Mimi was 15. She was sweet, funny, adorable and outspoken. Mimi was new to the One Girl at a Time program in Sun Valley, California.

During one of the meetings last year, Angel Covarrubias the program leader and her team, spoke to the girls about dreams and goals. Mimi raised her hand and shared that her mom told her to never have dreams or goals. Her mom thought they were silly.

Angel then asked Mimi what she wanted to do and she said she’d like to be an actress. Angel’s team spoke about the importance of overcoming obstacles that often get in the way of accomplishing what they most desire and doing whatever it takes, offering a new perspective to Mimi about the power and purpose of having dreams and setting goals.

Mimi attended the bimonthly meetings another three or four times and then wasn’t at the group again. Later, Angel learned that Mimi had stopped going to school altogether.  The program continued through the rest of the school year without Mimi in it.

In the fall of 2016, Angel learned that Mimi had been working as a prostitute. She had become a ward of the court (a minor who has an appointed guardian such as a governmental agency for the minor’s protection) and had been put in a home because she was a “sexually exploited victim”.

Angel then learned that Mimi was killed in July of this year, run over by a hit and run driver who police suspected might have been her pimp or an upset customer. She is just one unfortunate example of the many girls who have fallen prey to sex trafficking. This epidemic is wide spread, on the rise throughout the world and in our backyards.

The Women Like Us Foundation is on a mission to eradicate sex trafficking by promoting prevention and awareness. Unfortunately Mimi was lost to this horrific problem but her story only strengthens the foundation’s mission to eliminate it, making it their top priority for 2017.

The teen girl mentoring program One Girl at a Time is one of the best ways the foundation is educating young women on sex trafficking and how to recognize recruitment tactics. The program also emphasizes the value of living purposefully while teaching life skills and promoting leadership, offering the girls healthy alternatives to live with hope and intention in the face of difficult circumstances.

Additionally the foundation is driving awareness through their documentary, outreach and events, and funding women led organizations that promote education.

To learn more about how the Women Like Us Foundation is fighting sex trafficking, go to http://www.womenlikeusfoundation.org/sex-trafficking

To donate: http://www.womenlikeusfoundation.org/donate/  

or TEXT DONATE TO 323-244-4234

Blog author Molly Lyda, MA is a Life Coach and Therapist in Los Angeles, who supports women in finding balance and purpose in their lives through her program Intimacy 101: Create the Life You Want. She enjoys volunteering with the Women Like Us Foundation and working to make a difference in women’s lives. www.MollyLyda.com