There are an estimated 57,700 people in modern slavery in the US according to GSI estimates. The US attracts migrants and refugees who are particularly at risk of vulnerability to human trafficking. Trafficking victims often responding to fraudulent offers of employment in the US migrate willingly and are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude in industries such as forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.
Linda travelled from Ecuador to the United States after she was given the opportunity to stay with her step-sister, work and go to school. However, upon arrival, Linda was forced to do all the house work, cleaning, cooking and looking after her step-sisters’ baby. Linda received no pay for her work, was kept in the home 24 hours a day under constant surveillance and never ended up going to school.
I was full-time babysitter and house cleaning, cooking. I wasn’t getting paid. I was lied to. I was abused. I didn’t know I was a victim of human trafficking until I told my story.
I was born in Ecuador. When I was 16, my step-sisters told my dad that it would be a good idea if I will come here. They say, "She could help with one baby while I work, and then she will go to school in the afternoon." I never end up going to school. I was home 24 hours with the baby, and then, little by little, she started telling me to cook, to clean. I wasn’t getting paid. I was monitored, everything that I did. I felt trapped without, like, no exit. They made me feel that they were doing something great by giving me food and giving me a place to live, and the way that I had to pay them back is doing everything for them.
I was a victim of human trafficking. I’m happy that I got good guidance. I work in a bank. I’m currently the operation supervisor branch manager. I created a very simple program all about banking. I was able to help these people that didn’t know the basics of banking. They felt that I helped them a lot, and that was a good experience for me.
I came out from the darkness. I think that’s very powerful to meet the workers, to encourage them to really to know their rights and to be part of this community.
Courtesy of the Office for Victims of Crime