“I was called a prostitute even though I was a child, even though I was a trafficking victim.”
I want New York State to upgrade our laws so that in the future girls are not hurt like I was. When I was nine years old, I was kidnapped by my school janitor. He raped me and sold me to a pimp.
I was able to escape, but traumatized and vulnerable, I was quickly targeted by another pimp. He took me out to dinner, took me shopping and to get my nails done. He promised me the life I wanted to lead: school, a loving home, and a family. He told me I only needed to do one small thing for him in return. From then on, my life was not my own. I lived under the control of a series of brutal pimps who exploited me for their own profit and sold me to men who knew my age and bought sex because of it.
When I was thirteen years old, the police finally came to get me, but I wasn’t rescued as a missing child; I was arrested and placed in handcuffs as a prostitute. I was called a prostitute even though I was a child, even though I was a trafficking victim.
These men, who own others as slaves, who sold me to child rapists, who profited from my body, deserve to be punished more harshly. We need to send a message to other people who want to exploit women and girls, men and boys, the way I was exploited, that New York State does not stand for this crime.