Victim’s trauma of sexual exploitation and trafficking as a child

Lisa Turner could not possibly have any idea of the hellish experiences that would result from accepting the simple and flattering attentions of her music teacher at the age of 12. But within two years, her groomer and exploiter was having sex with her - in the guise of guitar lessons her mother was actually paying for - and soon after she was a virtual prisoner on the other side of the world. Now, having managed to escape years after she was groomed and trafficked into England as a child by her school teacher, she relives the full horror and trauma that she has used to create a world-beating form of therapy.

At the age of 12, Lisa was given a phone number by her then-school music teacher under the guise of him wanting to help her practice singing. Within three years, she found herself under virtual house arrest thousands of miles away from her family. Lisa, 52, who now lives in Crackington Haven, near Bude, has told of the harrowing experience she had, and wants her story to be both a warning and a comfort to those who have had similar experiences.

Read: Woman loses sleep over new build 'calamity' blocking her view "Trafficking is really nuanced," she said, from her home in Cornwall decades after the events. "Most people have this idea that it's just kids being grabbed, thrown into trucks and driven across a border. "That does happen, but it's quite rare.

What's far more common is the process I experienced." Lisa was a schoolchild in Australia when a music teacher at her school - who she refers to as Gary, though that's not his real name - gave her his phone number. Now an expert in trauma, psychology and in particular grooming - Lisa dubbed this the first of four stages: "luring".

She explained: "It's like catching fish, a groomer casts a net. They throw it out and see who bites. "He gave out his number to quite a number of girls at my school.

I was 12 when I met him and he gave it out to see who would bite. He said to call him whenever I just wanted a chat. Get breaking news curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day.

Choose what you want to read here "It was under the guise I was doing a solo in the school play and as far as my parents were told he wanted to help with my singing." After the bait had been taken, Lisa recalled, the second stage of grooming occurred, which she calls "the enchantment".

The pair started regularly having phone calls which became increasingly intimate and secretive. "This is where they delight you, flatter you, it's love-bombing," she said. "They give you anything and everything but they also start to drive a wedge between you and your family as a way of control. "Gary started to get really jealous when I spent time with anyone else and, like all groomers, he started to groom my family too.

He'd tell me my family didn't understand me and only he did but then he'd tell my mum how he was worried about me as a student. "He was phoning my mum up, which I didn't know until years later, saying how he would help the family because I was getting out of control, meanwhile telling me it was just me and him versus the world and I couldn't trust anybody. "So my mum started to think I'm this really naughty child and this friction just grew and grew.

It went on for years." While this went on, Lisa said, things started to get more sexual between her and the adult who was still a teacher at her school. He'd say what many adults know to be red flag phrases.

This was things like "if you loved me you'd do this", suggesting that he would self harm if she didn't engage in sexual acts, and teaching her how to do them. This, Lisa said, is the "manipulation and coercion" phase. She continued: "He started to blackmail me, said if I didn't spend enough time with me he'd kill himself.

I was 13 by this point, that's a lot for a 13 or 14 year-old to handle. "I was left thinking if I didn't cancel on my friends or sneak out to meet him at the end of the road he'd kill himself. It's also part of this enchantment, it makes a child think their special because a person can't live without the.

13-year-olds don't have the emotional maturity to understand this. "I was 12 when I met him and 14 when we first had sex. Every Saturday I was going for a 'music lesson' with him.

It was basically a sex lesson - and my mum was paying him for what she thought were guitar lessons. It's horrific. "The final phase is full on exploitation and that's where people are trafficked, and where I was too."

By this point, Lisa said she was "brainwashed". Her groomer had persuaded her that not only could she not cease the relationship because he needed her, but also that if she told anyone they would both go to prison. He moved to England when she was 15, having said he wanted to pursue a music career.

This, Lisa said, is when she was trafficked away from her family. Once he moved, he began to make threats of self harm to both Lisa and her family, should she not be allowed to visit him. "My mum didn't just pack me off," Lisa said. "I want people to know, she did everything she could. But it's not as simple as just pulling someone away from abuse like that, the extractor begins to look like the enemy to the groomed child.

"The deal was I would visit for a few weeks, stay with him for a while, then go up to my nana's in Sunderland, before returning home via a trip to America. It was the school holidays in Australia and part of the deal was that I would do a term of school in England. But once she got to England, Gary's grip over her extended and she became even more isolated from her family.

The threats of self harm resumed when she suggested going home, and, Lisa recalled, when her mother came to pick her up there was nothing she could say that would have got her to agree to going. Her mum gave her some money so Gary could, at least, not hold a financial debt over her like many other abusers - and maintained contact with her as best she could. However, in England, Lisa's life became a living hell.

"I was a house prisoner," she said. "I couldn't do anything except what he said. He controlled when I slept, when I went out, and he forbade me from speaking to anyone at school. "I wasn't allowed to socialise.

One time I came home with a school friend in the house, and he took the few clothes I had and began cutting them up as a punishment." After fewer than five years of living in that property in London with her abuser's iron grip on her life, Lisa decided she had to leave. Just before her 20th birthday, she rang her mother who just asked: "What do you need?"

By this point, however, Lisa said she reckoned Gary had grown tired of her - and too old for her - so he didn't put up much of a fight. The practicalities of getting out were easy, albeit with the need for some financial help, it was making the decision to do it in the first place. Lisa added that the type of relationship she had with Gary is a complicated thing to leave.

As well as this, she said she appreciated her mother's help and does not blame her one bit. She said: "My mum, I think, knew it was a sexual relationship by the time I left for England. It must have been unbelievably hard for her.

She could see how brainwashed I was, but pulling someone out is harder than you think. "She knew if she badmouthed the abuser, I'd see her as the enemy. I don't know how she bit her tongue but she did the right thing by biding her time.

I just perceived it as having a boyfriend who happened to be a teacher. She realised something was up but too late and hindsight is 20/20." In the years since, Lisa put her mind to healing from the trauma of her teenage years.

Having missed out on socialisation with people her own age, she said there's a lot she struggles with.

Lisa with her now-husband, who she lives with near Crackington HavenLisa with her now-husband, who she lives with near Crackington Haven

"I had what you'd classify as the classic trauma responses," she said. "PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder], crippling social anxiety, feelings of worthlessness. I get lost a lot, as I never learned to find my own way around as I wasn't allowed to. "I tried every therapy you can name - cognitive therapy, energy healing, spiritual stuff.

Bits worked and bits didn't." In her words, Lisa put her scientific brain to it and made a mish-mash of the therapies which helped her get over what had happened. The result was what she called conscious emotional transformation (CET), a form of therapy she now teaches to other therapists - as well as practices herself.

From her home near Crackington, Lisa has continued to write about her own story, as well as work on teaching psychiatrists to perform CET, which she thinks is the most effective therapeutic tool for abuse survivors there is. Having just released another book, CET Yourself Free, Lisa explained that the therapy combines science and spirituality which helped her out. She now specialises in post-extraction healing, the process of recovery for people who have been taken out of an abusive or trafficking relationship.

READ NEXT: