At 22 years old, Journey is a singer, songwriter, and survivor of human trafficking. With the help of organizations like Friendship Place, the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), and FAIR Girls, she is now thriving and living in her own apartment in DC.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Journey says on moving into her own place. “Because I was part of human trafficking, I was going through a very big struggle. In the housing program I was in, I had to be in by 9 p.m. and out by 7 a.m. I was grateful, but it was really hard working two jobs and not being able to come home and take a nap or deal with certain things.”
That’s when FAIR Girls connected Journey with Friendship Place. “Friendship Place helped me with the first month’s rent in my new apartment. It was a major accomplishment and a step in the right path for me. It’s liberating. It’s also a lot of responsibility. I never realized how much toilet paper costs!”
Journey, who identifies as LGBT, is focused on her future. “I’m working two jobs and trying to maintain and not revert back to the past issues that I had. I’m also trying to get back to school for mental health and social work. I also love music. I want to start my own songwriting business on the side. Also want to start my own nonprofit working in the human trafficking sector.”
Journey is already a natural advocate for the issue. “The whole reason why I got into human trafficking was I didn’t have enough money to pay my phone bill and rent. Me being a teenager, I just needed money real fast. I thought it was going to be something easy, but I ended up getting real deep. It’s not a place where any young person should be.”
“But at the end of the day, there is nothing too big or too hard that you feel you can’t go through and come out a champion. I’ve been through the bottom of the bottom, the worst of the worst, and I’m still turning out to be a pretty decent human being. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’m not saying I haven’t messed up, but there’s nothing you can’t become as long as you try. That’s all that matters.”