Julianne, Felicia and Marguerite* look like ordinary teens. They enjoy makeup, pretty dresses and occasionally cuddling with a teddy bear. They know all the current songs and movies and can articulate why they want to finish their education and get a college degree so they can get good jobs. They can be seen in serious moods when they are writing a play about choices and where each scenario is likely to take them in five years. Often, they can be observed laughing and giggling over some silly comments.
What you won’t see from the outside is the past from which they are healing. Families of origin that struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction form a common theme. Add to that various kinds of abuse, most encountered while they were still very young, and the stage was set for them to fall prey to the deceptive lies and physical coercion of sex traffickers who sold their bodies to numerous strangers every night. Physical abuse from both the pimps and the customers was the norm, and the psychological manipulations they used left deep tracks in the girls’ psyches.