I didn't know anyone at school, so I turned to the Internet for people to talk to.
They then worked with other representatives and senators to create Senate Bill 8, which became the Safe Harbor/Rachel's Law Act, and Senate Resolution 7.
The Safe Harbor/Rachel's Law Act ensures that victims of child sex trafficking and exploitation are treated as victims, not arrested and charged for the crimes committed against them.
I didn't care that he was in his 30s, because he made me feel special and comfortable — it just felt right. We picked up a girl and another guy at the Greyhound Station before leaving town. I woke up at one point and heard my boyfriend and the girl we picked up whispering in the front seat. " She couldn't believe I went all the way there, but she didn't seem upset since I said I was with friends. Once I asked what she was doing, but she didn't answer me.
So, after talking for a few months online, he asked me if I wanted to meet for the first time and go to South Beach, Florida for Memorial Weekend. He said he'd pay for everything, no problem, so we made plans for him to pick me up from at my house one morning around 3 a.m., while my mom was asleep. When she noticed I was awake, she turned around and told me how fun South Beach was, how she knew so many people there, and how they took trips down there often. For the first time, it hit me that I was going out of state with near-strangers and might not come back. After we got to our hotel, my boyfriend left me with the woman from the front seat, who I later learned was his ex-girlfriend. One guy complimented me on my eyes, and she asked me to flirt with him.
Then she took money from them and said we could leave. She walked off to another hotel to "make more money," and I was desperate to find my boyfriend so that he could help me.
I didn't know where our hotel was, but somehow I found my way back there. He told me she was crazy, money-hungry, and a little "off" because she took pills. "I know you made more." He accused her of lying about how much she'd made so she could keep more for herself.
I did well in school, was on the track, basketball, and swimming teams, and pretty popular.
But after I moved from Iowa to Georgia at age 17, I felt alone for the first time.
At first, it was nothing serious; we bonded over a common interest in hip-hop music and both liked Jay-Z. " I was determined to get there; I had never been before but I'd seen it on TV and heard people talk about it.
He was easy to talk to, understanding of my feelings, and a good listener. He popped the trunk for my bag, and I got into the car. Plus, I didn't have to pay for anything, so what better way was there to experience South Beach?
One day, the resource center held a group discussion on the topic of courage.