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.
Ronny was offered a job in the US working in hotels, however once he arrived the job he was to undertake was very different from what he had been promised. Ronny along with two other people was forced to live in a cramped one-bedroom apartment, paid only $39 a week for his labour. In this narrative Ronny talks about the importance of survivor support services to rehabilitation.
I met my trafficker back in my country, Dominican Republic. They offer us job in United States working in hotels. When we came here, what happened is, there was not such a job like that. They got us a job in DVD manufacturing company. We already invest a lot of money to come, so we had to accept the job, and we did. But he treated us like we were no one. We were living in a one-bedroom apartment, and it was three people living there. My pay check every week was, like, $39. When we were in that situation, people could see us. We were hard-working in that company. Nobody noticed anything. And then we met Catholic Charity person, and we explained her our situation, so she contacted one agent from ICE.
Services are so necessary, especially when you’re trying to come out of that situation, because you don’t have anything. Those services, in my case, helped me a lot.
They made it all possible to bring my wife and my two kids. I got a job, thanks to the people that were out there to help me. But they changed our lives. I mean, they save us. And I can tell you now because I’m a survivor of human trafficking, yeah.
I experienced labor trafficking. We were really scared. We were uncertain what’s going to happen. The first day that we arrived in Biloxi, we didn’t have money to buy food. And then we met social worker. An agent from ICE start interviewing us, asking questions about the case and all those things that we went through. But our case was already open in Kansas, and they start helping us. Because we provide enough information of what they did to us, they went to jail for years and years.
For a person that have been through human trafficking situation, I recommend: think about what you want, what you want to do in life. There are a lot of things out there for you. It’s never late. It’s never late. There will be a lot of people out there to help you.
Courtesy of the Office for Victims of Crime