As a newly single mother who had just left a toxic relationship, Tyrina moved across the country in order to find financial stability and was introduced to prostitution by a woman who had created an “ad” for her when she was unable to find work and was desperate to provide for herself and her daughter. Her vulnerability left her powerless and in perpetual danger and discomfort. Although she now had financial security, she and her daughter’s safety was now at risk. She knew something needed to change.
Tyrina was afraid of being alone and again found herself in a dangerous relationship with a man who convinced her that if she became a prostitute, he would help provide for her and her child. He also helped teach her how to advertise herself and her appearance better in a way that attracted more customers and ultimately brought in more money. Her relationship although comfortable at first transitioned into a toxic, controlling, and manipulative one always with strings attached –- not far off from exploitation.
Luckily, Tyrina was able to escape trafficking as well as the relationship she had with her trafficker. However, because she no longer had a steady income, she began struggling again to find a job that would provide sufficiently enough for both her and her daughter. Tyrina found herself turning to illegal side jobs just to make ends meet.
It was when Tyrina had grown tired of constantly being in an unhealthy mix of “doing both right and wrong,” that she turned to Not For Sale’s Bay Area program where she met the project director, Darian. Darian acted as Tyrina’s counselor through encouraging her to do better for herself and her daughter as well as provided the resources for her to do so; from job training and support, to representing her in court, Darian and Tyrina’s relationship has extended two years and will last many more. Tyrina viewed the program as a safe haven for women, and she began bringing in other survivors who she knew felt stuck and needed help.
Today, with Not For Sale’s help, Tyrina has a steady job and is able to independently provide for her and her daughter. She has discovered through the Not For Sale program that she has a passion for helping people, specifically those who have been in similar situations to her own and hopes to one day attend school to become a counselor.
“I’m an example that no one is perfect. Change doesn’t happen overnight. You have to take the steps to be better. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, and I’ve done great things. It’s about bettering myself and striving to be better,” Tyrina said.
Not For Sale is proud of Tyrina’s strength and drive that enabled her to rise above her circumstances. Tyrina is a great role model not only to her daughter, but to women everywhere.