DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - "I was trafficked through Nevada's legal brothels and it's time to say no more."
North Texan Rebekah Charleston says she was a sex slave for years. She's now back spending many nights back in night clubs trying to help women escape the life she once lived.
"We get into 90 percent of the strip clubs in the DFW metroplex."
Charleston is now the executive director of Valiant Hearts- a ministry dedicated to helping "human trafficking" victims.
"Our hope is just to meet them where they are and say 'hey if you guys ever want help getting out, we're here.' "
The term "human trafficking" was almost unheard of in 2006 when the I-Team first reported on Charleston. We were uncovering details about a secret prostitution ring operating out of an upscale neighborhood in Denton. She was among those arrested. Fast forward to 2018, Charleston and one of the other women reunited in our studios to set the record straight. They say they were not criminals, but rather victims. They say they were sex slaves -- beaten, brainwashed and battered into a living hell in that Denton home -- forced into sex trafficking there, in Las Vegas and all of over the country. The federal investigators who prosecuted them were there also and agreed.
WATCH OUR ORIGINAL STORY FROM 2006 HERE:
"They suffered physical and emotional control," said Mark Parsons, a former Internal Revenue Service Investigator.
Looking at the women in our 2018 I-Team interview, United States Attorney Andrew Stover said, "We were hoping to get you out."
Now, Charleston is making headlines nationwide suing the state of Nevada to ban brothels. She filed this federal lawsuit stating she has been "directly harmed as a result of Nevada's statute allowing counties of less than 700,000 people to license brothels and regulate prostitution."
Charleston says one of the places her trafficker took her was the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, a brothel in Nevada where he "forced her to get a job," according to the lawsuit.
A spokesperson for Moonlight Bunny Ranch told the I-Team the brothel did not have a comment on the lawsuit.
But other opponents have been very outspoken.
The Nevada Brothel Association said Charleston's case makes a case for legalized prostitution which is "licensed regulated and taxed."
Using pictures and comments from our 2006 story, it said "the bad things allegedly happened to her... in Dallas" not Nevada.
Others have taken to podcast saying Charleston and the lawsuit will "harm sex workers."
Charleston says she definitely had some hesitation and even fear about taking out the industry and an entire state. "I definitely do. I'd be a crazy person not to.... I know there are a lot of people that disagree me but you can't discredit my personal experience."
In the 28-page lawsuit, Charleston says brothels violate federal laws. She wants Nevada to ban them. And she is asking the state to allocate $2 million dollars to help sex trade workers exit with rent, jobs, childcare, even tattoo removals.
for more features.