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When she was 13, after her older brother raped her, Danielle started running away from home. Actually, she didn’t really have a home at the time; she lived with her mother and siblings in an abandoned house. After her mother went to prison for criminal trespassing, Danielle went into foster care in New Jersey; she bounced from treatment program to treatment program. Danielle later tried to reunite with her mother who had moved to another state, but her mother kicked her out after only two days. At the age of 19, believing she didn’t have other options and now stuck in an unfamiliar state, Danielle went to live with a man she didn’t know very well. He let her stay if she had sex with him and his roommate. There were other girls living in the house too, and she saw them get hit if they tried to leave. Eventually, she got up the courage to go; she returned to New Jersey and became homeless. She found Covenant House where she spent three months at the Crisis Center, later she moved to a longer term house, for young people working on their mental health needs. After six months in stable housing, Danielle moved to a subsidized apartment, and started college; she continued to receive independent living services and mental health counseling from Covenant House.

*stories have been modified and names have been changed to protect the identity of the youth.

Original Source: Recognizing Human Trafficking Among Homeless Youth

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