Marie, Cora, and Jadyn* (names have been changed) were falsely promised that there were jobs in the hospitality industry waiting for them in a country far away. When they got off of the airplane, their passports were taken and they were told that the hospitality jobs were no longer available.
The three girls were told they had to go work in the red light district to earn the money spent to get them there. This is also known as “debt bondage.” It’s a debt that likely can never be paid, as interest acquires day-by-day.
At this point the girls have the option of being sold multiple times a day and being sexually exploited, or if they refuse, being beaten nightly. Marie and Cora were forced into sexual slavery. Jadyn refused and therefore was beaten every night.
Every operation is different, but here’s how this rescue occurred:
- Operation Underground Railroad supported an undercover investigation trafficking situation in Southeast Asia.
- An undercover operator discovered Cora crying at a table in the red light district. The undercover operator asked her if she was okay, and Cora shared that she had been tricked into coming to Southeast Asia from Africa under the false pretense of a job in the hospitality industry.
- O.U.R. collaborated with local law enforcement to rescue Marie, Cora and Jadyn. The girls were ensured they would not be charged as prostitutes.
- O.U.R. rented transitional housing to keep the girls safe.
- The girls were asked if they would be safe if they returned to their home country. They confirmed that they would be safe at home and wanted to return.
Following the rescue is the aftercare process, which can span several years and even a lifetime. Here’s a look at the aftercare process:
- The first step is providing survivors with airfare back to their home country. Our Aftercare team goes to their home country to establish wholistic services upon their arrival. For example, someone is needed to meet them at the airport to provide transportation.
- Counseling services are set up to help survivors process their trauma.
- Medical services are provided.
- Educational opportunities are looked into and pursued.
- Vocational training opportunities are presented so that survivors have a way to make a livable income.
Marie, Cora and Jadyn were considered adults upon their return, but barely over the age of 18. When someone is 18 years old or older, they decide if they want to receive aftercare services. Many do, but some want to put their traumatic experience as far back in their memory as possible. Our goal along with the aftercare homes and services we partner with is to give survivors every opportunity possible to heal and succeed.
When our Director of Aftercare, Jessica, met with Marie in her home country, Marie expressed her deep love for her son. She knew that giving him a life free from exploitation would require her to make a livable income. She expressed that she wasn’t sure how she would be able to do that due to not having an education. However, when we let her know about an incredible culinary vocational training program, Marie’s eyes lit up with hope!
The expected questions came after this: How would I get there? How would I pay rent and provide a roof over my son’s head? Would I really have a job after completing the program? What if they found out about what I went through and thought less of me?
These are all valid questions and ones that we face daily in the long journey in aftercare for survivors. We had answers for each of these questions.
Answers: We will personally help you get there. Your rent will be covered and your son will be able to go to school. There is over a 90% success rate of girls finding jobs after completing this program, and you will have a personal mentor with you the whole time. What you choose to share with your peers is up to you, but the history of what you have been through will never be revealed.
Together with our incredible partners and your generous donations, we can provide survivors with many opportunities to heal, succeed, and experience real life. We are so grateful for our generous supporters who help to make each survivor’s rescue and aftercare process thorough and tailored to their situation.
What can YOU Do?
By simply donating $10 a month, you are part of thousands of monthly donors who contribute to 35% of our aftercare and operational costs.
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