You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20
One of 83.
Their story began with false promises and false hope.
Friends who betrayed them.
Men who raped, abused, and exploited them.
But that is NOT where their story ended…
It is from that broken place that a 28-year-old survivor has chosen to embrace a path of life – one which she uses to help others in a unique way.
She is a survivor of Operation Cattleya.
Approached in her home country months before her rescue, she was introduced to a trafficker by a friend.
Running in close circles with those they plan to exploit, traffickers who recruit victims take a cunning approach to gain the access and trust of their victims.
Once this trafficker knew where she was vulnerable, they offered her a resolution.
A job as an escort in the Dominican Republic.
She was told that she would have freedom and options and that she could make money to provide for her family and her son. They even promised to take care of all the travel arrangements for her ahead of time.
Instead, when she set foot off that plane in a country she had never been to, she began to witness the actual plans that awaited her.
They now saw her as their property.
They locked her up and made it known to her what would happen if she did not do what they required of her.
They made her work from eight in the morning until three in the morning.
She would go on to tell us, “I couldn’t stop serving any client. I had to work even during my menstrual period. All my money was taken from me. I paid a debt of more than four thousand, five hundred dollars, then they threw me out on the street.”
One of the most frequent traps traffickers will lay is to promise to pay expenses for victims and then to use the debt against them. The travel costs that her traffickers promised to take care of, became a debt that she was required to pay with her body.
After she left the first brothel, she was brought in by another. They told her she needed to pay fifteen hundred dollars for protection.
She paid off seven hundred dollars and, in the process, became very sick.
They believed she was having a miscarriage from her abuse. After undergoing a curettage, doctors discovered ovarian cysts from the tampons she was forced to wear during her menstrual period to continue working for them.
This is the state that she remained in when she was rescued from that brothel.
In pain, without hope, and struggling with the shame she felt from her decisions and her abuse.
Determined to pay the remainder of a debt that should have never been hers to bear.
When we got to visit her in the safe house during the process of her repatriation, she told us, “I want you to help me because the truth is that I am leaving with nothing. I no longer want to continue in this life. I have a baby and I want him to be proud of me. I have never told this to anyone, not even my family because I am very ashamed. It is a consequence of a bad decision. I want you to help me in any way that you can.”
Now, over 6 months later, our team has had the opportunity to see those words shift – to watch her regain confidence and hope for her future.
She has chosen to open a salon and pursue a career in cosmetology with the support we were able to offer her. She shares that her greatest motivation is that she will have the chance to be with her son throughout his life. Her passion and drive, rooted in childhood memories, have now flourished in the hope of being a place for others to come and gain confidence, support, and care in their time of need.
“It is something that fills me and gives me excitement and encouragement. I wanted to do it to provide a better future for my son and me, in a place where I would feel at home and where I can support other women and men in some way. In this case, I can nurture their beauty and make sure they are supported in their important moments.”
She wants others to know that above all, what she has learned from those around her, is that even when there are hard moments, if you have support with encouragement – you will come out of any situation.
She has taken what has been thrown in her path and embraced it with courage, love, and acceptance.
“I have improved a lot as a person in the last month, it has given me relief from what my life had been like. In all those bad moments, this business has made me feel very happy and I hope to be able to do more in the future. I feel an indescribable relief. There is no doubt that my life has taken a turn and things are happening to me that I did not think would ever happen.”
Your support has empowered us to impact and support women like this directly. Because of you, her story didn’t end with a rescue – it’s thriving with hope, inspiration, and opportunity.
To overcome is more than to survive, it is to take what those have intended to break you and use it to create something new. Her story will bring light to many women around the world.
It has been a blessing to have been a part of her journey.