(CNN)There are times when I feel like screaming, on behalf of all human trafficking survivors, "We need jobs, not pity!"
I was a victim of labor trafficking from ages nine through 18, sent from Cameroon to the United States, where I was forced into domestic servitude and abused. I've now been an advocate for 11 years -- long enough to know that my path to an educated, successful and productive life post-trauma is atypical at best.
We have just marked another National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and it is gratifying to see how many people are aware that slavery exists around the world. It's time to up the ante, though. While shocking stories of abuse and terror haunt us into caring about this issue, there is a persistent lack of understanding about what happens beyond a "happy ending" moment when someone escapes their trafficker.