Shanifa Bennett was 17 years old when she was trafficked in New York City after moving from Texas with her family. Wanting to contribute financially to her household, Ms. Bennett worked in prostitution at night while going to school during the day. She made a conscious decision that prostitution was not going to be her last stop, holding on to the fact that she came from a stable home life before the relocation to New York City, which gave her a foundation to rest upon.
“Being in ‘the life’ doesn’t determine who you are or your future. You do that yourself, not your past. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Being in ‘the life’ isn’t a final destination and doesn’t define you. It is not your last mark. Life after this is there for you if you can take action.”