She was living under bridges in San Antonio, Texas, the past year of her life a haze of heroin and selling sex to pay for more heroin.
It wasn't until she ran from a hotel, clenching the pants of a nearly 60-year-old man who paid to have sex with her, that she ended up in the system. She was arrested for the theft of her solicitor's pants, even though he admitted to police that he hired her to have sex with him.
She was 16. He walked away with no charges.
Her case was the first one of its kind to come across Kirsta Melton's desk. Melton, then the Bexar County assistant district attorney and now an assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, had appealed to her supervisor a year earlier to begin handling the district's human trafficking cases in addition to her caseload of family and domestic violence cases.
"It's totally traumatic," Melton said of taking on her first human trafficking cases. "But my way of dealing with that is always what I believe. I believe that God placed me in that position, at that time, for that moment."