Minn. woman escapes captivity after being held as slave in La. - KMSP-TV

Minn. woman escapes captivity after being held as slave in Louisiana

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NATCHITOCHES, La. -

A Minnesota woman who met a married Louisiana couple online years ago broke free from captivity last week after being held as a slave for two years in a rural area.

Three people are now under arrest, and investigators say the woman, who is transgender, initially met her captors consensually online via the websites Collarme and The Slave Register, both of which cater to those who seek consensual submissive or slave relationships. 

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. said the woman met 37-year-old David Rodriguez and his wife, 39-year-old Christina Harper, on those sites and agreed to move in with them. Rodriguez even tattooed a barcode on the back of her neck for one of the sites, which claims to only register consensual relationships.

The woman, who is in her 50s, told police that everything was consensual for a while. She slept in a wooden box measuring 5 feet by 3 feet and would do daily chores like serving meals, installing a swimming pool and having sex on demand -- but if she didn't finish, she was "disciplined" by Rodriguez, Harper and their friend, 39-year-old Ambre Lomas, of Shreveport, La.

Her punishment included beatings, carving initials into her backside, being shot with a stun gun, and being doused with urine. The victim told police that when she told the trio she wanted to leave, they instead chained her up while naked and forced her to stay outside for two days and two nights without food or water before locking her in a storage shed. 

The woman was eventually able to escape the shed and drove Rodriguez's car to find police with the logging chain still around her neck. She located officers near an exit in Natchitoches, and is now in protective custody.

"As far as being lured to another state and being held captive -- oh yeah, that's not uncommon at all in the population we work with," Joy Friedman, of Breaking Free, told Fox 9 News.

Friedman helps people get out of the sex trafficking industry, and she says the woman was likely vulnerable because she was depressed after she was disowned by her family following the sex change surgery.

"A lot of the girls who come to us have mental health issues, depression, low self-esteem, low self worth," Friedman said. "The traffickers lure them in using those."

Now that she's free, Friedman hopes the victim will get the help she needs.

"Healing is a process, but there is hope," she said. "There is life after this. We'll keep her in our prayers and hope for the best."
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