Students may recognize Kylee Gregg as the one who fought back at the anti-abortion protest on Sept. 17 in Centennial Mall.
When she witnessed the commotion, she pulled out a sheet of notebook paper, wrote out her pro-choice beliefs, held the page high and used her voice. Ten students followed in her footsteps.
The following day, Gregg started the first pro-choice organization at UT with Dayne Gayle, Elizabeth Winkle and Alex Seifert.
Her complicated and painful past of being a sex trafficking survivor prompted her to act. Gregg grew up an hour southwest of Toledo. When she was 10-years-old, her parents got divorced leaving her with no choice, but to live with her abusive mother.
She slept in a nearby park or under the bridge near her school some days. Gregg would also steal food from the local grocery.
“I was a very vulnerable child,” Gregg said. “I had also been molested as a young child.and traffickers, they really know how to play on vulnerabilities,”
She met a young boy who was a few years older than her. Gregg said . He made her feel valued, a feeling she never experienced before. The boy introduced her to his family who showed her kindness,gave her food and a place to sleep. Once they finally gained Gregg’s trust, her sex trafficking began.
“I was in sex trafficking from when I was 10 to right before my 14th birthday,” Gregg said. “I was bought and sold like 1,500 times. It was an everyday thing for four years.”
When Gregg was 11, she became pregnant as a result of being trafficked. She didn’t know she was pregnant until she met an older girl who recognized what Gregg was going through and helped her have an abortion.
“I think she understood the importance of choice better than anybody I ever met,”Gregg said. “Because she knew what it was like to have that choice ripped away from you.”
She decided to have the abortion. Her new friend gave her lots of liquor and other substances to drink, and she was made to take freezing cold showers. It didn’t take long after for Gregg to miscarry.
“Traffickers and anti-abortion activists both seek to rid women of their rights and to control women . . . If you become pregnant in trafficking, your options are pretty much abortion or death.”
For Gregg, telling her story and being an activist is a form of catharsis and empowerment. She appreciates the resources and human trafficking organizations provided on campus.