On October 14, 2018, the above-the-fold cover story of the Sunday New York Times was an article titled “The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail,” which reported on events leading up to and following the death of a woman in November 2017. The article mentions Restore NYC and lists Chris Muller, our Director of Training & External Affairs, as a source that provided information for the story.
We feel it is important to provide clarifying statements. Neither Chris Muller nor any staff member at Restore NYC provided information about any client for the story. It is Restore NYC’s policy not to release client information nor confirm or deny the identity of a past or present client.
Nevertheless, we are deeply saddened by the story. The difficult realities that it highlights are ones that women served at Restore NYC often face. They come to New York City because it represents the land of opportunity, only to be lured into commercial sex where many are trafficked. Nearly half of the city’s residents are foreign born. Vulnerable immigrant communities remain invisible in this vast city where power, money, and sex often combine to the great exploitation of individuals with intersecting vulnerabilities. Traffickers use violence, fear, and isolation to keep victims trapped and hidden in plain sight.
Restore NYC exists so that tragic conclusions like the one in the New York Times story are not inevitable. We refuse to leave trafficking victims behind, no matter how impossible it may seem to make freedom real. We’re working hard to raise awareness and to teach community partners how to identify potential victims. In providing holistic, wrap-around services like housing, counseling, and economic empowerment, Restore NYC empowers women with a way forward.
We know that the New York Times story is sobering and heartbreaking. But we want all of our supporters to know that despite the darkness, we see light. With every new volunteer, donor, business partner, and graduate, we know this truth more and more: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”