Human Traffic Watch

American Dream Turns to Nightmare for Teen Trafficked for Labor

In Bonded Labor, Child Labor, Debt Bondage among Migrant Workers, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on May 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Gerthon Saint Preux wanted only one thing as a teenager living in Haiti: to live the American dream. But after he arrived here, he realized he was living the dark nightmare of a child trafficked for labor.

A woman from his hometown said she would be his sponsor in the U.S., so Saint Preux left his family for the chance to go to college and one day support his loved ones. When he arrived, his sponsor put him to work at her store, and also gave him chores in her home.
There was always a reason why he couldn’t start school. And when his visitor’s visa ended, it only got worse.
“From there, I could see hell,” Saint Preux told NBC 4 New York.
He worked at the sponsor’s store seven days a week and then cooked and cleaned at her house, without ever being paid. He ate scraps and was forbidden to even sleep on the couch.
“She said I’m damaging the couch. I have to sleep on the floor, but the floor has carpet. I just put a pillow there and I sleep,” he said.
The sponsor monitored Saint Preux’s phone calls and convinced him that police were his enemy, he says. Even though he interacted with people every day in her store, he never spoke up or asked for help. The terrified teen even considered suicide.
“I look for a truck to just throw myself under a truck. I don’t want to suffer — I want a truck to just hit me on the highway and I’m done,” Saint Preux recalled thinking.
Source: NBC New York

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