Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘Free the Slaves’

Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Maria

In Awareness, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Involuntary Domestic Servitude, Social Justice on May 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm


Roseline is a former slave who is now free because of her courage and the help of a good samaritan. She grew up in Cameroon, Africa and when she was 14 she left her family to come to the United States, with the promise of education and opportunity. In reality ,she was forced to work as a domestic servant and nanny without any pay or respect. For two and a half years she endured physical and emotional abuse from her captors. Some people in the community even knew of her situation and did nothing to help her. They said they felt sorry for her but didn’t want to get involved.

(Free the Slaves)


Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Ramphal

In Awareness, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on May 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Ramphal and his entire family were slaves in the rock quarries of India for as long as anyone can remember. Slowly – with the help of grassroots activists, Ramphal and the other slaves in his village realized that freedom was possible. Getting there was dangerous.


“If I would move in my house or out of my house, if I want to sit somewhere, get up, if I want to eat, if I want to drink – anything that I wanted to do – I required permission.” The villagers of Sonnebarsa began meeting with other slaves across the area and demanding their rights. Violence broke out at a meeting. A slave owner was killed. Slave owners retaliated by burning Ramphal’s village. What little the families had was gone. Nine slaves were jailed and charged with murder. Ramphal was one of them.

(Free the Slaves)

Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Miguel*

In Awareness, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on April 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm


Miguel wanted to work in the United States because his young son had cancer and Miguel couldn’t afford the medicine on the salary he made in Mexico. He didn’t have the cash to pay for his journey to the United States so he accepted an offer to get a ride “now” and pay “later”. He soon found himself in a worse situation. He was enslaved in the orange groves of Florida. Every day Miguel was threatened with violence.

“Well, I felt like a slave from the moment that I arrived because we couldn’t pay for the ride and because we had to pay for that and then they started to threaten us.” Miguel said. “It was horrible.”

(Free the Slaves)

Click on the link above to read the rest of Miguel’s story!

Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Cam-Suze

In Awareness, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on April 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm


Like tens of thousands of children in Haiti, Cam-Suze was held as arestavec, a child slave. Her life changed when she met Free the Slaves’ partner, Limye Lavi.

Her days would start at 4 in the morning, before anyone in the household was awake. She would work until the children were ready to go to school, taking them to classes she couldn’t attend herself. While the children were in school she would do domestic chores, including hauling drums of water from its source, two hours away. “If I took too long, I would come back and they would beat me,” says Cam-Suze. For years she survived this monotony, her days ending at one in the morning.

(Free the Slaves)

Click on the link above to read the rest of Cam-Suze’s story!

Your lifestyle affects their freedom

In Awareness, Child Labor, Child Sex Trafficking, Child Soldiers, Child Trafficking, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on March 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

These friends have been enslaved in the mines for three years. Donatien (left) wants to be president so he can help other children. Josué (right) wants to open a store or a barber shop.

The Congo is rich in minerals that make modern lifestyles possible-from medical devices and household goods to automobiles and high-tech electronics. They’re known as the “Three Ts” (tin, tungsten, tantalum) and gold. Ore mined by slaves in the DRC is smuggled into the global trade in metals, tainting many products that we use every day.

The military conflict makes things worse, as armed groups battle for control of lucrative mining sites. But the quest for illicit profits won’t end when the shooting does. Congolese communities need resources to avoid all forms of slavery and to develop alternative livelihoods that don’t rely so heavily on mining. Are you part of the problem? Can you be part of the solution?

(Free the Slaves)

Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Samura & Shyamkali

In Awareness, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on March 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

These women went to hell and back—a few times. They were slaves. When they began to organize for freedom, they were burned out of their homes by angry slave owners. Samura remembers, “There was not one single cloth to wear, no food to eat, no utensils, nothing.” So where is the success you might be asking? It actually got worse.

(Free the Slaves)

Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Rambho

In Awareness, Child Labor, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on March 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Rambho Kumar was rescued from a carpet loom in India where he was forced to work 19 hours a day with no pay. The loom owner and trafficker seduced Rambho’s mother with promises that Rambho would go to school and send money home to the family. Rambho’s father had just died and his mother could not feed the family. She sent Rambho with the trafficker.

When Rambho’s fingers bled from overwork the slave owner would dip them in oil and light a match to them. He wasn’t allowed to play or go to school. He was never allowed to visit his family or leave the loom.

Finally, Rambho was rescued by Bal Vikas Ashram, Free the Slaves’ partner organization in northern India. Today Ramhbo is free and he plans to help his mother find a house. He also wants to make sure no other children become enslaved.

Rambho says he wants to be a guard when he grows up. He wants to keep other children free from slavery. “I won’t let anybody go there even by mistake. I’ll tell them that they hit you and they beat you and I would not let them go there ever.”

You can see and hear Rambho’s story in the documentary, Freedom and Beyond.

(Free the Slaves)

Free the Slaves Survivor Story: Maria

In Awareness, Human Trafficking, Social Justice on March 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

For almost 28 years Maria Suarez was held against her will. First by a slaveholder and then imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit.

She was tricked into slavery when she was 15 years old. Her captor abused her mentally, physically, and spiritually. He threatened to hurt her family so even when the police and her family tried to help, she told them everything was okay. Her dreams of a better life were fading. “My dreams just were crushed. They never let me bloom, like a rose. They never let the rose grow up to be a rose.”

Maria says that for 28 years she was just looking for, “A little bit of justice.”

Her story is heartbreaking and inspiring. Read for yourself below or see Maria’s compelling story. She was interviewed for the film, ”Dreams Die Hard”.

(Free the Slaves)

Free the Slaves Survivor Stories: Helia

In Child Labor, Child Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Involuntary Domestic Servitude on March 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

When Helia LaJeunesse was five years old, her mother died. She went to live with her grandmother until she too passed away. A neighbor took Helia in until she was about twelve years old. The woman of the house made Helia do all the cleaning and all of the chores around the house. Helia was verbally and physically abused, and she wasn’t allowed to go to school. Even the neighbors would tell the woman that she was mistreating Helia. The woman would reply that since she didn’t have a family, Helia was an animal, and should be treated like an animal. Not until the community threatened to burn down the woman’s house did she let Helia go to communion class.

Helia finally mustered enough courage to escape. She was enslaved again, “I would have the hope that somebody would deliver me. I always have that hope and I believe that not everybody can be the same way.”

(Free the Slaves)

Click on the link above to read the entire interview with Helia!

Free the Slaves: Haiti

In Awareness, Child Labor, Child Trafficking, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking on February 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Fondasyon Limyè Lavi is a Haitian organization dedicated to ending the restavek (child domestic slavery) system.
This little girl lives in a village where many children get sent to the restavek system. Fondasyon Limyè Lavi is working extensively with the village to help them develop their own solutions to keep this from happening.

Slavery has been illegal in Haiti longer than in any other nation (Haiti abolishedslavery nearly sixty years before the United States). Yet the sending of children to work for other families continued. And as Haiti’s economy collapsed (it is now the poorest nation in the western hemisphere), the system of restavek mushroomed, now affecting as many as one in ten of Haiti’s children, according to the UN.

Ideally, the child is enrolled in school by the household he or she is sent to, and treated like one of the family. In practice, this rarely happens: the child’s day is filled with chores, and even the youngest children are expected to fetch heavy buckets of water, hand-wash clothes, carry loads to and from the marketplace, and work in the fields–often working 14 hour days for no pay.

Diminishing lives, damaging communities 
Children in the restavek system suffer a kind of apartheid, reduced to a subjugated and even sub-human status in their household and in society–sleeping on the floor, dressed in rags, eating leftovers, and often beaten. Three-quarters are girls, and many are viewed by men in the family as convenient objects for sexual exploitation. Girls are often abruptly expelled from the household if they become pregnant. Successive generations have grown to adolescence in this atmosphere of shame, neglect and abuse–and LimyèLavi believes that this is not only diminishing individual lives but is causing uncalculated damage to the development of communities and society as a whole.

(Free the Slaves)

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