Rosa grew up impoverished in Guatemala, and by her early teens had endured physical and sexual abuse and was living on the streets. When a friend told her about a job across the border in Mexico, Rosa hoped to get a job there too. Instead, Rosa found herself trafficked into a brothel with no means of escape. A man then bought her from the brothel and enslaved and abused her. He forced her to marry him, got her pregnant, and then trafficked Rosa to the U.S., forcing her to work in a downstate factory, where she suffered a serious accident. She was left bedridden for months, at which point she discovered the trafficker was also sexually abusing their five-year-old daughter. She was able to escape with the girl to a women’s shelter, and reported the abuse to police. The police charged the trafficker with child abuse, but not with human trafficking. Believing the trafficker had fled back to Mexico to avoid the charges, Rosa left the women’s shelter, made a home with her daughter, and tried to begin again. But the trafficker soon reappeared, using messengers and other tactics to keep her in fear for her life.
Multiple LAF attorneys helped Rosa begin anew. With our help, she got a labor visa, safe and affordable housing, documents with new names and social security numbers, income supports including food stamps and Medicaid, education services for her daughter, and counseling services through partner agencies. Today, Rosa and her daughter have a new life, safe from abuse and trafficking.