“I don’t believe my escape was just for me. By the grace of God, I can now go back and be a light in the darkness for others to find their way out too.”
– Kathy McGibbon
KATHERINE MCGIBBON is a mother, author and playwright who is passionate about helping others. She was raised in Canada by her mother, who instilled solid family values and taught Katherine and her siblings the importance of standing up for what is right and speaking out about what is not. Katherine was raised to be strong and independent. And yet, when she was 21 years old, Katherine became a victim of sex trafficking.
Katherine and her family moved to Houston, Texas in 1994. Throughout high school, she was very involved in church, community outreach and ROTC. She graduated from high school with hopes of pursuing a career in journalism. Even after facing hardships, Katherine was a hard worker, focus driven, and was well on her way to a very promising career.
Like most girls, she desired to be loved. In 2003, a fairytale came true. She met a charming young man who treated her like she had never been treated before. He replaced Katherine’s secret void left by the absence of her father. For a year, Katherine believed that she was in a relationship with someone who genuinely cared for her. Totally unware that he had masterfully isolated her from her friends, family and loved ones, She interpreted his aggressive and possessive behavior as love. It was at the end of that year long relationship that he, Mr. Charming, proposed an offer to Katherine that she felt she could not refuse. A promising job with his company, an administrative position that would triple her income and provide financial security for her future, seemed like a dream come true. The opportunity was in Dallas and despite her initial hesitation to leave with him, Katherine saw the offer as an opportunity to provide for her family. Soon, the true plan was revealed.
Through what she thought were domestic disputes, she was assaulted, threatened and belittled. Slowly, she began to lose her identity. Quickly he revealed his business was struggling and they needed to find ways to financially survive. Katherine found herself in a dark world of sex trafficking and prostitution that she never imagined. She was forced to perform sexual favors for multiple buyers every day throughout Dallas and surrounding areas.
Escape was not easy. Katherine was away from her family and her support system back home. Her boyfriend, turned pimp, made sure her phone calls were limited to buyers and did not give her any money. Finally, she saw her potential escape. One of the girls within the ring became extremely ill and she was able to convince her pimp that the girl needed to be transported to Houston for proper care to avoid drawing attention to his ‘business’. She did it! She successfully escaped upon returning to Houston, never looking back to a life of hell and trauma.
After many years of living in silence, Katherine decided to journal what happened to her as a way of dealing with the surreal experience. That journal became a book. That book became a stage play. Thus, she has mustered the strength to join the movement against sex trafficking. Partnering with several nonprofit organizations, Katherine’s ultimate goal is to raise awareness, fight for those who are being trafficked and mentor those who have overcome it. She has finally found her voice and is now a Program Director for a nonprofit organization and an inspirational speaker whose hope is to use her story to encourage others to join the fight. She has spoken passionately to faith-based organizations, medical professionals, and politicians. Katherine believes that sharing her story contributed to her healing process. She is now helping others to creatively share their stories in a way that does not revictimize or retraumatize survivors. Katherine has dedicated her life to following the principles and beliefs instilled by her mother: Stand up for what is right. Speak out about what is not.