SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Elizabeth Smart was just 14 years old when she was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City. 

June 5th marks 20 years since her abduction, but Smart said the date she focuses on is March 12th 2003. The day she was rescued. 

Now, 20 years later Smart has come a long way as a survivor, advocate and mother. 

“When your child starts asking questions, that’s the time to talk about it,” said Smart. 

That is the best parenting advice Smart has gotten, but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy, like when her three year old daughter kept asking her why she kept having to travel to speak at events.

“When i was little a very bad man broke into my home and he took me and he hurt me for a long time. And then I was rescued. And I don’t want that to happen to anyone else,” said Smart talking about what she said to her daughter.

Now, her oldest child is half the age she was when she was kidnapped 20 years ago. The man who abducted her was sentenced to life in prison. His wife spent roughly 15 years behind bars. 

Smart now focuses on what she can do like setting an example for her three children. Smart works with the Malouf Foundation and the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, confronting child exploitation and trafficking, while also keeping a close eye on her children. 

“I probably tend to err on the stressful side a little bit because I never want them outside unless I’m outside or my husband or our nanny is outside with them,” said Smart. 

Smart knows she can’t shelter them from everything, but she strives to make them feel supported and safe. 

“I hope when they got older, they look back and they’ll be like, ‘Yeah, she wasn’t perfect, but she did her best.’ I hope they can see that,” said Smart.

Smart encourages people to take a free training on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and signs of abuse. The training is provided by OnWatch and also shows you how to report and prevent sex trafficking.