Sophia Strother’s name and story is one of the most influential success and triumph stories. Strother’s sex trafficking survival story has inspired many. Today, as a successful business-owner and sex trafficking survivor, Strother shares her story with the world, knowing that it can help many unseen sex trafficking victims.

Strother’s childhood was filled with trauma: Her parents were drug addicts, she was sexually abused at the age of 9, trafficked at 13, and becoming pregnant by one of her’s mother’s dealers at the age of 15. Finally at 15, her grandmother helped her escape her harmful environment.

Eventually Strother founded L2E Industries, LLC, a premier courier service and a multi-million dollar business. Strother spoke with 21Ninety to personally share about her story and her success. Read on to find out more about her inspiring story and her love of community.

From Sex Trafficking Victim to Business Owner

21Ninety: Your story is inspiring. Society often ignores Black women and girls who publicly talk about sex/human trafficking. What are some ways that you feel would help raise awareness about the horrifying realities of human trafficking?

Sophia Strother: I wrote an article in the Texas Tribune Herald in 2017 titled Invisible in Plain Sight, I was mad and disappointed about the obvious lack of representation for Black girls and women in the human trafficking space. This is alarming given that, according to a study by the FBI, we make up over 50% of juvenile victims and 40% of adult victims. I can’t say I was surprised given the history of America. I made it my mission to be the voice of the whispers and face for the silhouettes. 

Strother’s International Acclaim

21N: ‘Sophia I’m Back’ has received international acclaim, did you have any idea how impactful telling your story would be? 

Strother: That’s a great question and I had no idea the total impact my story would have. I was 26 years old, recently divorced and really focused on sharing my story of surviving sexual assault by the hands of my father and how that affected my decisions as an adult. I hadn’t openly shared that my mother had trafficked me as a teenager. Given that she was still living and I really didn’t understand that I could actually call her a trafficker, I only focused on my father’s abuse. My perception of a pimp was shaped by media and music depictions and not the definition itself. 

It’s been a wonderful and inspiring experience to see how well received my story of surviving has been. The highlights were having Austin Independent School District contract with me 2011-2018 to create a curriculum, my second book, “Taking My Life Back.” [Also] going into all of the middle schools, high schools, alternative campuses, shelters and rehab campuses to speak to young people about my journey. I spoke on how they can pivot or avoid some of the pitfalls I endured as a result of abuse. Who would’ve thought I’d get paid to tell my testimony and become a mentor to so many!

Empowering Sex Trafficking Victims

21N: What motivated you to create your multi-million dollar company L2E?

Strother: My motivation came after beginning a healing journey through therapy with Cheryl Alexander, who’s a licensed therapist in Round Rock, TX. After two years I finally realized I was worth investing in myself. After years of investing my time, finances and intellectual capital into people that didn’t appreciate or deserve it, it was time to turn the tides and consider myself as the priority. 

21N: What have been some highlights since founding ‘Empowerment Driven by Knowledge Coalition (EDKC)’?

Strother: Being able to touch over 50,000 people through hosting Juneteenth Family Fun Day in Waco, Texas; helping to give over $15,000 in scholarships to seniors to attend college; creating and promoting awareness campaigns for domestic violence; sexual assault and human trafficking nationally; and helping to raise $4 million in partnership with ministries and nonprofits to enhance community programs that help rebuild communities, one family at a time

21N: Do you have any advice or encouraging words for survivors and those affected by sex trafficking?

Strother: I do. You are more than your past. You are more than decisions made in a hurt place. You are worth the wait in your own healing journey. Write your own narrative and give yourself grace in the process.