By a 17-year-old Human Trafficking Survivor from South America
Well, I want to say greetings to all the people that are listening to me, but in principal I want to tell all the young people that are at risk for people to take advantage of you, you should be watchful. I came to this country a few years back. I traveled through four countries with my little sister, who at the time was only seven years old and I was 14. It took us a month to get here, but during the entire journey a lot of things happened that you could never imagine to go through. To make the story short, I will tell you that for three days we were lost in the desert without food or water because the man my mom hired to bring me here didn’t know the way. In those moments I felt very close to death. We slept in the sand and I covered my little sister with a plastic bag because it was very cold. I had to carry her on my back because she tired of walking and later she started crying and I told her not to cry, that soon we were going to arrive to where our mom was. We only had one drop of water that I used to wet my sister’s lips because she was dying of thirst. Later some men found a water pipe. My little sister and I started to drink water like crazies and my little sister got sick and started to vomit. She kept vomiting and the only thing that I could think of was that if my sister died, I was going to stay with her because she was everything to me, but everything passed.
God gave us another opportunity to live, but when I arrived here I had never lived with my mom before because she had left me with my aunt when I was a baby. Everything was different and things didn’t work out well. The truth is that I don’t like to give that many details because I am already tired and I’m only 17, but my mom reached a point where she even hit me and tried to ruin me and told me that she was going to deport me. I was afraid, so I let her do everything that she wanted. Everyday looked like this. At 6:00am I woke up and brought breakfast to my mom in bed before school. I went to school and after school, started working in the job my mom got for me until 11:30pm. She tormented me when I got home from work and didn’t let me sleep until one or two in the morning. I did dishes, made her dinner, did laundry, and cleaned up the mess she made during the day. I gave her the money from the job, and she bought pretty things for herself. My nerves started to change and when I slept I shook.
My teachers asked me what happened and told me that if someone was abusing me I had to report it. I didn’t want to harm my mom, but I was tired of living like that. She said that she was going to help me leave the house and she took me to WIND; a place for kids that don’t have a place to live. WIND found Opening Doors for me.
Opening Doors found a program that will let me study until I’m 21 years old, and I decided to go. It’s not easy to be far away from California, but I think that I needed to be far away from the place that brings back a lot of bad memories. I hope that God gives me the strength to move forward and study and be the person that I want to be. I want to be a psychologist and help all the people that need help or someone to listen to them.
I only want to say that life is not easy but you have to learn to live your life and learn from your mistakes. I hope all you young people will listen to what I have to say. We all have difficult moments. Take advantage and study. Put your efforts into studying for a better future and show everyone that you are someone that was able to achieve everything that you wanted. Show everyone that you are special because life isn’t over yet, it still continues. Go forward because God love you. Behave well and with love for everyone.