"Exploitation Does Not Discriminate"

A straight-A student from a “good home”, there was no way I should have been exploited. My stepdad and I got into a fight and he threw me out of the house. Throwing me out of the house was like throwing me to a pack of wolves. I’d been sheltered all my life and I thought everyone had my best interest at heart; now looking back, I see their ulterior motives.

While hanging out with some friends, I met these guys who seemed fun and interesting. After a few nights of hanging out with them, they convinced me to go out of state to finish a music video we had started days before.

The guys, three girls, and I arrived at a hotel and that’s when the plans changed. Instead of finishing the video, they wanted to sell us. I did not want any part of this, but I had to go along with it because I was out of state, had no phone, no money, and no one who would be willing to pick me up without giving me the lecture of my life, which I thought I could live without.

Around 11PM that night a call came in from a “John” who saw the pictures that the pimps posted of me on Backpage. Here I was in a room filled with people who I thought cared about me and who I had put my trust in, but they were nothing but a pack of wolves looking for a come up – to make money on me.

As we drove up to the “John’s” house, the pimps called him to come out. The “John” told me he was a cop. I later found out that he wasn’t. He told me that I could be arrested and asked me if this was my first time doing this. I knew my mother would kill me if she found out what I was doing, and that none of the colleges that I was applying to would accept me if they looked up my record and saw that I was arrested – let alone for prostitution. “Officer John” said that he was going to take me inside to question me. He forced me to have sex with him. I was thinking of my future and how I wanted to be someone other than a convict.

After he was finished, I got dressed as quickly as I could and ran back to the place where the pimps had parked the car; they were nowhere to be found. I just wanted to go home. After an hour of flagging down cars, I gave up all hope. I lay down on a stonewall and closed my eyes. The image that popped into my head was a breaking news report saying that they had found my body in the middle of nowhere. I saw my little brother asking where I was. With that I opened my eyes and was determined to get home by any means necessary. I hitchhiked and was raped twice during my journey.

When I finally made it home, my aunt called the police. I did not want to talk to them because I didn’t want to be a “snitch.” My aunt and my boyfriend at the time convinced me to talk to the police officers, saying that it was the right thing to do since the pimps left me stranded and I had to risk my life to get back. I just wanted to sleep and make all of this seem like a dream, but that wasn’t an option. The officers called an ambulance to take me to the hospital to do a rape kit.

In the hospital I was interviewed and interrogated by doctors, nurses, social workers, detectives and Homeland Security. They had me repeat my story countless times.

About a month and a half after I was exploited, I met with my mentor from My Life My Choice. Latiana reassured me that what happened wasn’t my fault and it should not hinder me from being successful in life. I was finally ready to get my life back together, but it was easier said than done. Latiana helped me by always being there for me, and reassuring me that things could and would get better. In March my college acceptance letters came in; I had gotten into seven of the ten schools I applied to. I felt as though I had a second chance in life.

I could have let being raped and exploited define me, but instead I am a sophomore in college working toward a major in English and communications. It does not matter if you have straight-As or straight Fs, if your parents are strict or lenient, exploitation does not discriminate.


*Name has been changed to protect mentee's identity.

Phyllis Kido