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An interview with Maria Suarez

An important part of awareness raising is helping law enforcement improve the treatment of victims of trafficking, treating them as victims rather than criminals. Sadly, this is still an issue that needs a lot of work. One such story is that of Maria Suarez. Her story is heartbreaking and inspiring.

 

For almost 28 years Maria Suarez was held against her will. First by a slaveholder and then imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit.

 

She was tricked into slavery when she was 15 years old. Her captor abused her mentally, physically, and spiritually. He threatened to hurt her family so even when the police and her family tried to help, she told them everything was okay.

 

Her dreams of a better life were fading. "My dreams just were crushed. They never let me bloom, like a rose. They never let the rose grow up to be a rose." Maria says that for 28 years she was just looking for, "A little bit of justice."

 

When asked, if she ever lost hope that she would get away from him, Maria responde: "I didn't and I did.  Because I have no way out.  I just, I used to pray a lot.  I thought God had forgotten me."

 

Read the full interview to see how Maria finally escaped.

 

Source: Free the Slaves