Abandoned by her parents at the age of two, Kara* grew up helping her grandmother care for her eleven other siblings and cousins. With low wages, many mouths to feed, and meager resources, Kara often went to school hungry and always felt the weight of worry. The financial and physical stress nearly caused her to drop out.

Then came a day when she thought things were turning around. Kara’s cousin, Elsa, invited her to a party with foreigners and the “chance to get married and be rich.” A solution to all of Kara’s problems. That day, Kara, Elsa, Elsa’s mother, and several other girls arrived at a hotel and were escorted to the “party” room. It only took moments once inside for Kara to realize they were being sold for sex.

Quickly after the transaction between Elsa’s mother and the men, police raided the room. 17-year-old Kara had been exploited, but she was immediately rescued. While thankful for her rescue, Kara was also ashamed, and dropped out of school.

Thankfully, a social worker from the International Justice Mission encouraged Kara to enroll in a Red Window organization for job training, and Kara excelled. Beating the odds of on a path destined for “permanent vulnerability,” Kara continues to overcome the challenges in her life with a fearless spirit.

 

*Pseudonym used to protect victim