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Survivor Story: Susie

OUR Rescue
Posted by OUR Rescue
Published on May 8, 2023
2 min read

Susie supported herself financially by braiding hair. She went door to door selling her services to locals in her hometown in East Africa. She had been toiling away in her small hometown, feeling trapped by circumstances that she couldn’t control. That’s when a chance encounter with a European man changed everything -he offered an incredible job opportunity in Asia.  “It’ll be a really good job.”  “It will pay you well.” “Do you want it?” Without hesitation, she accepted it; but soon realized this was too good to be true… 

Susie’s will and strength of spirit persevered despite a horrific experience. Against all odds, she overcame the exploitation inflicted upon her by traveling to Asia with an evil man determined on profiting from her suffering. He raped and trafficked her in his own makeshift brothel-he set up an apartment where men came in and out to exploit her; yet somehow, after many attempts at escape – no matter how much he had taken away – Susie eventually succeeded in freeing herself from this nightmarish reality. 

The trafficker lost all contact with Susie. She was alone in a country where she didn’t speak the local language and was afraid she would be arrested, as she did not have a valid visa or work permit. She didn’t even know she had been trafficked, so seeking help wasn’t a possibility for her.  

Susie tried to make money to survive. She began braiding hair again and doing other odd jobs. But she was terrified. If she was caught by authorities, she didn’t know what would happen with immigration. 

Susie became extremely sick. She had unknowingly contracted HIV and tuberculosis during her exploitation and was losing weight rapidly. Her blood levels even indicated AIDS. But Susie didn’t know any of this. She was sick and alone. 

Despite the odds, an O.U.R Operator in Asia received a tip about Susie and followed a steadfast trail of hope that uncovered her story: she was trafficked and needed urgent help.  Upon learning this, the O.U.R. Aftercare Team quickly contacted her, only to discover she could barely speak due to a severe cough. They stood by her side with compassion as medical care revealed the gravity of it all: HIV diagnosis which requires life-long medication for survival. However, bravely resilient, their assurance enabled them to create a treatment plan so Susie never had to walk alone again. 

Susie has gained 15 kg back and her immune system is recovering. She has continued to receive support and she is now home. 

Susie’s story began in East Africa and crossed three different national borders before she ever made it back home. International collaboration is essential to truly combat trafficking.  

This is a transnational crime. We cannot do this alone. O.U.R.’s international presence makes it possible for survivors like Susie who don’t know where to turn to get help.

– O.U.R. Team Member