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First of all, as a survivor of Human Sex Trafficking here in the United States, there are already many judgments against me. That is just the reality. I was trafficked for over 10 years between Orlando, Florida and Chicago. I am an overcomer!

I was rescued in May of 2012 in Orlando, Florida by a Jail Chaplain who had been reaching out to me for years. I was finally able to speak up and then my healing and journey began! It was clear from the start that my calling was to help others like me. So after reuniting with my family and child, I began that journey. I found that as a survivor there are many opportunities for me to speak and share my story but it is a challenge for me to get a job in the field. Recently, I have taken a position managing a home for women. I have dreams of working for a larger anti-trafficking organization one day but I know it requires some education. In order for me to counsel professionally, I must attend college. Recently I started college, but the Pell did not cover my full tuition. Student loans are tough and I have difficulty getting a job due to my past, but I had to accept a job to survive while in college. Receiving a Grant would allow me to continue in my dream. It would allow me to be able to reach out to women on a deeper level one day and go where very few are willing. Right now, I am just a survivor to many, but if I continue college, I will be a survivor with a degree and that means something! It means showing a great example to my now 8 year old daughter that Mommy overcame and so can she! It means telling my past that it did not kill me, it only made me stronger. Although my family and society say the odds are against me, I say differently. I will do this!

As survivors, we do need a hand up in the beginning. This would be my hand up to a brighter future, to a stable future for me and my child. It would mean showing other survivors that they too can find meaning in all of the hurt and move on.

Another road block for me was that during my years being Trafficked, I was arrested many times. Society does not care about why it happened, just that I have a record. I am working to get it cleared now under Florida’s new laws. However, if I am able to get a degree, I believe employers will validate that when considering me for employment. A survivor with a degree – watch out world! I am not just another statistic, I am somebody! I am asking that you help me reach this goal and fulfill my dreams of reaching others on a professional level.

Written by Aubree Alles

 

kevin_bayneSeptember 20, 2014 – Our board member Kevin Bales talk about how the global economy has changed the slave trade and what we should be doing to eradicate it on CCTV America’s show “Full Frame.” Click here to watch it.

 

Colombia-pictureSeptember 20, 2014 – “Human Trafficking: International Awareness Event Draws Together Survivors and Government Leaders” On July 30th, 2014, advocates across the globe united in observance of the first annual World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Participants included Shamere McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sun Gate Foundation; Juan Camilo Restrepo, Deputy Minister of Interior; Mauricio Castro, Delegate of the Government of Valle; Felipe Montoya, Peace Advisor to the Mayor; David Alamos, Officer in Charge of the UNODC; Carolina Lopez, Program Coordinator, Trafficking and Gender, IOM; and eight survivors of human trafficking, including Beth Jacobs, Founder of Willow Way; Evelyn Chumbow, Survivor Consultant at Humanity United; Holly Austin Smith, Author of Walking Prey; Ima Matul, Survivor Organizer for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST); Norma Bastidas, Author of Running Home: A Journey to End Violence; Rani Hong, UN Special Advisor for Victims Survivors; and Trong Hong, Co-Founder of the Tronie Foundation
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