Konstanza is from a rural community in South America and immigrated to the United States at the age of 16 with her parents. During her first year in the US, her parents fell into financial stress and her father started working a second job at a nightclub. To help her family, Konstanza also started working at the nightclub. Her father helped her get the job by lying about her age.
She started out clearing tables and ensuring guests were happy, but after a short time, Konstanza’s father had convinced the club owners to let his daughter dance. Konstanza quickly realized that the club and her father didn’t just want her to dance.
Night after night Konstanza’s father would sell her to guests in the club, but she believed she was helping her family, so she never argued or raised any questions. For 10 years Konstanza was sexually exploited at the hand of her father.
While working at the nightclub, Konstanza was able to save a little bit of money on the side. During the 10 years of exploitation, her strength and resourcefulness enabled her to save enough money to go to school. She had always had an interest in health and fitness, so she pursued an associate degree while she was being exploited that would help her become a personal trainer.
Konstanza struggled to find work as a personal trainer so she continued living with her parents where the cycle of abuse endured.
Three years later, still hoping for a life free from exploitation, Konstanza left her family. After fleeing from her parents and the unsafe work conditions of the nightclub, Konstanza found herself at Restore NYC.
At Restore, Konstanza found hope in the opportunity for a new beginning. With nowhere to stay, Restore offered Konstanza a bed in the Transitional Home, where she was met with empathy, respect, and the security of a safe place to rest.
During this time, she also met with Restore’s Economic Empowerment team to help find safe and sustainable work. Konstanza expressed her dream of becoming a personal trainer that she had worked so hard for despite her trafficking circumstances, so the Restore staff helped Konstanza create goals and worked with her to make this dream a reality. The Economic Empowerment team helped her create a resume and prepared her for interviews.
Konstanza’s brave pursuit of education in the face of her exploitation and persistent determination in chasing her dream led her to the freedom she longed for. With the help of Restore, Konstanza found a job as a personal trainer and today is training several clients at a gym in her neighborhood earning a wage that has given her the financial freedom and independence she has always hoped for.
The hope that drives survivors, like Konstanza, and your commitment to Restore’s mission have the power to make dreams of economic freedom a reality.