How Sex-Trafficking Survivors Are Locked Out of Victim Funds

Deborah Pembrook doesnt remember exactly when she was first sex-trafficked, but she knows it was earlythe images of abuse collide in her brain with images of childhood crayons and stuffed animals. When she finally escaped, she was 17 years old and all alone. Her earnings had gone to her trafficker, so she had no savings, and she was forced to move to another state, so she had no family or safety net. And because of the laws in Californiathe state where she eventually settled, to disappear among tourists on the crowded beaches of Santa Cruzshe had no way of getting what she really needed: cash. Throughout the United States, thousands of human-trafficking survivors are struggling to make up for the …