Bella was raised in New York; when she was only 12 years old, her 33-year-old cousin raped her. Two years later, she ran away from home and met a man who ultimately turned out to be a pimp. Using physical and mental abuse, he manipulated her into selling her body and forced her to give him half of the money she earned.
The police never arrested her pimp or those who exploited Bella, but they did eventually arrest her for running away. Fortunately, she was placed at Gateways—a Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) treatment program for commercially sexually exploited youth—and thanks to their support, Bella has rebuilt her self-esteem and is overcoming her trauma.
In New York State, there are countless girls like Bella who are trafficked for commercial sex and treated like criminals. Yet, the pimps and buyers of these girls are rarely held accountable. Passing the New York Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA) would help change this.
Please join Equality Now and the NYS Anti-Trafficking Coalition in calling on lawmakers to pass the TVPJA before the legislative session ends on 19 June!
Last year, with your support, we came close and we need your help again so that the State does not continue to fail children who are victims of commercial sex. Trafficking victims can’t wait.
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Source: Equality Now