Victims of sex trafficking endure horrible abuse and trauma, but their stories can actually end happily. Dedicated people in organizations around the world are saving victims every day, and they need our support. I’d like to share with you some success stories from Washington State, California, India and Nepal.
Dream Center Helps West Coast Victims
“Hope” is in her early 20’s, and has a one-year-old daughter. A few years ago, she took the greyhound bus to Los Angeles, but when she got off, her boyfriend wasn’t there to meet her. Walking to get some food, she was kidnapped and forced to work on the streets for about seven months. She had to serve 8-10 men per day and bring in a quota of $1500. There was no room for trying to escape from her pimp because she was constantly watched.
One night, a Vice Cop said he could help her get out. They staged an arrest and safely removed her from the situation. Although she had escaped, she had been brainwashed that he was her only source of protection, and she went back several times before she was finally able to get out and stay out. Life was still hard, she served time on an old warrant and lost custody of her daughter. She heard about the Dream Center, and now is working to complete the program, get her daughter back, and pursue a degree in social work.
“Lover Boys” Groom Girls On Internet
Michelle met her “lover boy” on the Internet while struggling to rebuilt her chaotic life and take care of her two sons. He was “sweet and kind” to her, but introduced her to meth to ease her stress. When she needed surgery, he moved in to help take care of the boys. Despite the drugs, she thought she had found her happy family until he began pressuring her to earn more. She started working the streets and he directed her by phone while home watching the kids. “The more I made, the more he did for me – got my hair done, nails, clothes, stuff for my boys they never had before and more drugs. I felt like a princess.” But he started abusing and cheating on her and she lost custody of her sons. The situation worsened until her mother told her about the Dream Center and she escaped to Los Angeles. She intends to start school in the fall and is working to regain custody of her children.
Nepalese Girls Turn to Shared Hope
Reshma was little more than a child herself when she was lured from her remote village in Nepal to Kathmandu— then enslaved by a bar owner who sold girls for sex along with the drinks. Soon she found she was pregnant and, friendless and terrified, Reshma surrendered her baby “Angel” at birth. Soon she found her way to Asha Nepal, a partner organization that Shared Hope helped establish and supports. Seeing other children there, she realized she had not needed to give up her child and Asha Nepal’s founder helped get her back. They spent over three years there, and in 2016, gainfully employed, Reshma and Angel moved into their own small apartment in Kathmandu.
Children of Sex Slaves Can Rise Above Circumstances
Manisha is 20 years old and has made her home at Asha Nepal since she was 7. Her mother fell in love at 16 with a man who betrayed her and sold her into India. She soon got pregnant, but rejected her child, who appeared to have no future other than sex slavery. Aunty Renu, also trafficked to the same brothel, began caring for Manisha until she was rescued by Shared Hope International’s local partner organization. Now a second-year college student pursuing a degree in Social Work, Manisha dreams of restoring trafficking victims back into society and seeing sorrowful lives transformed to joyful ones.
Former Sex Slaves Become Leading Business Women
In a typical tea shop with a small front kitchen and several tables, Shamita and Kala have found strength, success and freedom from Nepals’ brutal sex trafficking industry. They have escaped sex slavery and become two female business leaders in a Nepalese culture that often devalues women as property of men. Shamita and Kala once thought their lives were no more valuable than providing their bodies to man after man in the brothels of Mumbai. When they escaped they encountered a familiar story: their village shunned them and their own father forced them to leave. This lack of options forces many back into the violent arms of the brothel. But they went instead to Asha Nepal, a home that allows women who were trafficked to India to return to their home country.
Shamita’s and Kala’s lives are testament that life beyond the brothel is possible. Success is possible. Freedom is possible. Anything can be possible.
Want to report sex traffficking? Need to call for help? National Hotline is 1-888-373-7888
Resources and Partners
Women Like Us Documentary
In the documentary, Women Like Us. Three Journeys. One Mission. To Change the World, Women Like Us tells the stories of women who are sex trafficked and those women who are leading initiatives to eradicate it.
Women Like Us Books
In the most recent Women Like Us Book, Women Like Us. Together…Changing the World by Founder and President, Linda Rendleman, we share personal stories of women fighting to end sex trafficking and homelessness and advocating for education both locally and globally.
Women Like Us Foundation has a long history of creating awareness of sex trafficking both locally and globally. Our support of women’s leadership against sex trafficking is making a difference for lives of women and girls.
Shared Hope International is a global community dedicated to protecting children on a local level. It trains parents, youth workers, community leaders, and teens how traffickers operate and how they can protect themselves and their friends.
Dream Center is a volunteer-driven organization that finds and fills the needs of over 40,000 individuals and families through approximately 70,000 encounters each month, including victims of human trafficking.
Somaly Mam Foundation We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of slavery and the empowerment of its survivors, based on the vision and life’s work of Cambodian survivor Somaly Mam.
Purchased The mission of Purchased is to educate, equip, & empower the community to end modern day slavery.