MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fighting for survival. One woman recounts the nearly three years she was sex trafficked.
Eyewitness News spoke with her about her journey from victim to survivor and how an arrest by Monroe County Law Enforcement helped her gain her freedom.
Lacey Goldsmith is a wife, a mother of three children, and a certified nursing assistant.
“It’s great you know the life I have now, where I’m not you know just trying to survive the next minute, second, and everything like that,” said Lacey Goldsmith, sex trafficking survivor.
Her dream life started as a nightmare as 29-year-old Goldsmith is a survivor of sex trafficking. When she was 22, she says her friend recommended she become an escort for extra money. The job would seal her fate with her trafficker, John Golom.
“He didn’t make it obvious exactly what was going to happen until it was too late,” said Lacey goldsmith, sex trafficking survivor
She says Golom used the tactic of grooming, where the trafficker builds trust in order to manipulate the victim.
“I still 100% didn’t know that I was being trafficked because my trafficker would constantly say things that you know these guys do. He would say ‘oh well, the door’s always open you can leave if you want,” said Goldsmith.
But she couldn’t leave his control for nearly three years. Lacey was sex trafficked in her home state of Florida, New York, and in the Poconos.
She became pregnant and Golom used her newborn child as a way to keep her from leaving him.
“If you don’t work, you know I’m going to take your baby away from you. If you don’t work, you know I’m going to send your baby away and I’m going to tell them that you’re hurting your baby, and then you’ll have to go to jail too,” Goldsmith explained.
She was eventually caught in a sting operation by Detective Kim Lippincott who is with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, in 2018. She got away but was later taken into custody with Golom in New York.
Golom is now in federal prison convicted of federal sex trafficking offenses. It was Detective Lippincott who helped reveal that Goldsmith was a victim and not a criminal.
Goldsmith began to heal and turn her life around through programs designed to help turn sex trafficking victims into survivors. She was finally reunited with her family in September of 2019.
Bloom for Women is a program based in Bethlehem that provides a sanctuary for women of trafficking and exploitation. It is very similar to the program that helped Goldsmith.
The CEO says there are misconceptions about sex trafficking victims.
“They may think ‘well why didn’t they just run away?’ or ‘why don’t they just leave?’ it’s not that simple. While the, ‘me too movement’ created opportunities for women to be believed and other victims to come forward and share their story and be believed, oftentimes the victim is blamed,” explained Carol Andersen, CEO, Bloom for Women.
Lacey’s story will hopefully bring awareness to the problem of sex trafficking in our communities.
Andersen says people should be aware of signs that someone may be the victim of trafficking. If you suspect someone you know is being trafficked contact the national human trafficking hotline at 1-800-373-7888