Elizabeth Smart shares her story, says she's a 'survivor' not a 'victim'

"Certainly, this area is darkest of all areas, but people need to know that happy endings exist and that children do come back and they can go on to be happy," Smart-Gilmour said.
By Veronica Linares  |  Aug. 14, 2014 at 7:50 AM
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour, who survived 9 months of sexual abuse after being kidnapped at the age of 14, shared her story while speaking at a round table discussion about sexual abuse and human trafficking in Sioux Falls on Wednesday.

"Well, I certainly consider myself a survivor. I do not think of myself as a victim," said Smart-Gilmour who was kept as a second wife by a couple after being taken from her home in Utah as a teen.

She went on to note the importance of knowing what human trafficking is and to acknowledge that "it's everywhere whether you accept it or not."

"What is human trafficking? That is slavery. Children being sold and traded for sex or whatever, that's slavery and it's everywhere whether you accept it or not."

Smart-Gilmour, 26, went on to discuss the importance of the treatment survivors receive after being rescued and praised human trafficking advocacy groups in the Dakotas for their services.

"Once they're rescued, it's kind of like out of mind, out of sight. So, giving that extra care and making sure their needs are met, that they have a way to settle back into society, that's huge," she said.

In the end, Smart-Gilmour hopes her message and her story will help spread the word that "happy endings exist and that children do come back and they can go on to be happy."

The conference will carry on for two more days with a focus on human trafficking as it pertains to the the North Dakota oil boom, internet predators, and sexual assaults taking place in the Native American communities of the U.S.

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