02/09/2015 01:50 pm ET

Grammys Performer Says Music, Expression Helped Her Through Sex Trafficking Trauma

FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

When Brooke Axtell was a child, her nanny took her to the basement of a strange house and sold her to men who raped her.

Last night, 27 years after being trafficked, she became the face of an awards show’s push against domestic violence, speaking at the Grammys before an audience of millions.

“Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse,” Axtell said in a spoken-word piece that introduced Katy Perry’s stripped-down rendition of “By the Grace of God.”

“Please reach out for help,” Axtell implored. “Your voice will save you.”

Read more on The Washington Post