Samuel* is a survivor who was rescued in South America. He was rescued in an operation a little over four years ago.
*Name has been changed.
Samuel had a very difficult childhood. He grew up with an abusive father. He was also often taken advantage of by older men who using and sexually exploiting him.
After being sexually exploited for many years and an attempted intervention two years prior, Samuel was solicited by a trafficker who had been trafficking some of his friends and contacted him via Facebook. He was told to meet them in the middle of the city. From there he was taken on a boat and onto an island to be trafficked. He was terrified and scared, and he couldn’t escape.
When this rescue operation happened, Samuel saw Tim Ballard as the bad guy since he was undercover and arrested with the traffickers. It wasn’t until recently that changed.. Samuel said the day of the rescue was very hard for him, but it led to his life forever changing. He went to the aftercare home that O.U.R. partners with and this time, he decided to take advantage of every program and educational opportunity offered. Samuel stayed there for three years and did extremely well. This aftercare home does not make youth leave when they turn 18 years old, but instead provides transition programs and ongoing support.
Thanks to an aftercare home that is focused on helping survivors fulfill their individual dreams, Samuel attended hair and makeup school. He earned his license to work in cosmetology and in a salon. He is doing so well and hopes to one day travel internationally taking classes to continue learning. He’s even done Tim Ballard’s and Jessica Mass’ hair. He loves what he does and has worked hard to develop his talents and skills to be a professional.
At local hotels and restaurants, he puts up posters about human trafficking to help others know what it is, what the signs are, and what to do if you’re being exploited. He spends some of his free time helping kids on the street who are being trafficked and refers them to additional aftercare support.
He said, “I can identify it because I’ve been there. That was my life, and so I know exactly what to look for.”
Because he’s been there, Samuel also knows what to say and how to point people in a hopeful direction to find healing and hope. Fighting for others’ freedom has become part of his lifelong mission.
Samuel doesn’t have biological family to help or support him after the aftercare home, so the O.U.R. Aftercare Team followed up and asked Samuel what else we can do to support him. He said that his next dream is to learn English because he wants to open up his own business one day. He knows that in order to be able to cater to the clientele that he works with, that he needs to be able to speak English. O.U.R. is committed to survivors and is going to help put him through a two year school to learn English. He starts this October.
Your donations allow us to give this kind of support to survivors who don’t have family or who need additional support. We can genuinely tell survivors that we’re family for life, that we’re here to support and stand by them long term, and that there’s always hope. When survivors feel they truly have that kind of love and support, they are able to thrive and continue to move forward into a new life, just like Samuel has so successfully done.