When I was in the life, I was arrested twice (technically once according a certain someone) and the first time was pretty traumatic really. Back then (2004), there were no active anti-sex trafficking organizations coming in and swooping up victims of commercial sexual exploitation. It was all up to teams that included the police, FBI, victims’ advocates, and US attorneys.
The first time I was arrested, I was walking down the Track in DC and I had just done something really stupid. I think I’d only been out on the streets for a few weeks, so it must have been May of 2004. Anyway, I had just committed “solicitation to a police officer”. A flashy sports car had pulled up next to me and asked me what I was doing, and I leaned into the car and asked him if he wanted to party. He seemed normal enough, but uh, I was stupid and asked him how much he wanted to party for, and there was this twinkle in his eye, almost a smirk?? I knew, right then and there I had just fucked up, bad. I immediately walked away from the car, just ended the conversation and turned and walked the opposite direction. I got half a block away, and I turned around just in time to see a squad car pull up on the sidewalk right behind me. Two officers got out, both female and told me to stand against the car and immediately started questioning me. It became obvious after I slipped up and answered a question wrong that I was underage and they put me in the car. As I’m sitting in the back of this car, these two, awful bitches sat there and talked shit to me. Thinking back now, I don’t know if this is some tactic or if they were really some awful hateful women! Either way, they were not helpful what-so-damn-ever. I spent that night in holding, shivering on a metal bunk in a short black skirt, no shoes and a thin, small piece of fabric trying to cover my breasts and some belly. One very clear memory I have of this night, is that in the morning when we were being transported to the courthouse, me and several other people were put into a paddy-wagon, and we were shackled together, and I got shackled and sat next to what had to have to have been a 5 year old girl. And despite ALL the bullshit I was going through, all I could do is sit and look at this terrified baby girl, in fucking shackles. I got so angry. I asked her why she had been picked up and she said that she’d been out past curfew and gotten lost, and couldn’t remember how to get home. I just wanted to hold this baby and cry for her.
The second time I was picked up for solicitation, it was a chaotic night. I was walking and squad car pulled over and stopped me and about 2 other girls. I’m pretty sure I remember thinking that they were older, definitely over 18, and I’d likely be the only one screwed in this situation. I remember that I was wearing a wig to try and hide my identity better in case anyone was looking for me. I remember being questioned over and over who my pimp was and how old I was, and I remember the other two girls staring at me, daring me to tell. They ended up telling on their pimps before we drove away, and they had to take me into holding. I sat in holding for hours with a girl named Tequila, who called herself KiKi. I remember feeling sad for her too, and wanting to take her away when I got out and making it all better for her. It’s crazy the things that haunt you after something so traumatic. Not the sex, not the rape, not the abuse from your pimp or other pimps. It’s the kids that haunt me.
I spent that evening refusing to tell the police and FBI who my pimp was, convinced I’d get out of there and go back to him. I really truly thought I was in love with him, and him me. The detective and the FBI agent sat there and tried and tried and tried, and then I snapped. They told me that they had found him in a hotel room shortly after they’d arrested me, and he was already turning another girl out. Well, I suppose it’s true that “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned” (William Congreve), because I was pissed. That was the moment I caved.
After I caved, there was a whirlwind of overwhelming events, and during all of this, I think I was in shock. There were no anti-sex trafficking organizations running in DC at that time, and I think my healing process would have been drastically different if there had been. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude and awe I have for the people running these amazing anti-trafficking organizations today. Victims need very sensitive and specialized trauma care following events like this. I really feel that the people who are running the organizations are a very valuable asset to the team required to get girls off the street and into a safe and nurturing environment. And all of that is exactly why my dream is to run one myself someday. <3