About the Issue

Providing Survivors with the Seeds of Renewal

The survivors of slavery and trafficking are at the heart of CAST’s client service, outreach and advocacy efforts. Some of these survivors’ names have been changed for their protection, however their stories are all too real.


Maria is a survivor of sex slavery who was sold at the age of 16 for $200. She was raped, beaten and tortured by her oppressor, who threatened to kill her and her family if she tried to escape. Click to let Maria tell you how she survived in her own words and click here to read about the 22 years she spent in jail, falsely accused of the murder of her oppressor.


If you listen close enough, you might be able to hear Thonglim’s cries of freedom. Her trip to the Grand Canyon – her metaphor for freedom – is something she dreamed of doing during the years she spent in forced domestic servitude. Click to hear Thonglim tell her story.


As a single mother in Mexico, Esperanza experienced the loss of a child due to starvation and decided that she must leave her children with her family and go to Los Angeles for a job as a seamstress. Following what she believed to be a legitimate job lead, Esperanza was sold into slavery, which separated her from her children and prevented her from sending home the money that she went to earn. Click to see how Esperanza has become the perfect example of a victim turned advocate.


When John came to the United States, he dreamed of becoming a nurse. Instead, he was deceived into slavery and worked tirelessly for months under abusive conditions. John eventually found freedom through the joint efforts of CAST and the FBI, who had been investigating John’s bosses for months suspecting them of human trafficking. Click here to read John’s full story


Kim is a West African woman in her mid-thirties. She can’t actually remember her real name as a result of the 15 years she spent in forced prostitution. Kim’s case is the longest case of sex trafficking CAST has ever encountered, and may be the longest on record nationwide. Click here to read Kim’s full story


Lulu’s story is an example of how anyone can become a victim of trafficking. Lulu is an educated woman who believed she was coming to America for a legitimate job opportunity, only to discover that she had been sold into slavery. Click here to read Lulu’s full story

Click here to read more about CAST’s first-of-its-kind Caucus of Survivors made up of survivors like Maria, Thonglim, Esperanza, John, Kim and Lulu who have been empowered by CAST to advocate on behalf of their fellow victims.