Mia's Story


Mia was a teen girl in Milwaukee who had endured years of abuse in her home environment. Mia, a strong and independent young woman, knew that she wasn’t safe at home. So, at 16 years old, she ran away from home to find an environment where she could live without fear of violence and physical harm.

Mia met an older man who gave her a place to stay. He offered her a roof over her head and transportation that she needed. But as she came to stay with him, he manipulated her into having sex for money, turning violent when she resisted.  

Mia came to Pathfinders’ New Paths program on her doctor’s recommendation. Her health care providers saw warning signs of commercial sexual exploitation and knew she needed specialized resources. At Pathfinders, Mia felt safe and supported.

Mia worked with Pathfinders’ Advocates and Case Managers to secure safe and stable housing – her housing needs were fundamentally linked with the sexual exploitation she experienced. Pathfinders sees that nearly 80% of young people who have experienced sex trafficking also are experiencing homelessness. She also worked with her support team to enroll in an employment program and secure new sources of income. Pathfinders’ Advocates and Case Managers helped Mia understand her rights, replace her identifying documents, develop a safety plan, connect with legal resources to begin to clear her criminal charges, and take care of her physical health through clinics she trusted.

Throughout it all, Mia was an incredibly strong advocate for herself and surrounded herself with support to help her achieve her goals. In reflecting on her experience, Mia shares today, “Because of Pathfinders, I feel stronger. Thank you for standing alongside me and not making me be alone through everything.”  


We partner with Pathfinders to help fund their New Paths program, which houses their sex trafficking services and advocacy resources for children and youth in Milwaukee. Your advocacy and financial support of Dressember ensures that more young girls like Mia receive the help and intervention they need. Learn more about the work of Pathfinders here.

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