This team pictured above has supported hundreds of survivors of human trafficking and exploitation. They helped “Jennifer” through the difficult time of being wrongfully imprisoned and separated from her baby. You can read more about her story here.
The woman in the middle of the picture is “Mother Mary,” who has helped hundreds of women. Many women travel from Africa to the Mediterranean to find better work, but are manipulated, exploited, and abused by traffickers. Years ago, Mother Mary found herself in this situation after leaving her home country in Africa to find work in the Mediterranean. Below is an excerpt from her about her story.
“I went through a difficult situation of abuse during my time of employment and after that felt God ask me to help other women in these situations. I have helped hundreds of domestic workers in [the Mediterranean]. I help them process out of prison, help them with needs, visit them while they are in prison, and get plane tickets for them to go back to their home countries. Many of you have been an important part of this work by allowing me to get plane tickets for these women.
The women are in prison because they ran away from their “employers.” They left Africa with the understanding that they would work cleaning homes and being nannies for families. However, many of them find themselves in abusive situations: passports taken from them, not allowed to leave the home, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and no pay. Out of desperation they run away from the home. When the police pick them up off the streets, they take them to be held for not having their passports. Then I am notified, and I help them negotiate with the “employers” for the passports and help the women get plane tickets back to their countries.
Occasionally domestic workers become pregnant due to many different situations and it is a crime to be unmarried and pregnant here. I have been able to help many women get home with their babies, which is a miracle!”
Mother Mary has taught many classes in this prison and has provided invaluable emotional support to hundreds of women. We are incredibly grateful for our donors who have helped purchase plane tickets to help these brave survivors return home to their families. O.U.R. continues to support these survivors after they return home as well. O.U.R. ensures that in-country aftercare partners are there to greet them at the airport if needed. The O.U.R. Aftercare Team works with these partners to ensure that each survivor has a ride home, access to mental health therapy, a safe home to return to, vocational training, and more.
“The work [in these prisons] comes from the heart of Mother Mary,” one of our aftercare partners said. “She inspired me with her tireless work and tenacity to help the young women in prison.” The police force and government officers know Mother Mary well, and they appreciate the care that she provides for these women in need. Our partners in this area are continually growing their team and making more connections to help make positive changes in the system. Our partners added, “We could not have done this work without the support of O.U.R. Thank you for your work and support helping trafficked and abused women out of prison!”