“You’re not pretty enough for the handcuffs.” Niaja hysterically cried as she recounted the days she spent locked in a john’s basement while I had been looking for her on the streets. At the time, Niaja was categorized as a sex worker who “wanted” to be selling her body. The raw truth is that Niaja was exhausted from “the life” and had been looking for a way out. As she describes it, “this preppy white girl” (me) quickly built trust with her on the street, and she was ready for a different life. My offer was simple. I committed to treat her like a human being, get her connected to substance use treatment, and I assured her that she didn’t have to do it alone.
Baltimore Needs Strong, Imaginative Leaders Who Understand the Challenges of Women on the Margins
March 9, 2022