dollars a year— tax free—by selling women. But to know that I was one of about 20 girls— that was really tough. And to know that I made this man almost a million dollars while being beaten and living in this literal hell gave me a sick feeling. It came to a point where I broke down and decided to tell somebody.

Seventy-one percent of a sex victims’ suicidal tendencies come from this. You feel like everybody in the world has seen you. You think, “Oh, what if I go to the grocery store at Wal-Mart and all these men are there—who seem upstanding and nice—but what if they’ve purchased this video of me being raped? What if they’ve seen it?” You feel so exposed and so open to anything and anybody. I didn’t want to sleep. I didn’t want to eat. I just felt hopeless. And I did not see God in my life. I had spent years being angry with him for what had happened because I felt like I had done nothing wrong and I didn’t deserve it. You feel you’re just the lowest of the low, like your head hits the pavement. And I thought, “You know what? I’m never going to be able to live a normal life. I’m never going to have somebody who will love me with my history. I will never be able to get married and have someone accept me and not think that I’m damaged goods.” Because I felt damaged.


So I attempted suicide — which failed—and spent five days in a psych ward. I realized that was a big mistake when I was transported there in handcuffs, like I was a criminal. And that’s what happens in the United States. We criminalize the victims and glorify the pimps. We glorify the traffickers in all types of ways.

It was a terrible experience for me, one I never plan to repeat. I was one among hundreds of beds with psych patients in a co-ed population. I was across the hall from a man who had two counts of sexual assault and had been released from prison to have his meds reevaluated. For five days and open doors, I’m across the hall from this man who was very intimidating to me.

I also had a nurse who became very interested in my life, but when she found out that I was on Gilden’s underwear packaging (their underwear packaging is not Victoria’s Secret—just Granny panties) she said to me, “If you hadn’t done those pictures then maybe this wouldn’t have happened to you.” That was really tough, because I felt like I was trying to get help in those five days. I was trying to come out of this dark place but then have this person essentially say that I deserved it.

When I got out, I went to regular counseling but was not very helpful. I moved to South Park in Charlotte and I said, “You know what? I’m tired of being angry. I’m going to give God a second chance.” Not that he should have lost the first chance, but in my heart, that’s how I felt.

So I started going to church again, sitting by myself, hoping that nobody would notice me. I went for a few months and ended up developing friends that saw me for who I was and not a rape victim or a trafficking victim. That wasn’t my identity. My identity was in Christ. That understanding developed more as I continued to go to church, and I wanted to do something that combined everything I went through, but I had no idea.

One day, I spoke at the Mayor’s International Cabinet Awards and a woman from India came up to me afterwards and told me what a good job I did. She then asked what I wanted to do with my life and we got on the subject of trafficking. We instantly connected because she had grown up in India and seen it day in and day out. She saw mothers in the Delhi area sell their children at 3, 4, 5 years old, just to get rid of them, knowing that they would be sold into sex slavery. Then she looked at me and said, “I’ll be really disappointed if you don’t do something about it.” Well, I’ve never liked anybody to be disappointed in me.


A month later, I was sitting in church and our campus pastor spoke about love, everybody’s desire to be loved, and that we also want to give love. I had been thinking for a month to find a name for my non-profit cause. That’s legally where you have to start. So it came to me. It happens that I’m a big Beatles fan, and All You Need is Love is one of my favorites songs. So I thought of “All We Want is Love.” And that’s so true, because anybody in society wants to be loved, and especially after you go through trauma like I did—all you want is love and acceptance.So I thought to take it a step further. What could be an acronym for LOVE to use for my cause? And I decided that that would be: Liberation Of Victims Everywhere. It doesn’t have to be just about trafficking. It could be rape, it could be domestic violence; people are victimized by so many things. And within two weeks, I had someone volunteer to do legal services for free to start my non-profit. It all came together a year ago in July when I was 24. I didn’t know where to begin with this big task, but I knew I had a powerful story, and the people who knew it were really impacted by it.


So it continued. I spoke at some Christian conferences and then offered to help our pastor. I said, “Pastor, what do you think about all these injustices?” David Chadwick was preparing a message on human trafficking for his Justice series. I sent him an email and said, “Hey, if you need any help preparing with stats, facts…I did a whole thesis on it.” But I never mentioned anything about it happening to me. He responded and met with me. As we were talking I started telling him part of my story and how it’s happening locally in Charlotte. And he said, “Wait. Wait a minute. I had no idea.” But because I felt so exposed, I assumed he knew, especially since I had been going to his church for a year and a half. He didn’t know, like so many of you never knew.

He asked me to do a video testimonial—which I later did—but at the end of our meeting he said, “There is one thing. You went through a really traumatic period in your life. And though they may have violated your body, they never touched your soul.” Wow. That was revolutionary and freeing for me to hear that. It has stuck with me ever since. I made leaps and bounds that day in my healing process of thinking how I really am the same person I was before I became that victim. I was just broken for a little bit of time, but my soul is completely whole and intact because of Christ. And that was very, very powerful to continue on.

Since then, my organization has grown and we are now focusing on the education piece. Now people say that education and awareness are great, but not if you don’t do something with it. So schools are a big thing for us. We started a program called Student Traffic. We’ve got three states that have different chapters in them. Just like you would have a Health Occupation Students Association (HOSA) or a debate club in high school or college. We’ve developed these clubs where students can start and actually raise awareness. We provide them with things to do like documentaries, screenings, and outreach programs in their respective cities. Taking it a step further, business people need to be trained, too. So this really is anywhere and everywhere.

I called in a tip the other day, three miles from my house. I live in South Park, which is not a shabby area, where 15 underage girls were being held in a two-bedroom apartment—a place that I had driven past almost every day. And people think it doesn’t happen here or in their own backyard.

Now who visits these places? Who can do something about it? You’ve got cable companies, you’ve got electricians, you’ve got plumbers, and you’ve got power companies that are going into people’s homes. And if they are properly equipped with what to look for and what they can do about it, then they can call and report a tip. If a cable man is in someone’s home, or an electrician, and they see six mattresses in a home and not one piece of furniture. Or they see 15 girls in a house and men coming and going, you have something to report as a possible house for sex slaves.

There are so many signs that people just automatically think, “No, it’s probably not that…it’s probably not this…or, it’s probably not bad.” So they ignore the signs. But if they actually receive education and training about it, they can actually help get these girls rescued and also prevent further trafficking. Most of you probably have children and need to protect your children from this happening to them. The average age, the newest thing I have heard, is 12-14 year olds. That’s 8th grade, 9th grade and high school. If these girls and boys aren’t learning about what can happen to them—how are they supposed to protect themselves? When a man comes up to them in a mall and tells them they are beautiful at 13 years old, and woos them, they don’t know how to react to that. Every girl wants affirmation and to be told that they are beautiful.

We also need to cut off the demand from men and educate them. Over 70 percent of pornography ties to trafficking. And I’ll make this more personal—I later found out that all the videos of me had been sold to rape websites. Some to regular pornographic websites. A friend of mine, who is a lawyer, had more than 16 videos of me removed off of these websites. Some of them were very graphic. Some of them, I got to actually see how many times somebody had bought them. That’s disgusting and sickening. There are many couples who divorce over this issue because husbands get addicted to pornography. One woman said to her husband, “How would you feel if you were on one of these websites and saw your niece on there, knowing what she went through?” But people don’t think about it like that. They think, “This girl is making money, she clearly signed up for this, and this is where she wants to be.”

This may surprise you, but it is the same with strip clubs. More than 30 percent of women in strip clubs are actually being forced to stay there because their boss is threatening them with their lives or threatening their children. Or they may have an abusive spouse at home saying, “If you don’t make a thousand dollars tonight, I’m going to beat the tar out of you when you get home.” But men don’t think about that when they are in there. They are looking at this female that they desire and are thinking, “Well, clearly, she put herself in this position and she has no desire to leave, because if she wanted to leave, she could.” It is the same with pornography. Men don’t see what it is off-camera. They don’t see that these videos have been edited and spliced. So if we teach and educate young boys on these facts and the statistics surrounding the trade, then they can grow up to be men who don’t partake in it. It is easier to train a puppy than it is an adult dog. Somebody who has been watching pornography for 10 years is a lot harder to break of that habit. So education to the youth is critical.

Duke Power has contacted me in the past couple of weeks because they want all of their employees trained. So starting in July, every month, I’ve got one Friday that I am going to spend with them, training their employees. That’s huge. So if you get other corporations and places alike that are going to come in contact with these victims and teach them how to do something about it, it truly is amazing.

Simple economics teaches us that if there is no demand, there is no supply. Why do you need such a big supply of boys and girls for sex trafficking? Because there is such a demand so that it continues to grow. We live in a society that glorifies sex outside of marriage, sex that is hidden and forbidden. There is a correlation to trafficking with adultery. More than 70 percent of men who commit adultery are known to buy trafficked girls—not trafficked women—trafficked girls. Why? Because, maybe at 30, they desire the love of an 18 year old or a 17 year old. Maybe, by chance, they can get it. Well these men grow up and suddenly they are 50 and can’t get that anymore. So they are forced to go out and purchase it because, in their mind, psychologically, they still want that love and affection from somebody of that young age.

So bringing this back to diminishing the demand, if you work for a company that you think might come in contact with these people, demand change. For example there are hotels out there that sponsor trafficking organizations. Hilton is a big one. Make sure you stay at places that don’t support things like this. Make sure that you buy things that are fair trade.

Right before the Wells Fargo-sponsored PGA tournament in Charlotte, we packaged 12,000 bars of soap. That’s a lot of soap. We put the trafficking hotline number on the back of it. It took a couple of hours and we had 60 volunteers show up to help. We put 250 in a bag, with a packet that showed the “signs” of trafficking in English and in Spanish. They were laminated because people tend to not throw things away that are laminated. We also gave them photos in this packet of all of the girls in Charlotte that have been reported missing in the last six months. They could look at it, and put these soaps out in their rooms and in their common areas during the PGA tournament. Why? Because like Bo said, when men flock to a city, there is an increase in sex trafficking. Before the Democratic National Convention came here, six girls were rescued in Charlotte. Not one of them lived in Charlotte because they were brought here to meet the demand of the DNC.

We have the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament every year, we have Wells Fargo every year, and we just had a bid for the Olympics—so as our city continues to grow and get more national attention, so does the amount of sex- trafficking victims.

Something that is really scary, though, when Bo was talking about runaways. One-in every-three runaways is said to actually end up getting caught in the sex trade. Well, according to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, one-in-ten children between 10 and 19 will attempt to run away and succeed. If you do the numbers of the census that is here in Charlotte—something I’ve done recently for a business plan— there are 4,623 children that are at risk of getting caught in the sex trade every year, based off of those statistics. That’s a lot of kids.

So it’s a problem that is here, it’s there, it’s really everywhere. It’s not just in third-world countries. And it isn’t, “Well, she wants to be there, she signed up for it, she chose it, and she wants that lifestyle.” It’s who is controlling her? Who is threatening her with her life? Who is making her feel like she has to be there, or who has destroyed her self-worth? If you poll a room of 12-year-old girls and say, “How many of you would like to be doctors when you grow up? How many of you would like to be lawyers? How many of you would like to be singers, actresses, models, any of that?” You’re going to get all these hands that are raised everywhere. Ask that same group of girls, “How many of you want to be a porn star when you grow up? How many of you want to be a stripper?” Do you think any hands will be raised? No, but something happens in those years when they are broken, their self-esteem is destroyed, they’re lied to, and it’s desperation or survival. There are girls that are 15 and 16 that are providing for their entire families in some of the impoverished areas of Charlotte. There is something that happens that breaks that girl down and makes her feel like that’s where she has to be and not, “I dream of doing this when I get older.”

So, guys…when you’re looking at things online, or if there are any men here looking at pornography, I hope you’ll consider that it could be your daughter someday, or it could be someone else’s daughter. It could be me that ends up showing up on that screen. And all I ask is that you think twice when you go about supporting the sexual demand that exists in our society. If men stop creating the demand, the supply will diminish.



Editor’s Note
I first heard Jillian Mourning give her testimony when Bo Quickel shared his presentation about Vigilante Truckers. Her experience confronted my complete ignorance of a world I thought only existed in other countries, but not in my own backyard of Charlotte, NC. Jillian grew up in this area and graduated from East Lincoln High School. Today, at age 25, she is a model and an actress who currently serves a nonprofit ministry she founded to expose the industry of human sex trafficking (www.allwewantislove. org.) She gave me permission to publish this edited and revised excerpt of the testimony she gave that night. —Jay Zinn


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