BELL COUNTY — Janiece Charlez has seen the face of human trafficking. It lurks in Bell County neighborhoods, schools, and streets. It took Natalie Fisher, her daughter. Now Charlez has dedicated her life to stopping it wherever she can.
First and foremost, it's by helping others understand it.
"Most of the time it starts off like a boyfriend or girlfriend relationship," Charlez said.
Like most human trafficking victims, Natalie Fisher was not taken captive. She was brainwashed over time by what traffickers call a "Romeo" pimp. A man will earn the girl's trust, befriend them, and then seduce them. Fisher, like many, thought she was on the way to a better life.
"They were going to have babies, a family. He'd say 'earn some money, help me out, and we'll build this empire together.' It's what they tell these girls," Charlez said.
But then, the pimp convinces the girl to stay with them, takes their identification, takes their money, and takes complete control of their lives.
"He's then no longer this boyfriend, or Romeo," Charlez said. "He's a gorilla pimp. He's going to beat you, take from you, and control you."
For Natalie Fisher, the control became so strong that even when Charlez brought her home, her pimps could convince her to get in a van, or cab, and simply leave again.
"We had her in counseling, we had her hospitalized, we tried everything," Charlez said.
The last time she went back to her pimp and stayed, however, Natalie did it to protect her family and her mother. She told her mother, it was to save their lives.
"She said he was going to kill us, her little girls, and her family... and so she went back so that they didn't hurt us," Charlez said.
Natalie Fisher was eventually found dead in Houston, Texas. Her murder was never solved. Now Janiece Charlez works to help other girls out of that same situation with a nonprofit called IMF Ministry.
Anyone needing help for themselves or their family can call 1800 919 0768. Find out how you can help on their website.