Struggling to support her family in Africa, Aurelia was tricked by labor traffickers who took advantage of her situation. With the help of a few good Samaritans, Aurelia found a way to heal and help her family back home.
Imagine you were so desperate to help your struggling family that you left your home country for an opportunity to earn extra money. Now imagine being tricked into working 18 hours a day as a dancer, often without food and for no pay. What would you do if you were terrified that if you tried to get out of the torturous situation you would be physically beaten?
This is exactly what happened to *Aurelia, an African woman who was trafficked for labor.
Tricked into Being Trafficked
Aurelia was from a small village in Africa. She lived with a large family that her parents struggled to support. She had been searching for ways to earn extra money when she heard about a man who was recruiting women to become dancers in the U.S. When they spoke, he personally assured Aurelia that she would make enough money to help her family.
Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Aurelia realized that she had been tricked into joining a group of trafficked women. The trafficker threatened to hurt all of the women if any one of them talked about leaving. Aurelia and the women lived in constant fear that they would be beaten, or worse.
After suffering for two years, one day Aurelia and the other women escaped to New York City where they had nowhere to stay, no money, no identification and no job. She did not give up hope. Aurelia saw a woman wearing African attire on the street. She took a bold chance and asked for help. At first, Aurelia and the woman couldn’t understand each other, so the woman asked a friend to help communicate with her. Fortunately, the friend understood what Aurelia’s situation was and she knew of Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP).
Aurelia Finds Support
ATP gives human trafficking victims the chance to speak to a compassionate expert who personally guides them in obtaining critical resources to get back on their feet. At ATP, Aurelia was paired with a case worker who helped her set goals and create a plan of action to achieve them.
Even after escaping, human trafficking victims may face backlash from their traffickers in their native country. To ensure Aurelia’s safety, her attorney helped her file for and obtain a T-Visa. A T-Visa allows victims of human trafficking to stay and work in the U.S. This can help them avoid returning home to further violence.
The case worker also connected Aurelia to free English classes and emergency housing. With ATP’s help, Aurelia was linked to a special housing program that provided her a stable environment. Here, she improved her English skills and began looking for employment.
Aurelia Achieves Success
With ATP’s critical help in securing her safety and immigration status, Aurelia’s life began to flourish. Aurelia now has a stable job. She supports herself and sends money to her family to buy clothing and food.
ATP helps human trafficking victims like Aurelia recover from one of the most dehumanizing acts of cruelty. Resources we provide include:
- Intensive case management
- Legal services
- Referrals for counseling and emergency housing
Aurelia told her case manager she thanks the “good Samaritans” who helped her find ATP and the staff who saved her life, guiding her to the bright future she has today.
* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.