Mei* was beaten and abused by her mother and stepfather throughout her childhood. After years of living in this trauma, she ran away from home. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, she was desperate and alone. This is when she met a woman who offered her a good job. Mei trusted the woman’s job offer and leaped at the chance to create a new future for herself. It was only once she arrived at the job that Mei discovered that the offer had been fake. This is a common tactic traffickers use to manipulate young women into sexual exploitation, impacting millions of women around the world today.
For six months, Mei was trafficked around Southeast Asia. Every day felt like a lifetime, and half a year felt like an eternity with no light at the end of the tunnel. With no one to ask for help, Mei thought this would be her future forever.
Until one day, she met someone who told her about a drop-in center where she could get support and begin to heal. They shared with Mei that there were people there she could trust to help her.
Despite having been betrayed in the past, Mei pressed forward with hope and courage, and decided to take the chance to step into the drop-in center. When she walked through the doors of our local partner’s center for victims of sex trafficking, she was greeted with warmth, care, and compassion. The team was ready and equipped with the tools to support someone stepping out of exploitation, offering her trauma counseling, a safe place to stay, nutrition, healthcare, and above all, newfound hope.
Mei began the long road of healing, slowly unpacking what had been done to her. She began to ready herself for life on her own again and started her vocational training in the center. She told our local partner about her love of gardening and farming, and they enrolled her in a microgreen production program, which she fell in love with, finding it both therapeutic and empowering. She did so well in permaculture, our partner hired her full-time to take care of the microgreens. The microgreens support sustainability for the home, provide resources for women who have been trafficked, and are sold to generate income for the home.
Today, Mei is living in freedom, doing something she enjoys, and is surrounded by people who love and support her. Her future is bright, despite the darkness of what was done to her in the past.
When you give today, you support cycles of healing that replace cycles of exploitation for girls like Mei. Choose to be a part of the solution.
*Name has been changed for the protection of the survivor.