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Voices of Freedom

OUR Rescue
Posted by OUR Rescue
Published on July 5, 2023
24 min read

Stories from human trafficking survivors who had their freedoms taken away.

It is difficult for me to talk about this topic in particular because the wings of my freedom to choose were taken away from me from a very young age, so I have always had this fear of it repeating itself. Personally, he was a person very close to me, one of my parents and it has been difficult. It’s difficult because you sit in a place where you can’t get out, either because of fear, fear paralyzes you. In my case, they sexually abused me but I have been able to cope with it over time because therapy has helped me. I feel that my hope was to be able to leave the place where I lived and the divorce from my mother because it helped me to move away from the trauma that I was carrying. My country does not have much protection in these cases, because of this abuse being hidden in my country, many people remain silent for fear of what they will say. So it’s difficult on that side. I did. I never spoke about it. But I want to overcome that stage and be able to be happy, because I deserve it. I deserve to be loved without fear of feeling that they will take advantage of me. I hope that in the end there is an earthly or divine justice.

Kourtney, 19-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

I’m a girl who was victimized by an evil man and evil people.  

It all started when one day I was on Facebook and suddenly I received a friend request from a woman named Andi. She looked like a normal girl in her photos, what I didn’t know was that her profile was false it was not a woman it was a man.  

The girl texts me and asks me if I wanted to work. I was only 12 years old, she explains everything about the job but what she didn’t tell me was that they were going to pay me for my virginity, the fact was that we got to the point where I agreed to meet the girl supposedly to take some photos of which my face was not going to be seen I in my innocence accepted. A few days later I left my house to meet her and the supposed photographer the case was that I got to the point meeting and I only saw a boy who approached me and told me you are the girl Andi is waiting for and I answered yes and then he told me to go that she was already waiting for me in the studio, I accepted and we got into a taxi which took a lot of turns to turn me around and not know the direction where we were going, we arrived at the place and we did not enter through the gate, we entered through the garage it seemed strange to me, but nevertheless I accepted, we went up to the apartment and the supposed photographer left and left me with another boy in there and he grabbed me by force and wanted to hurt me. He pulled down my pants by force and I, with all the strength I had got away from him. I pulled up my pants and ran.  

I thank God because I had a little money to take a taxi and go home, after I got home my mom asked me where I was, which I didn’t tell her and she told me to give her my cell phone, she began to Check and found everything. She hugged me and told me to go to the prosecutor’s office to file a complaint and it turned out that like me there were more victims of that false profile. When the police arrived at his house, they found an American man who was arrested. In his home they found sleeping pills, and a cell phone full of CSAM.  

After all this, I still needed help. The police gave me the contact of a nonprofit full of beautiful people. These people helped me heal. They helped me understand how I helped provide freedom for other girls who were seeking justice. They helped me study, they helped me heal. They are my heroes! And when I finish school, I’m going to do my small part to help survivors of this crime with free makeovers, so they know how beautiful they are. All for free. Just like what was given to me. This is what freedom looks like to me.

Mikel, 15-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

What happens when the human body becomes a degraded commodity and vulnerability becomes the target of exploitation? In this case I want to share my story, although it is not the only one, and how I was subjected to such treatment in my childhood.   

Since my childhood, I dreamed of a bright future full of opportunities. However, my life took a dark turn when I was caught in the merciless clutches of physical and sexual violence by the person who was supposed to protect me. Through my testimony, I want to share my story and convey a message of hope to others who may have gone through similar situations. 

I was born into a low-income family and grew up in one of the red areas of Central America I lived with my parents and my three siblings, however my mother was always away from home and my older siblings were at school, which meant that I stayed with my father most of the time. In our alone time he would take advantage of me in a sexual way when I had no chance to defend myself or even understand what was happening. Throughout my childhood and development, these unspeakable scenes kept repeating themselves until they reached the point where they became normal for me. Unknowingly, I became a victim of everyday violence, deprived of freedom of expression and exploited in inhumane conditions. 

There came a point in my life when I realized that what was happening to me was not as normal as I had thought and I wanted to get rid of the feeling of inhibition that I carried with me all the time. I decided to go to one of the justice entities that exist in the country to file a complaint and stop the situation in which I was living. When I did that, a judicial process was initiated against my father and I was transferred to an aftercare home in the interior of the country. Living in the home I was able to meet many people with similar experiences, from whom I learned a lot and who helped me in the healing process. No one was coming for me, so I had to rescue myself.  

I am currently living outside the home, and I spend my time studying and working. 

Although what happened was several years ago, I can’t deny that I still feel fear when I go out in the street because I don’t know the kind of people I might meet. It is something I still work on in my therapy sessions and I am learning to leave it behind. 

In the midst of the darkness, the light of hope shines. Human trafficking is a devastating reality that affects millions of people around the world, but together we can make a difference. Let’s keep hope alive and act together against human trafficking. Every step we take in this fight brings us one step closer to a world where justice and respect prevail.

Sky, 21-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

My name is Dafne. My mother was sexually abused and became pregnant at 14 years of age. She did not want me to be born because it reminded her of what had happened, she used various methods to abort me. Thank God, I was able to be born, but two months after I was born my mother abandoned me and left home, leaving me with my grandmother, my grandmother took care of me but she has to work. I stayed at home alone with my cousins, who abused me physically, mentally and psychologically, forced me to watch pornography videos and I kept quiet about everything that happened because no one would believe me. They told me that nobody loved me, that I was not going to be anybody in life….. I had problems at school, nobody talked to me, and I was very distant from my teachers. My grandmother got sick when I was 12 years old and we had to move houses. In our new house my uncle sexually harassed me and I was afraid that they would find out why they were supporting my grandmother financially. One day at school I cried like never before because I wanted to die since there was no meaning in my life there was no love in me and I felt that they were taking advantage of me… One day my uncle wanted to rape me and I ran out because I didn’t want it to happen again. I went to the police and told them all the abuse, rape and mistreatment that had happened at my house. They took me to court. my grandmother was very angry because she said that this was a lie and that the police wanted to take me to a home so they would treat me badly. I spent 2 months in an aftercare home which was incredible. I felt safe I could talk about my problems and they helped me to move on, looking for a reason to live, the judge in charge of my process decided that I could not return to my house anymore since it was an area very dangerous and my family had gone to jail many times and it was not a good environment for me, they transferred me to a private home which helped me in my education process, I finished my studies successfully with the best grades, I learned English and computer I graduated from high school.

I’ve slowly gotten over it, but it still hurts to remember it. I don’t have contact with my family, only with my grandmother but I can’t talk to her for long because her calls are monitored by my relatives that they hold a grudge against me since I told what happened. Now I am 19 years old with an open mind, I work in a full English Call Center which helps me pay the rent for the house, have food and personal things. My achievements this year was to obtain a 50% scholarship for cabin crew, for which the other 50% O.U.R. helped me pay for it. They also support me with my transportation since my hours are at night and it is dangerous, I am grateful to life for giving me a second chance to live and overcome my past and move on, I am not going to give up, I am not going to give up all the opportunities because thanks to them I can be a better person. 

My greatest desire is to graduate as a cabin crew member with the highest qualifications and work in a well-known airline and show the girls who have gone through the same abuse that they are not alone, that if we can get ahead, no matter what the they made us. I am grateful to O.U.R. for supporting me to continue with my dream and trusting me.

Dafne, 19-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

My story begins with a broken home. With a dad who drank and with a step mother who hated me. She was the first one to traffic me by not letting me go to school because I had to clean, cook, etc. She took my freedom from me. And when I told my dad about what was happening, he called me ungrateful and kicked me out of the house. I was only 14.  

One day, my step mothers sister came and told me to go with her to buy some things for her children. We went to a bakery and she gave me some juice and bread. From that moment on I didn’t know anything else. I woke up in a black room with red around it with many tattoo machines and stretchers. I was tied by the arms and legs, I asked her what was happening and she just bowed her head and left. Then a boy came in and turned on the tattoo machine and crying I tried to scream but he put a scarf over my mouth and put me to sleep. When I woke up I felt that my skin hurt a lot, I had a tattoo made on my skin. It was burning and everything around it was red. They tattooed the name of a man on me. Then they locked me in a room where there was only a mattress thrown on the floor. The room, the mattress and the sheets were all dirty, in that disgusting place they abused me. I was so afraid, angry and I felt dirty. Marked like an animal as if my life, my body, and all of me belonged to that person. I cried a lot day and night, I got to the point where I tried to rip my skin off so I wouldn’t see that disgusting name. I spent 4 days locked up in that room and I didn’t eat anything I just cried and cried. Then my stepmother’s sister went to look for me, she brought a gun and threatened me saying that if I said anything she was going to kill me including my family. She took me out of the room covering my face. When I was going to get into a car, as I could, I grabbed strength and pushed it, I ran very far from that place. I grabbed a motorcycle and I arrived at my mother’s house and I told her everything that had happened and what I experienced in those 5 days that were the longest and most painful of my life.

My mother and my aunt took me to the hospital and there the childhood and adolescence police arrived and took me to a family police station, they referred me to a foundation which was going to help me overcome everything that happened, a week after being at the foundation I found out that my stepmother’s sister was looking for me so that I wouldn’t talk about what happened. They took me to the prosecutor’s office to file a complaint and it was a pretty tough process but with the help of the foundation, of the lawyer and of God I won the case. They arrested all those people who hurt me so much, the foundation took me to a specialized clinic and they began to erase my tattoo with laser beams the process was quite painful but I did it. I endured everything that pain as long as I was clean again on the one hand and stop feeling bad and crying every time I saw that name on my skin. My mother and my aunt were my greatest support, hand in hand with them I was able to overcome everything little by little. Thanks to the foundation, I finished school and finished my therapeutic process. I left the foundation, I moved back with my mother but I never let go of the foundation’s hand, even though I was already at home, they continued to support me to get ahead. Some time later the director of the foundation summoned me to a place and there I met a wonderful person who unknowingly changed my whole life. She introduced me to an American man who worked for her partner O.U.R. I was fine but I didn’t think I would ever be happy again, that day everything changed for the better, that person who when he came into my life he gave me back my happiness, my hopes, my motivation and my desire to move on. That day I understood that despite the pain and all the bad things there is always a reason to overcome smiling and move on. Since I was little I wanted to study social work, I have always had that vocation of wanting to make a social transformation, of wanting to change reality, the sad reality which many Survivors of Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking have experienced among all the bad things. Today thanks to that wonderful person, that Earthly Angel that God sent me I am studying Social Work in an excellent university.  

With excellent grades, I am fulfilling my dream and my goals, I continue hand in hand with the foundation. Now I am part of a Committee that the Survivors of the foundation form, among all our objectives the most important is to support all those boys, girls and adolescents who are going through the same thing that we went through, we are the voice of all those people who suffered these crimes and do not dare to speak out of fear, with the help of the University we created a hotbed against these crimes and I feel that little by little I am achieving the purpose for which I came into the world and now I understand that beautiful phrase that says “God gives his worst battles to his best warriors”. 

I am very happy and grateful to all those people who helped me and contributed their grain of sand to get me out of that nightmare in which I was where I just wanted to wake up and that none of this was real, thanks to all those wonderful people for whom today in I am what I am today. May God bless you and give you long life so that you continue to transform lives.

Karol, 19-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

My story began a year ago, with an American man who offered a certain amount of money to have sex with girls and record them with or without their consent, regardless of whether or not they were minors. I went with 3 more friends and he raped us all and we were filmed for a certain amount of money. At the same time we found out that there is a page where there is a video of me and the other with the other girls and videos with many of my acquaintances. The video goes viral and my life is destroyed. My relatives moved away from me and even my dad. A lot of bullying on social networks, everyone judging me for what happened to me. I stopped going out for a while. Everyone disrespected me and didn’t even take me seriously at all. My friends, everyone moved away from me. There was a time when I stopped eating and stuck to the street to be able to distract myself. I didn’t know what to do with my life, until a girl spoke to me and told me that something similar happened to her and an NGO helped her heal and get Justice. 

At first it was hard to believe that other people than my family could care about me. I am very devout and I had a vote of confidence and faith and I had the first meeting. In March of this year my life changed completely. I found support and the family that I lost, I found opportunities and something to live for. Now I am in a cosmetology technical career thanks to them and now, I have now freed myself of many things although I have not yet reached the goal, I still have to remain firm because it will be a past that will always haunt you, you just must not let it reach you!

Sophi, 18-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

My name is Katherine and I’m 23 years old, turning 24 in August. I already have a 4-year-old boy who will soon be 5 in August too. I was a victim of human trafficking when I was barely 13 years old. I spent approximately 2 years working in prostitution. They forced me to dance for men. We would see alcoholic beverages that they also paid me to drink and if suddenly someone offered a good price for me, they would take me to the room where sexual acts were performed When I worked the day, I would arrive and inside the business they gave us clothes to wear and also very high heels. 

When O.U.R. came to my rescue, I was about to turn 15 but they came to save me. When I was at home, I understood many things but due to my immaturity I did not understand my value and that my happiness depends on my actions. I understood that I had to change my life if I wanted to be a happy and healthy woman. I learned to turn to God. If you want to know why my life was like this, here it is.  

First of all, I had a single mother with an alcohol problem, many failed relationships and anger problems, self-esteem problems, and problems with the economy. But above all, my mother is my mother and well, each one of our family members finds new directions and new paths that will help them get ahead. 

I am very happy because at the moment I am studying the basics for maturity, and I live in Central America. I want to continue my studies and follow a career. I am trying to get a decent and stable job. Right now, I have a clothing sale that I have just started. It is needing more pieces of clothing to expand the business and I am also about to start a pastry business. I need utensils that I would like to buy later. I am also about to start an English course and a computer course that I know will help me a lot for the future, not only for me but also for my son.

If I must do something, it is to thank life for giving me a great second chance to change my life for the better. God is the light right now because he always knew that I had a better path to follow. The support group I am in is a great joy and support at all times. Let’s go for these and many more achievements…If my life had a title, it would be “The joy of starting over to love again, to be happy and live fully.”

My freedoms were taken away when I was a little girl and men felt they had a right to my body. Now I know I’m the only one that has a right to my body. And I am working every day to become something great.

Katherine, 23-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

I didn’t know what freedom was. I thought my world would end with me trapped by Frankenstein, the man who abused me. My world was black and white. And it got even darker the day I was rescued because my darkest moments were no longer just mine, but now everyone I knew and loved knew that something bad had happened to me. I cried every day. People looked at me with pity. Smiling was like lifting a 100-pound weight.  

After that, an NGO found me. They loved me. They didn’t look at me with pity, but with love and excitement about my future and present. They heard me. My family started to change after being with them. They heard me. They told me I was strong.  

I made friends too. And now I’m thankful for all I have. I’ve changed my life around. I’m happy with friends and family. I can smile without any effort. I am free.  

And every day I get to know freedom a little more.

Katie, 14-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal and thrive. Take action today by visiting OURrescue.org to donate.

I was only 13. 5 years ago my life was very different from how it is now, I was a mentally manipulated to sell my body, I believed that doing so was something positive, something that would help me obtain material things in an easier way, but nevertheless, there was something that it was not right, because whenever I had sexual relations with a stranger who was over 30 to 40 years of age I felt very bad. I remember being in a shower crying with pain and disgust towards my own body even while under drug substances and alcohol, I was like this for a long time until O.U.R. and local police rescued me on April 6, 2018, today I can say that after the rescue not everything was so easy, I received a lot of contempt from society I lost some friends I was mocked by some of my relatives And the most heartbreaking  thing was that I had lost the desire to move on because of how frustrated I was.

Today I am a woman who values her body, a person who would never allow herself to be manipulated by anything or anyone again. My past is something that I remember with a lot of love, with a lot of affection. Now I understand that it formed me. I do not feel shame or contempt for myself. I feel very proud of who I am, I am surrounded by a lot of love and support from my loved ones and friends. I am currently fulfilling my dreams, those dreams that had been broken when I was 13 years old, in this year of 2023 I am studying At the Social Work university, just a few days ago I finished my first semester. I am also studying an English course and I am doing very well, I feel very happy fighting to get ahead. My mission in this life is to share my story and that many girls victims of trafficking or possible victims listen to it so that they feel identified or can prevent themselves from being abused by pimps or pedophiles, I want to be like a light in the lives of other girls. I suffered a lot. I thought that my life no longer had value. Today I prove that you can get ahead after experiencing such great traumas, dreams can be fulfilled, and you can smile again with a happy heart full and proud.

My freedom of self love was taken away. I got that freedom back by sharing my light and working to remove the darkness from other girls just like me.

Rosa, 13-Years-Old

We stand with survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in their healing journey. With your support, we can continue to provide survivors with invaluable tools they need to heal.