Sex-trafficking victim pushes for passage of legal relief bill

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A sex-trafficking victim is sharing her story in support of a new bill that would make it easier for human-trafficking victims to re-join society.

Stacey is a working, single mother to two girls. She has a steady income, a house and supports her and her family. But getting a job and a home was nearly impossible because of her past.

It’s Wednesday evening, and Stacey just got off work.

“I’m always so excited,” Stacey said. “When I get home.”

It’s any family’s typical evening routine. Something many of us might take for granted. However, Stacey is cherishing every second.

“I literally dreamed of this,” Stacey said. “The whole time I was locked up.”

Stacey served 5 years in prison for burglarizing a home. A felony she committed at a time when she was being sold for sex by her boyfriend.

“He would threaten me,” Stacey said. “Threaten my kids.”

Out of fear of retaliation, Stacy has asked us not use her last name or show her face.

“I was sexually-abused,” Stacey said. “From the time I was a child up until I almost left the house.”

That was the beginning of a downward spiral. Eventually she turned to drugs, prostitution and ultimately found herself in prison.

However, prison is where she had a major turning point. She got therapy, job training and eventually was offered a job.

“I got offered a job in prison,” Stacey said. “I stuck with them and I have been with them for over 2 years.”

Stacey says she was one of the lucky ones. After getting out, she tried to find a home, but says her felony followed.

“I probably had,” Stacey said. “20 no’s.”

Stacey is pushing for Ohio lawmakers to pass a new bill, which would make it possible for her to apply to have her felony washed from her record.

“This bill,” Oasis House Executive Director Cheryl Oliver said. “Would allow women to have a fresh start.”

“We want these victims,” Ohio State Representative Niraj Antani said. “To have a second chance at life.”

8-year-old Elizabeth and 17-year-old Christine are now back in the custody of their mother.

“I’m glad,” Christine said. “That she changed her life around.”

Christine is a soon to be senior in high school with a 4.0 GPA, college credit under her belt and dreams of being an accountant.

“I never thought I would get to this day,” Stacey said. “But, it really happened for me and it’s amazing.”

The bill was has been passed in the Senate and it’s now in the House awaiting a vote. If passed there it will go on to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

 

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