Neet’s Sweets: Human trafficking survivor and Entrepreneur bakes to make a difference
WASHINGTON, DC, May 23, 2012 – Meet Antonia “Neet” Childs, Founder and Executive Director of Neet’s Sweets Incorporated in Charlotte, North Carolina. Neet, a survivor of human trafficking, discusses the difficulties and rewards to being a young entrepreneur:
“[I thank] God for this day, as well as every day, that I can continue to keep fighting and pushing [for] my dream. As I embrace 27, I think about what it has [taken] for me to get to this point…I am not even supposed to be here. Just being a young black woman starting a business is tough, so I am forever grateful that I am able to use my past as my strength to inspire others to use theirs, because that’s what it’s about.”
Neet says she dreamed of having her own bakery ever since she was a little girl. Neet’s Aunt Koona owned a catering business and, as a child, Neet followed her around the kitchen.
“It fascinated me,” Neet said, “to see her so passionate about making dishes that left everyone smiling, including me.”
Neet says she was captivated not only by her aunt’s cooking and baking but also by the fact that she owned her own business. Neet and her sister lived in upstate New York where their mother struggled to provide for them.
“My mom worked hard to take care of us,” Neet said, “and I always felt like I needed to help and support her.”
Living in a low-income, single-parent family, Neet was at-risk for exploitation and abuse. After moving to North Carolina as a teenager, Neet’s vulnerability was recognized by a 38-year-old man. This man befriended Neet and began to shower her with gifts. Having grown up without a father, Neet naturally craved the attention. One day, the man asked Neet for a favor…a favor which eventually and ultimately led Neet to be recruited and trafficked through an escort service. In a recent interview, Neet said she felt “controlled and trapped.” Neet’s dreams of owning her own bakery began to fade away.
- Human trafficking along the Grand Strand (traffickinginsc.wordpress.com)
- Human Trafficking: One of the Fastest Growing Crimes – Blog: Walk the Talk (wilmingtonfavs.com)