Vanessa’s Story


*Trigger Warning: The following is a true story of a survivor of human trafficking. This story includes sensitive language surrounding sexual assault. Please consider this before reading further. 

At 20-years-old, Vanessa* is a survivor of sex trafficking and sexual assault.

Vanessa met with Pathfinders’ New Paths Advocates in a hospital in Milwaukee. She had experienced sexual exploitation that night and sought out emergency help and a sexual assault exam at the hospital. Vanessa’s Advocate stayed beside her during the medical exam and while she was interviewed by police, providing her emotional support, helping her explore her options, and advocating for her rights.

After that experience, Vanessa asked her Advocate to accompany her during all of the criminal justice proceedings, including testifying and sentencing, as well as the civil process of obtaining a restraining order. Vanessa's Advocate also helped her connect with a housing program and ongoing case management to meet other needs she identified.

Today, Vanessa is a strong leader and helps to train new Advocates across the community on how to provide the best services to youth who have experienced sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.

*Vanessa’s name and photo have been changed for her protection


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 Vanessa receive the help and intervention they need. Learn more about the work of Pathfinders here.

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 3.30.33 pm.png