(WSVN) - For many former sex trafficking victims, getting away from their captors is just the first step. Most have endured years without medical care. One South Florida dentist is offering his services to victims for free. 7’s Katrina Bush shows us how he is giving survivors “Something to Smile About.”
For more than a decade, Michelle and her daughter were held as prisoners by her own husband. We’ve hidden her face to protect her identity.
Michelle/sex trafficking survivor: “He went to the extreme of locking my baby girl in a room, and in order for me to keep her alive, I had to do whatever he said.”
Michelle’s husband forced her to work as a prostitute.
Michelle: “He’d want, obviously, for me to sell myself and get the money that way.”
He locked Michelle in a bathroom and forced her to take drugs so she couldn’t fight back. She would hide the drugs in her mouth until she could spit them out.
Michelle: “I’d tuck them in my teeth. I’d just hold pouches of saliva in the sides.”
After 12 years of abuse, Michelle and her daughter were able to escape when the family was kicked out of the hotel where they were living.
Michelle: “I remember that day. I just grabbed the baby and ran the opposite way and just kept running.”
For the first time in her life, Michelle felt a sense of joy … but she couldn’t smile. Her teeth were destroyed from years of hiding drugs in her mouth.
She covered her mouth when she talked and accepted she would never smile again.
Michelle: “Feeling like your teeth are going to break apart. (crying) It just hurt so bad.”
Amor Sierra helps sex trafficking survivors. She called dentist Doralio Millan for help.
The next week, Michelle had her first appointment at Premier Dental Solutions in Kendall.
Amor Sierra, owner, Miami Tattoo Co.: “When we got there, what was amazing, first of all, to watch Michelle just practically run up the stairs. She was so excited.”
Dr. Millan worked on Michelle’s teeth for months.
Doralio Millan, DDS, Premier Dental Solutions: “Pretty much all of her teeth were really damaged. She always complained that she was never able to smile.”
Dr. Millan worked out a plan with his staff to not only give Michelle a new smile, but they did it for free.
Doralio Millan, DDS: “When you give people back their smile, you’re giving them back their life.”
The cost to replace all of Michelle’s teeth: $25,000. Dr. Millan says no amount of money can compare to seeing Michelle smile again.
Doralio Millan, DDS: (lowers head and starts to cry) “We have to give people hope, who have no hope.”
After months of surgeries, 7News was there for Michelle’s last appointment. After years of torture and suffering, Michelle says she finally has something to smile about.
Michelle: “From ear to ear. It’s going to be marked, imprinted on my face. I’m going to be smiling so much.”
Michelle was granted a divorce from her husband, and he is now in jail serving time for what he did to her and her daughter. If you would like to learn more about how you can help sex trafficking survivors, click on the links below.
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