Camila* was trafficked from Venezuela to Spain and exploited in the center of one of the nation’s largest cities. Trapped in an apartment by her trafficker, she was forced to sell her body to make money for him, only receiving one meal a day and kept under close supervision. For two weeks, she lived in these terrible conditions and saw no way out. She even tried to escape once on her own, but was unsuccessful. Her life and the lives of her children back in Venezuela were threatened to manipulate her into giving up any control over her own life. Losing hope, she prayed, “Lord, my life belongs to you. Do what you want with me, but get me out of here."
The next day, our local partner’s detection was alerted to her situation by someone who had befriended her in one of her brief moments outside and discovered what was going on. That same day, our local partner went with Camila’s friend to the apartment complex to observe the situation and create an intervention plan. Camila had her friend’s number, and was texting updates—and deleting every text she sent so as not to have them discovered by the trafficker. She said she was trapped in the apartment with the trafficker and escape was impossible. The team waited for hours, and still there was no opportunity for Camila to get out. Just as they were about to give up hope for the day, they received a text: the time was coming.
A few minutes later, she was out on the street with her trafficker. They walked a short way to a restaurant and both went in, our local partner’s team watching with focus and alertness. The trafficker remained close to Camila the entire time—until he left her side to get the food from the restaurant’s counter. In those few precious seconds, Camila ran for her life. Our local partner pulled up to her immediately and shouted her name, and she threw herself into the car. The driver put his foot on the gas, and the escape was officially made. Camila hugged the team crying, repeating over and over again that she was terrified. But she knew that her prayers had been answered.
Camila was taken to the local partner’s safe home, where she is living in safety today. Every day, she continues on her path of healing and courage. Remarkably, in spite of threats against herself and her children, she has even decided to report her traffickers to the law so that they will be held accountable and not be able to continue exploiting other women like herself. Her incredible courage is changing the future for not only herself, but for other vulnerable women as she stands to fight against exploitation despite everything she has been through.
This work doesn’t happen without monthly support from the team that powers the fight against sex trafficking. Will you join Team Freedom today and become a part of hopeful endings for stories like Camila's?
*Name has been changed for the protection of the survivor.