The following sketches are based on real cases of Empower Her Network. Their stories and information have been used to create composite sketches to ensure Empower Her Network does not exploit any one survivor’s experience.
Trafficked as a teen and enduring years of abuse, trauma and struggle, when she aged out of foster care services she was lost. Year after year she numbed her pain with drugs and alcohol, which lead to homelessness and addiction. She always wanted to “get out of the cycle” and didn’t know how. Finally, after working with an organization that provided housing, mental health support, and addiction recovery and she worked indescribably hard to gain sobriety, to work on healing, and to build a caring positive community, which included Empower Her Network. As she transitioned out of her sober living house, she worked with EHN on her challenges, her barriers, her hopes. Through research and EHN’s help, she was able to land a job outside in a field that she loves. Empower Her Network holds hope and love in the face of what sometimes feels like insurmountable struggle, and pairing meaningful resources with that hope to remove what sometimes feel like insurmountable financial barriers.
Trafficked from Guatemala, Sarah was convinced to come to the states by a man promising to pay for her cosmetology school in the states in exchange for a little work on the side. Her documents were taken, she had no means to communicate with her family or the outside world, and she was trafficked for two years. After receiving help from law enforcement to get her trafficking visa and and crisis support for stability, Sarah was ready for Empower Her Network. Sarah has now moved into her own apartment with the help of EHN. She is working two jobs and looking to go to cosmetology school with her Empowerment Plan.
Without a community, language skills or knowledge of social or legal systems in the US, immigrant girls and women have no safety nets.
If she’s in the US illegally, the prospect of being returned to an even more dangerous situation prevents her from accessing available services and resources.
However, even without a threat of deportation, the fear that an exploiter will harm her family has the same effect.
The power and sophistication of internal trafficking networks keep this fear alive.
Physical, emotional and mental harm from sexual exploitation are intensified by racism and sexism.
Watch The Life Story to the right to learn more and find out steps toward change >>