“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” - Henry David Thoreau
As an extension of our recent article, “Capitol Hill isn’t immune to sex trafficking,” Amanda Hightower, the Executive Director of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade), shared one of her organization’s success stories with The Capitol Hill Times:
“We have a 24-hour hotline that girls can call; anyone who is feeling trapped, sexually exploited or just done and wants help accessing services can call.
“We got a call from a young woman who was under the control of a pimp. She said that she couldn’t get away from him very often to use the phone or text, that he was watching her, but was gone for a few hours, so she had some time to call, and she was ready to get away. And so we figured out a way to meet up safely and secretly so that her pimp wouldn’t know. I gathered the information that I needed: she had been lured into this relationship with him about six months prior, and he had been prostituting her every night on the track in Seattle or through a hotel room, and forcing her to bring in anywhere from $600 to $1,200 a night. In talking with her, it was clear that she wanted out, and we were able to find a safe place for her to go if she was able to get away.
“There are a couple of police officers who are part of the high-risk victims unit who do undercover work. I called them and asked them to set up an undercover call with this girl so that she could get away from her pimp; she knew about this going into it, and was eager to do whatever it took to get away. So, they set up an undercover date with the women, went and met her, and did a fake arrest to get her out. They got her stuff, and brought her to the rest house where she stayed one night, and then we were able to help her move into a long-term program.
“She texted me about a month later and said that she’s so thankful that she was able to get away, and that she was doing well.
On our hotlines we get about one or two calls a week.”