Poverty left Charito* vulnerable. Desperate to help her impoverished family, she dropped out of school to look for work. When a woman she’d just met promised her a good job in a nearby city, she felt she had ‘no other choice’ but to accept.
But it was a horrible lie. Just 14 years old, Charito was trafficked into a bar in Cebu, the Philippines. She was sold for sex night after night. She remembers, “They treated us like animals.”
Fortunately, local authorities soon rescued Charito and 26 other girls trapped in the bar. But from there the case stalled—stuck in a broken court system. Charito returned home alone, burdened by shame and struggling to heal.
Later that year, IJM opened an office in Cebu. Our attorneys heard of the troubled case and quickly worked with state prosecutors to move the trial forward. IJM social workers helped Charito move into an aftercare home for the support and trauma counseling she so desperately needed.
“IJM helped in giving worth and time for my case.” Real freedom began “because of the love I received from people who truly cared for me.”