I've been doing research for my novel The City's Allee - and admit, it's depressing. Allee, the main character, is very active in my mind. When I first wake at 5:30 am, she usually presents herself in a situation. The other morning, I imagined her looking at her cheap flip phone, wishing she could afford an i-phone. That's when I realized the cell phone will be an important part in the development of the sex-trafficking aspect of my story. Don't worry, I'm not crazy, it's all part of the creative process; I'm well aware Allee is a figment of my imagination.
Covenant House has stories (names are changed) of the kids they help. Closer to home, I found Jeffrey Stockbridge, ablogger, photographer and writerwho,three years ago, took to Kensington's drug/prostitution area. It's heavy stuff, so I pace myself. Why do I read about the life behind the prostitution and addiction? As I write The City's Allee, it's important for me to be true to the girls. By reading their stories, they come to life and sit at the table with me as I write. I'm writing for them and they're writing with me.
Here is a Philadelphia article about how manipulative traffickers are. Police officers have a hard time getting vulnerable women/kids to press charges against their abusers.
If their stories are depressing to read, can you imagine what it's like to live?