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Read the heartbreaking and touching story of Karol, a 19-year-old trafficking victim who received care from O.U.R. to help in her healing process:
"My story begins with a broken home. With a dad who drank and with a stepmother who hated me. She was the first one to traffic me by not letting me go to school because I had to clean, cook, etc. She took my freedom from me. And when I told my dad about what was happening, he called me ungrateful and kicked me out of the house.
I WAS ONLY 14.
One day, my stepmother's sister came and told me to go with her to buy some things for her children. We went to a bakery and she gave me some juice and bread. From that moment on I didn't know anything else. I woke up in a black room with red around it with many tattoo machines and stretchers. I was tied by the arms and legs, I asked her what was happening and she just bowed her head and left. Then a boy came in and turned on the tattoo machine. Crying, I tried to scream, but he put a scarf over my mouth and put me to sleep. When I woke up I felt that my skin hurt a lot, I had a tattoo made on my skin. It was burning and everything around it was red.
THEY TATTOOED THE NAME OF A MAN ON ME.
Then they locked me in a room where there was only a mattress thrown on the floor. The room, the mattress and the sheets were all dirty, in that disgusting place they abused me. I was so afraid, angry and I felt dirty. Marked like an animal as if my life, my body, and all of me belonged to that person. I cried a lot day and night, I got to the point where I tried to rip my skin off so I wouldn't see that disgusting name. I spent 4 days locked up in that room and I didn't eat anything I just cried and cried. Then my stepmother's sister went to look for me, she brought a gun and threatened me saying that if I said anything she was going to kill me including my family. She took me out of the room covering my face. When I was being forced into a car, I gathered some strength and pushed it. I ran very far from that place. I grabbed a motorcycle and I arrived at my mother's house and I told her everything that had happened and what I experienced in those 5 days that were the longest and most painful of my life.
My mother and my aunt took me to the hospital, and there, the childhood and adolescence police arrived and took me to a family police station, they referred me to a foundation that was going to help me overcome everything that happened. A week after being at the foundation I found out that my stepmother's sister was looking for me, so I wouldn't talk about what happened. They took me to the prosecutor's office to file a complaint and it was a pretty tough process but with the help of the foundation, the lawyer, and God, I won the case. They arrested all those people who hurt me so much, the foundation took me to a specialized clinic and they began to erase my tattoo with laser beams. The process was quite painful but I did it. I endured that pain so that I could feel clean again and stop feeling bad and crying every time I saw that name on my skin. My mother and my aunt were my greatest support, hand in hand with them I was able to overcome everything little by little. Thanks to the foundation, I finished school and finished my therapeutic process. I left the foundation, and I moved back with my mother but I never let go of the foundation's hand, even though I was already at home, they continued to support me to get ahead.
Some time later the director of the foundation summoned me to a place and there I met a wonderful person who unknowingly changed my whole life. She introduced me to an American man who worked for her partner, O.U.R. I didn't think I would ever be happy again, but that day everything changed for the better, that person who when he came into my life gave me back my happiness, my hopes, my motivation and my desire to move on. That day I understood that despite the pain and all the bad things there is always a reason to overcome smiling and move on. Since I was little I wanted to study social work, I have always had that vocation of wanting to make a social transformation, of wanting to change reality, the sad reality that many Survivors of Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking have experienced among all the bad things. Today thanks to that wonderful person, that Earthly Angel that God sent me I am studying Social Work in an excellent university.
I AM FULFILLING MY DREAMS AND GOALS.
I have great grades in school. I continue hand in hand with the foundation. Now I am part of a Committee that the Survivors of the foundation form, among all our objectives the most important is to support all those adolescents who are going through the same thing that we went through. We are the voice of all those people who suffered these crimes and do not dare to speak out of fear. With the help of the University, we created a hotbed against these crimes and I feel that little by little I am achieving the purpose for which I came into the world and now I understand that beautiful phrase that says "God gives his worst battles to his best warriors".
I am very happy and grateful to all those people who helped me and contributed their grain of sand to get me out of that nightmare in which I was where I just wanted to wake up and that none of this was real, thanks to all those wonderful people for whom today in I am what I am today. May God bless you and give you a long life so that you continue to transform lives."
We are proud to partner with O.U.R. to get survivors just like Karol the help they need. To donate to the cause, click here.
To read more of O.U.R.'s survivor stories, click here.