Rebekah Charleston, who now goes by “Bekah,” said receiving a full pardon from President Donald Trump is a gift.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Charleston told CBS 11. “To finally have it happen the day before Christmas Eve is just surreal. It is amazing. It means that now, nothing will hold me back anymore.”
Her name was among those named in a release Tuesday, Dec. 23, who were pardoned by President Trump.
Charleston is a sex trafficking survivor who helps other victims and has traveled across the country to share her story.
She served 13 months in federal prison after being convicted in 2006 of conspiracy to commit tax evasion.
She was trapped in a prostitution ring run out of this Denton house, which was first reported by the CBS 11 I-team’s Ginger Allen.
Charleston said inside the house, her pimp regularly beat her.
“In my case, I wasn’t guilty of tax evasion, because it wasn’t my money. I was only taking the charge out of fear of death, right out of fear of violence.”
In its announcement, the White House said the IRS case agent supported the full pardon and that “…Ms. Charleston has become a champion for survivors of all crimes, particularly sex trafficking. She obtained a master’s degree in criminal justice and has worked tirelessly to give a voice to the voiceless victims of sex trafficking…”
Charleston said, “It just makes me cry, it makes me cry to be recognized. Starting over from nothing and finding my voice along the way and getting healing for myself, but then being able to turn around and help so many other people.”