A Road Back from Walking the Streets
Even when a victim's story is heard, helping women escape prostitution is rarely easy. "I've had a lot of experience in handling this population," Pope says. "On the one hand they're the easiest, and on the other hand they're the most difficult population to deal with. They're polite. They're not difficult people ... But that being said, when you get to the sentencing phase they're a very difficult population to deal with just because they have so many issues going on."
Locally, U-M's Human Trafficking Clinic is a lifeline for victims. The first such clinic in the nation when it opened in 2009, the clinic offers a variety of services, from providing advocates in court to assisting with applications for public benefits. But Campbell says victims' needs generally go far beyond what the clinic alone can provide. "The right alternative is one that sets up a system of identification [of victims], but then sets up a system of long-term community support for that woman," Campbell says. "She may not have appropriate housing. She may be addicted to a substance because her trafficker may have gotten her addicted to that substance. She may have trouble going out and getting a job."
A "BETTER DIRECTION"