Caught in a recurring pattern of prostitution and incarceration, they are among the most vulnerable women in the US. Yet gaps in the criminal justice system, ruthlessly exploited by sex traffickers, make escape almost impossible

Kate had spent three years behind bars at Lowell Correctional Institution, Florida’s largest women’s prison, when the letters from Richard Rawls started to arrive.

Men had written to Kate in prison before, but this time was different. Although she had never met him, Rawls made her feel special. He wrote that he’d seen her mugshot online and couldn’t stop thinking about her. Somehow aware that she was getting out soon, he offered her money, a home and unconditional love when she was released.

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