Since 2015, over 450 girls at Brittany's Place received support for being sex trafficked.
Carla was one of these young women.
One afternoon, Carla made a hurried call, fearing for her life. For the past year she’d been sexually trafficked and trying to survive. She needed help getting out.
Born to a mother with HIV and struggling with drug addiction, 17-year-old Carla had experienced a lifetime of poverty and trauma, including the devastating death of her brother. Even still, when a social worker planned to remove Carla from the home, she fled.
With temperatures dropping and no place to go, it was hard to refuse an offer to move in with Ann - a woman she met one night. However, it soon became obvious the housing was not free.
Carla was soon being trafficked around the Twin Cities and emotionally abused.
That’s when Carla made the call to Brittany’s Place, 180 Degrees’ emergency shelter for youth who are at risk of or experiencing sexual exploitation. Carla describes the day she arrived. “I was scared. My anxiety was going through the roof. But I knew my life had a purpose and this was my last chance.”
Carla was welcomed and offered food, water, and clean clothes. That evening, she slept in a private room and for the first time in her life. She finally felt safe.
Gradually, Carla started to trust a few people at Brittany's Place. Ms. Adelaide shampooed and braided her hair. Rhonda, the educator, encouraged her to give school another chance. The peer support groups helped make positive, healing connections with others in the program.
After nine months at Brittany’s Place, and with help from a Case Manager, Carla secured supportive housing in Minneapolis, starting her new chapter.
Now, she's living independently, going to work, and has access to counseling services and other crucial resources.