At 15-years old, Sarah* had already moved between a handful of New York City’s foster care agencies. She was a victim of sex trafficking, an illicit industry that disproportionately targets children in the child welfare system. Sarah was a smart and affectionate girl who melted whenever she saw a dog and often carried around a small, well-worn stuffed bear.
When Sarah ran away from foster care, she swapped out her small, beloved bear for an oversized one. She carried her head high and shoulders broad as if she had something to prove, and wrapped her arms around the enormous teddy bear in front of her. With black lipstick, heavy eyeliner and risqué clothes, Sarah was unstoppable. Not even an encounter with her favorite dog could deter her.