Published June 1, 2018
At fifteen years old, Diane Owsley was abducted from her home by an abusive boyfriend. For several days, she was held captive in the woods by the man she thought she knew so well. During a daring escape, she knew going home was not an option, so she decided to “run to the streets” and try her luck out on her own as she had nowhere else to turn. Her family was mostly uninvolved in her life, she couldn’t even go to them for help.
According to fausa.org, most runaways or girls on the streets, will be lured by a trafficker within 48hrs. Diane was no exception; within those 48 hours, she was already targeted.
She met a man who made promises to help her, telling her that he would take her in and take care of her. This sounded like a dream come true, especially after everything she had just gone through. Unfortunately, it was not so… back at the man’s house, he and his group of friends raped her. When they were done with her, they threw her into a room in the back, with nothing but a blanketless bed on the floor.
She told me, “When that door closed, I did not leave for two years.”
For those two years, a group of men guarded the door night and day; she was unable to escape. They kept her drugged and often withheld food from her, her ragged body getting weighing as little as ninety pounds. Not only was she held captive in that house, she was trafficked, sold numerous times a day for sex.
The situation seemed bleak and it was in that hopelessness that she cried out to God. While she never had a relationship with Him before, one night she prayed that her torture would end. Soon after, and for the first time in two years, the door to that horrible room was left unguarded. Without waiting, she fled, finally able to escape.
After her escape, she met with a pastor who took care of her and counseled her for three years. In that time she started a relationship with God and was saved. Diane is adamant that her relationship with Christ is how she overcame and healed from the horrors of being trafficked.
Diane’s story doesn’t end there. In the years since her escape, Diane went on to marry her wonderful husband of fifteen years. Since his passing seven years ago, she now spends her time fighting human trafficking by speaking at college, high schools, and conferences all over the country, spreading awareness wherever she goes. When she is not doing speaking engagements, she is scouring the internet looking for human trafficking victims. She knows exactly what to search for as she looked through sites such as Backpage and Craigslist. Now that those sites have been shut down, Diane says there is no shortage of other places to look, unfortunately. She has worked closely with Homeland Security over the years, reporting the leads she finds. She has even worked with the FBI at the Super Bowl, watching and searching for human trafficking victims that are sold during the event. The FBI are involved once the victim crosses state lines, and during the Super Bowl, pimps bring in their girls from other states.
Known by her colleagues as a “Beacon of Hope” and an abolitionist who “Brings Hope to the Trafficked”, Diane has personally rescued several girls, as well. One night at a hotel, she realized that trafficking was taking place right before her eyes. Boldly, she informed the authorities and stayed with the victim, keeping her safe until police arrived. Another victim she found is now a close friend of hers, sharing an unimaginable bond of being human trafficking survivors. Diane was able to take the girl back to her own house, keeping the girl safe. She says that Lindsey is now a daughter figure to her.
When she’s not rescuing victims, she sells special bracelets to help raise money for other survivors. These bracelets are made by human trafficking survivors, and the funds from the jewelry go to support those women.
When I asked Diane what she believes the average person can do to help fight human trafficking, she responded with a quote from William Wilberforce, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” She strongly believes that awareness is one of the best ways we can help prevent it. She says that if people understand what is happening and know the signs, they can report it, which could be the thing that saves someone’s life.
If you would like to order one of her bracelets, Diane states that facebook messenger is the best way to contact her.