Anger and mistrust — the very qualities that helped them survive such dangerous conditions — have put them at odds with the caseworkers and care providers who tried to help.
Then they're thrown into juvenile lockups that either don't recognize their trauma or don't have the resources to treat it. But for a brief moment, Sarah's looked promising: The system worked like it was supposed to.
Then she gave him the number of a room at a Motel 6 on Interstate 35. This was the second time in 30 days Austin police had retrieved the 16-year-old from a roadside motel.
The time she woke up disoriented after a client drugged her — and Chris told her to shake it off and take a shower. People who care for sex-trafficking victims have a common refrain: It's not if they'll run away, but when. They have to be un-brainwashed," said Angela Goodwin, the director of investigations for the Department of Family and Protective Services, the state's child welfare agency. Sometimes the most you can hope for is, the times in between runs, they'll be shorter." A crucial element of what clinicians refer to as "trauma-informed care" is helping victims build healthy, trusting relationships — ones that allow them to battle the deep shame and helplessness that trigger the impulse to flee.
A housekeeper called 911 after finding bloody towels in the bathroom.
Police discovered her with a 35-year-old man named Chris.
"We want you to feel safe," a female police officer is telling her.
"That's why Detective Watts came and found you the first time, and that's why he came right back in and got you the second time." Sarah nods.