Milly, 18

 
Milly was born with developmental delays and has a speech impediment. Her mother had always been supportive and loving until she learned that Milly was attracted to girls. Milly was unable to lie to her mom and each time her mom asked her if she still liked girls, she would tell the truth. She would argue with her mom, telling her that god made her this way, which would enrage her mother. Her mom would respond saying the devil was the one that made her gay.
 
Milly's mother said hateful and abusive things about being a lesbian, and told Milly that she was "disgusting". Milly never felt that she was disgusting.
 
One day Milly's mom told her she was going to find a man for her to marry because she needed a man to "straighten" her out. Milly was terrified. She was afraid of men. Her father, an alcoholic, was abusive to her and her mother. Her mother's threat was all Milly could think about.
 
Milly worked on a plan to run away from home. Milly went on a dating website for women where she confided in the first person she met about her troubles at home. Unfortunately for Milly, that person was a predator who targets young girls.
 
Milly was forced into drug abuse and sex work.
 
Sex trafficking is a reality in our society. Milly is one of thousands of homeless youth throughout our country whose desperation becomes exploited. AFC has programs and designated shelter beds to help victims of trafficking. We have specially trained staff who conduct online and street outreach which is how we found Milly and helped her escape the horrific world she was forced into.
 
Within hours of arriving at our Drop In Center in Harlem Milly was connected to medical and mental healthcare at our on-site medical clinic. We had a bed ready for her at one of our 13 shelter sites and we immediately began to work on a longer term supportive housing program for her.
 
Milly is healing. In spite of what she's been through she is always smiling. Milly wants to become a police officer to arrest all the bad people she encountered on the streets.
 
Milly is one of the thousands of youth forced out of their homes due to their LGBT identity and the prevailing homophobic and transphobic rhetoric in our country. Tragically since the beginning of the 2016 presidential election AFC has seen a 20%  increase in the number of youth in need of our care and support services, we fear this is only the beginning. This holiday season, more than ever, we ask you to help us provide for our homeless LGBT youth.