Lynch Foundation for Children takes aim at human trafficking

By MICHAEL J. WILLIAMS | La Jolla Light

Carissa Phelps was riding in the backseat of a white Pinto driven by the pimp who had forced her into childhood prostitution. Another sex trafficker rode shotgun.

That’s when she had a realization, the author of “Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets,” told the audience at a fundraising luncheon held Sept. 6 in Fairbanks Ranch .

“I was being taken to be murdered,” she said, describing the paralyzing hopelessness she felt.

“At the age of 12, I was thinking, this was it,” said Phelps, the keynote speaker for the Lynch Foundation for Children’s inaugural Circle of Hope Founders’ Luncheon.

Miraculously for Phelps, a police patrolman pulled the Pinto over and arrested her along with the other occupants. She was taken to Fresno’s juvenile hall and eventually placed in yet another of the many group foster homes that the perpetual runaway had experienced.

Though her progress was slow and sometimes emotionally painful, Phelps began to stabilize and pursue her education. That led ultimately to a law degree and MBA from UCLA, she told the crowd of several dozen attendees.

Mike Foster