“People are not property!” they shouted.
Side by side victims and supporters marched through Balboa Park Saturday afternoon to speak for those who have no voice.
Tom Jones represents a side of trafficking you rarely see.
“At the age of six I was molested, and I was molested by my dad,” Tomes Jones explained. “Not long after that my dad allowed strange men to come molest me as well."
Jones was a victim of human trafficking until the age of fifteen, and he said abuse against male victims remains largely underreported. He now speaks to other victims about his abuse and works with law enforcement to stop the demand.
“You learn to fear for your life at a really young age,” Jones said. “I was strangled, starved, beaten sometimes."
San Diego ranks eighth in the nation for human trafficking. An estimated $810 million are spent here annually, but local lawmakers are working to stop it.
“We do a lot of activity that disrupts the exploitation of the victims so it's a prevention,” Chief Deputy DA Summer Stephan told NBC 7. “It's intervention and prosecution. It's a whole approach to attacking this problem."
“I got kidnapped by my friend's dad,” Hazel Fasthorse told the crowd.” “I went to kindergarten with this man's daughter."
Jones’ message is about not hiding in the shadows when you’re a victim.
“That’s what I want to pass along to the male survivors in San Diego,” Jones said. “You don’t have to be ashamed and there is help out there. And there’s ways to go about getting it – don’t be afraid.”
Jones and Fasthorse marched so that others will hopefully not have to go through what they went through – and to shine a light in the darkness that is human trafficking.