Seventy percent of the trafficking survivors Restore NYC serves are mothers. Like all mothers, they want the best life for their children. Since 2015, Restore supporters have honored and celebrated these women through our Give Back Mother’s Day campaign. They’ve donated. They’ve fundraised. Together, they’ve sponsored over 100 survivors in our Economic Empowerment program, making so many mothers’ dreams to care for their children a reality.
Meet “Patricia,” mother of “Marta” (7) and “Luis” (2). Patricia was sold to a local gang at the age of 16 because her parents could not afford to support their family. She was trafficked at a cantina in her rural community in Central America before being brought to New York by an abusive boyfriend. Once here, he moved Patricia from one brothel to another. She had no contact with her family and never had enough time in any one brothel to form friendships. Other than her relationship with her trafficker, she was completely alone.
Patricia was trafficked in this way for almost a decade. While being trafficked, she gave birth to Marta and Luis. When Luis was one, Patricia reached out to an organization serving domestic-violence victims. She was identified as a trafficking victim and referred to Restore.
Today, Patricia and her children are in long-term housing while she receives services from the Restore team. She has applied for a trafficking visa and is working to access all the benefits available to Marta and Luis, who are U.S. citizens. Marta, now in second grade at a local public school, loves the zoo, while Luis enjoys taking the A train and is preparing to enter a universal pre-kindergarten program.
Patricia’s primary goal? To give Marta and Luis safety, health and opportunity. She hopes to enroll in the next cohort of Restore’s Economic Empowerment program. She’s demonstrated interest in food preparation and longs to be connected with one of our business partners in the hospitality industry. She wants work that is safe and sustainable and will break the cycle of poverty in her family.
Safety. Health. Opportunity. These are things we all long to give children like Marta and Luis. This Mother’s Day, honor and celebrate their greatest champion: their mother.
*Names in this story have been changed to protect their identity. No identifiable women in our communications are known to have been exploited.