NYC

Kandake House In Harlem, A Holistic Alternative To Jail For Women, Opens

05/25/2011 03:07 pm 15:07:25 | Updated Jul 25, 2011

HARLEM - When Sandy Perez* was 9 years old, her mother's brother raped her. Afterwards she ran down to a local bar to tell her mother and instead of opening her arms her mother closed her fists and gave her a beating. Perez spent the next month and a half in the hospital.

By 11, she was a runaway in the hands of pimps and pedophiles, selling her body on the streets of New York City. At 15, she was a drug addict supporting two heroin addictions: hers and her pimps. That's the same age she started going to jail, eventually racking up more than 60 arrests, mostly for prostitution.

Latoya Payne's* story started differently but ended much the same - on Riker's Island.

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