Reno sex trafficking survivor shares her obstacles and triumphs

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 9:39 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - We’re highlighting a humbling story of how life can knock you down, but it doesn’t have to end there.

Lessia Judd describes being kidnapped, raped, and sold into sex work at age five, “I was terrified. I seen things a little girl should never see, I heard things a little girl should never hear, it was very terrifying. I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. This man came to the casino; I was supposed to stay outside the casino, and he grabbed me. He took me to this empty house here in Reno and I’ll never forget what the house looked like, it was empty, and it had hardwood floors and he threw me on the floor and took my innocence away.”

She tells us her mother and stepfather sold her to men. Drugs entered her life at age 13, as she details, “It took the nightmares away, it took the numbness away, it took the pain away. It took the anger away.”

Due to the abuse, she ran away from home at 14 after being in the foster care system and group homes. She wants society to get more comfortable discussing the life-or-death multi-billion-dollar industry of sex-trafficking, “people are still scared, people don’t want to know that it’s happening here in this county, this state,” she says.

The story could have easily ended there but thank goodness for love. “I have a lot of reasons to get drunk and loaded but I have a lot more reasons to stay sober today and one of those is my family. I didn’t know how to read or write at the age of 20, 30. 30 years old and I didn’t know how to read or write. I learned all that through my husband,” she exclaims.

As literacy, love and better choices filled her life, she was referred to a small non-profit that hasn’t even been in our area for more than 5 years, “I got hooked up with Dress for Success and I met some very powerful women and their teaching me still today, as long as I’m teachable to how to have a voice and be empowerment myself and to take my power back, she explains.

Judd has recorded 25 years of continuous sobriety. Dress for Success Reno-Northern Nevada focuses on supporting women. From employment, financial literacy, resume writing, and any other way to improve their lives and their families. She wants to encourage anyone who hasn’t made it this far…yet.

“You’re not alone. You’re definitely 100% not alone, we love you, you are worth something, you are empowerment, you are a woman, you’re a human being,” she states proudly.

To support Dress for Success Reno’s mission, you can donate or volunteer by visiting, the email is:, or call 775-846-9814.

Lessia Judd can be reached at

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