Imagine being 15 years old sitting in court where you believe that you are finally going to be heard, rescued, and finally given the justice you deserve. But, instead you find yourself being locked up behind prison bars. You have just experienced double victimization; when a person is first victimized by a trafficker or purchaser, and secondly victimized by the judicial system by being sentenced to jail for being a victim. This is a great injustice where victims are seen as criminals.
Some of the many girls who have experienced this tragic outcome are Delicia Carmichael, Keiana Aldrich, Chrystul Kizer, and Zephi Trevino. Delicia was 15 when she was arrested for committing a crime that her trafficker forced her to commit. She was charged as an adult and sentenced to 20 years in prison, while her trafficker, who was 19 at the time, was sentenced only 15 years. Keiana was 17 years old when she was arrested for committing a crime that her trafficker forced her to commit. She was charged as an adult and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison. However, neither of the men who attempted to solicit her were charged.
Chrystul was 17 years old when she was arrested for killing her trafficker in self-defense. She spent two years in prison awaiting her trial. Although she was released on bond, she still faces charges that could carry a sentence of life in prison. Zephi was 16 years old when she was arrested for being present during a crime her trafficker committed. Her trial has not taken place yet, but the judge stated that she will be tried as an adult for a murder she did not commit.
We believe these victims should not have spent even one day in jail, much less, years. Our hope is that you will know their names, say their names, and do all that is within your power to help them and prevent double victimization. Click here to read more about each of these women’s stories.