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.