January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Natalia emerged as a strong and confident woman even after a brutal childhood. Her mother was addicted to drugs, which made the family’s living situation unstable. She and her mother and brother moved from place to place, eventually moving from the U.S. to Mexico.
Natalia managed to stay hopeful through the turmoil.
Even though life was rough, I was still a very happy child with many dreams and ambitions ahead.Natalia, Live Your Dream Awards recipient
However, when she was 11 years old, Natalia was kidnapped by her neighbors and became a victim of sex trafficking. Her mother never tried to find her. After suffering more than two years of sexual abuse and beatings, she managed to escape her kidnappers and then the police, who were going to return her to her kidnappers.
Natalia’s troubles didn’t end there. She began to lose hope, as she was alone without family. Now with a son, she was forced into trafficked and drugged by the local mafia, but fought hard for the sake of her child. Her son, who she “promised never to abandon,” became the force that drove her to get out of the violence she experienced, and travel back to the U.S.
Determined to Make a Change
Despite these traumas, Natalia has undying determination and grit. Natalia went back to school in the U.S. to continue her education, starting with her high school diploma. She is determined to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management. Through hard work and patience, Natalia has worked to raise her grade point average and has succeeded thus far. Hardships in her youth never diminished Natalia’s dream to get the education she deserves and to create a better life for her and her son. And with help from the Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards, she is doing just that.
Sign the Pledge to Help Women Like Natalia
Take the pledge and commit to helping women and girls at risk of or recovering from trafficking.
PLEDGE TO SUPPORT:
- Access to education for women through the Live Your Dream Awards
- Mentorship to guide girls to a brighter future through Dream It, Be it
- Solidarity with survivors of abuse