A woman who witnessed her family being murdered in her home country and was then forced into sex trafficking in the United States is now free, and is turning her life around.
Esther*, who is in her 40s, was left for dead in the conflict in the country in Africa where she grew up, but she survived and recovered. She was lured to America by a trafficker who promised her a better life and work.
But when she arrived, Esther’s hopes were dashed. Her passport was taken, and she was forced into sex trafficking and kept locked in a building. After about a year, Esther bravely took her chance to escape when the door was left unlocked. She sought help from a passer-by who directed her to the authorities.
Esther was then referred to our Survivor Care Program (formerly known as Lily Pad Haven, which is now a part of Hope for Justice). Over the past 18 months, we have supported Esther with accommodation, vital medical care and therapy to help her overcome her trauma.
At first, Esther was reserved, depressed and spoke little English. Since then she has regained her confidence, and improved her English to the point where she is doing training in the beauty industry. As she settles in the United States, she hopes to run her own salon and boutique, as she once did at home.
Esther said: “I saw my parents and brothers and sisters killed, so the Hope for Justice team is my family. The staff here gave great support and made sure I get the health care and counseling I need. I’m so grateful.”
We will continue to support Esther in the future through our aftercare program.
*Image shows the inside of one of Hope for Justice’s aftercare safe houses in our U.S. Survivor Care Program