Jamilynne Cleary (August 21, 1984 to January 11, 2011) was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia and Delaware County, where she attended Our Lady of Calvary Catholic Grade School and Archbishop Ryan High School. The eldest of seven children, she was a beautiful, happy, outgoing youth: a cheerleader and soccer player, who took part in school plays and was an honor student in the Philadelphia Catholic Schools system.
As a teen, Jamilynne fell into a life of drugs and prostitution. In the final years of her short life, she was commercially sexually exploited on the streets of the Kensington section of Philadelphia, pimped out by a man known as “Bishop.” Along with the other girls and young women in Bishop’s “stable,” she lived in her pimp’s house – where he supplied her with the drugs she needed to endure “the life.”
Not long after her 26th birthday, Jamilynne died due to a heroin overdose. Her pimp wrapped her body in a sheet and dumped her in a trash-strewn abandoned property. He literally threw her out with the trash. When she was discovered days later, rats had chewed part of her face down to the bone.
Shortly before her tragic death, Jamilynne shared her deep desire to escape from the violence and degradation of being commercially sexually exploited.
“She began planning her future and made the decision to help other girls and women out of the same situation that she was in. She wanted to be an example for others, to inspire them and give them the hope and strength to know that escaping “the life” was a real possibility for them. She wanted to help them become strong, independent women who would no longer be the victims of anyone else or their past. Jamilynne wholeheartedly believed that anyone could overcome even the worst possible situations in life, survive and become better for it.”