“I first came to Casa de Las Mercedes when I was 12. My mom was an alcoholic, and she abused my stepsisters and I. My stepfather also raped and abused me, starting when I was 8 years old. And I didn’t start to talk about it until I came here. Since I was so young, I didn’t know any better – he messed with my head and told me that what he was doing wasn’t a bad thing, and I believed him…. But he also threatened to kill my brother or mother – or even me – if I brought it up, so I never said anything. Not once did I say anything, and for years and years, he abused me and raped me and touched me in inappropriate ways. Finally, my stepsisters brought me here to protect me. I stayed until I was 18. I was able to finish school. Before, I never studied much or did well in school because the traumatic things happening at home, and we were always moving to different homes. So, at Casa De Las Mercedes, I recovered and took the classes I needed in order to finish high school. Once I was 18, I moved out to live in my own rented apartment and work. Now I’m back, because I have a daughter and am a single mother. I hope to stay here for a while until I can begin working again, and raise enough money to live with my daughter. I’m currently living off of a monthly pension that the father pays me to support myself. But the lady running this place said that they were thinking of adding a coffee shop soon, and that I could be in charge of that. So I’m hopeful for the future. My life has by no means been easy – all I can do is work hard, and hope that my daughter will never have to go through everything I did. All I have left is to remain optimistic for the both of us. But I’m so thankful for everything that Casa de Las Mercedes has done for me. It’s changed me for the better. And in turn, I want to make a change and provide the best life possible for my daughter. It won’t be easy, but I’m a very strong person. I’ve overcome obstacles all my life – and I don’t plan on stopping now.”
Mexico City has the highest rates of human trafficking in the world. We are raising money to to help the orphanage and women’s shelter at Casa De Las Mercedes to provide their girls a brighter future. This money will go to their education and help improve the girls living conditions — to help them learn, get back on their feet, and to become self-sustaining. This fundraiser will turn their lives around. Our goal is to reach $10,000 donations in the next week and it will take your help to get there. Please donate and share with anyone you think this story would resonate with. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating: gofund.me/2ghnc7ek
You never know what one small action can do to change someone’s life. Stay tuned for more updates and stories on the brave young women in Mexico City.
We have launched a Facebook page for everyone to follow Vivian’s journey in Mexico City:
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Villa