Rosita Curry is a remarkable young woman. As she walked across a Columbus, Ohio, stage to receive her high school diploma, she did so with her head held high as her class valedictorian. But just 15 months prior, Rosita was trapped in a life of slavery and abuse. Rosita's walk across that stage really began six years ago, when she was just thirteen. Her parents had died several years earlier, and she had become separated from her two brothers. Finally old enough to track down her family, she began searching for them on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. But instead of meeting them, she met an older man who bought her food, offered her a place to stay, and claimed he cared for her. Then he began to pimp her out.
While her peers were playing sports and getting excited about proms, Rosita spent her teen years addicted to drugs, sleeping in cardboard boxes, and being raped, abused, and forced to have sex by pimps and the men who paid for her. She was a victim of child sex trafficking, trapped by addiction, pimp control, and a lack of other options in life. Her life had spiraled out of control, until one rainy night, she was arrested for offering to give an undercover police officer oral sex for for $20.
Ironically, the arrest was Rosita's chance for salvation. That's because the Columbus police were able to identify her as a victim of human trafficking and set her up with social services, instead of jail time. The arresting officer called Rahab's Hideaway, a small local shelter for human-trafficking victims. Marlene Carson, the founder, met with Rosita to talk about her experiences. She set Rosita up with a place to live, got her enrolled in drug rehab, and encouraged her to enroll in a special high school for teens who have dropped out of school. With a lot of hard work, Rosita achieved something almost unthinkable 15 months prior — a high school diploma and the highest grade point average in the class.
Rosita Curry's story is one of tremendous personal triumph. But it's also one of hope for all child trafficking victims. When trafficking victims are identified as such and given help to overcome their enslavement, they can do much more than just survive after slavery. They can thrive after it.
Congratulations, Rosita, on your well-earned accomplishment.