Vednita Carter

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Vednita Carter
  • Author
  • activist
Years active1996–present
TitleFounder and executive director of Breaking Free

Vednita Carter is an American anti-prostitution activist, author, and executive director of the "Breaking Free" organization which helps women in prostitution.


Before beginning a career as an anti-prostitution activist, Carter, from Twin Cities, Minnesota, was a stripper.[1][2] In 1989, Carter began to work with women in prostitution in Minnesota at a different agency, which later closed, and became program director.[3] In 1996,[4] Carter founded Breaking Free, an organization that aids girls and women in exiting prostitution.[5] She subsequently became this organization's executive director,[6] and the program expanded to offer more support, including: "emergency services such as food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance, legal assistance to victims of trafficking".[3] By 1998, the organization rented an apartment block to permanently re-house women and girls, and by 2010, they had more apartments and three "transitional houses".[3] In 2015, the housing block named "Jerry's Place", after Sgt. Gerald Vick, was closed due to funding issues.[7]

In their book Juvenile Justice: Advancing Research, Policy, and Practice, Francine Sherman and Francine Jacobs call Carter "a leading service provider for exploited women and girls".[8]

Carter has been published in Hastings Women's Law Journal,[9] the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, and the Journal of Trauma Practice.[10] Carter contributed the piece "Prostitution = Slavery" to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.[11]


Carter won the 2010 Survivor Centered-Service Provider category from the Norma Hotaling Award.[3] Carter was one of six women granted the Women of Distinction award by Century College in 2012.[12]

Selected bibliography[edit]

I know that working with women and girls who have been used in prostitution/trafficking is my destiny in this life. ... it is what I am meant to do. When I think about the millions of women and children throughout the world who are exploited and have no other options to change the course of their life, I feel compelled to do all that I can do to help them in some way.

—Vednita Carter explaining her motivations for her work[3]

Chapters in books[edit]

  • Carter, Vednita (2003). "Prostitution = Slavery". In Morgan, Robin (ed.). Sisterhood is forever: the women's anthology for a new millennium. New York, New York: Washington Square Press. pp. 315–324. ISBN 9780743466271. Details.
  • Carter, Vednita (2004). "Prostitution and the new slavery". In Whisnant, Rebecca; Stark, Christine (eds.). Not for sale: feminists resisting prostitution and pornography. North Melbourne, Victoria: Spinifex Press. pp. 85–88. ISBN 9781876756499.
  • Carter, Vednita (2004). "Providing services to African American prostituted women". In Farley, Melissa (ed.). Prostitution, trafficking and traumatic stress. Binghamton, New York: Haworth Maltreatment & Trauma Press. pp. 213–222. ISBN 9781136764905. Pdf.
  • Carter, Vednita; Giobbe, Evelina (2006). "Duet: prostitution, racism and feminist discourse". In Spector, Jessica (ed.). Prostitution and pornography: philosophical debate about the sex industry. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. pp. 17–39. ISBN 9780804749381.

Journal articles[edit]


  1. ^ Williamson, Celia (2008), "Abolitionist approach to prostitution (present-day advocates)", in Renzetti, Claire M.; Edleson, Jeffrey L. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence, 1, Sage Publications, p. 2, ISBN 9781412918008.
  2. ^ Sher, Julian (2011), "High-risk victims", in Sher, Julian (ed.), Somebody's daughter: the hidden story of America's prostituted children and the battle to save them, Chicago: Chicago Review Press, p. 36, ISBN 9781569765654, Vednita Carter, an African American stripper turned activist ...
  3. ^ a b c d e "2010 Norma Hotaling Award Recipients". Global Centurion. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  4. ^ Coolidge, Sharon (18 August 2006). "Out of 'the life,' they learn to live". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  5. ^ Budig, Susan (27 October 2007). "Prostitution: Should it remain a crime?". Twin Cities Daily Planet. Twin Cities Media Alliance. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  6. ^ Baran, Madeleine (27 October 2009). "Group holding vigil to remember victims of prostitution-related violence". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  7. ^ Norfleet, Nicole (11 February 2015). "Breaking Free to close Jerry's Place housing for trafficked girls". Star Tribune. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  8. ^ Sherman, Francine T.; Goldblatt Grace, Lisa (2011), "The system response to the commercial sexual exploitation of girls", in Sherman, Francine T.; Jacobs, Francine H. (eds.), Juvenile justice: advancing research, policy, and practice, Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, p. 336, ISBN 9780470497043.
  9. ^ Belles, Nita (2011), "What's love got to do with it? Absolutely nothing!", in Belles, Nita (ed.), In our backyard: a Christian perspective on human trafficking in the United States, Nashville, Tennessee: Free River Press, p. 117, ISBN 9780615451800.
  10. ^ Dismantling Rape Culture Conference. "2013 Keynote Speaker: Vednita Carter founder and executive director of Breaking Free: "Sex trafficking/prostitution, racism and slavery"". University of Vermont. Archived from the original on 10 October 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  11. ^ Carter, Vednita (2003), "Prostitution = Slavery", in Morgan, Robin (ed.), Sisterhood is forever: the women's anthology for a new millennium, New York, New York: Washington Square Press, pp. 315–324, ISBN 9780743466271. Details.
  12. ^ Livingstone, Nancy (16 November 2012). News release: Century names women of distinction for 2012 (PDF). Minnesota: Century College. Retrieved 9 October 2013.