Proposition 35

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Fighting Human Trafficking at Heart of Prop. 35, But Opponents Point to Flaws

By Amy Isackson

Daphne Phung addresses Prop. 35 supporters at a fundraising walk in San Diego. (Photo: Amy Isackson)

Daphne Phung addresses Prop. 35 supporters at a fundraising walk in San Diego. (Photo: Amy Isackson)

As Carissa Phelps got ready for a five kilometer walk to support Proposition 35 one recent Saturday afternoon, she looked out at the San Diego Bay and remembered what led her to walk the streets as a 12-year-old prostitute. “When my step-dad propositioned my sister who was turning 18 to … sell her virginity for her to someone,” she said.

After that she says she dropped out of seventh grade in Coalinga, near Fresno, and ran away. She soon met a pimp named Icey.

Phelps says he seemed nice and offered her a place when she had nowhere else to stay. “All of your friends at school are gone. All of your siblings are gone. Your bike is gone,” she described. “Your clothes are gone and so, you just feel like you’re trash. You eat out of the trash. You beg for a box of macaroni and cheese.”

One night with Icey turned into 10. And so began a criminal life that would take Phelps three years to escape.

It’s stories like Phelps’ that inspired Daphne Phung to quit her job as a corporate accountant and sink her life savings into crafting and supporting Prop. 35. Continue reading