“When I was younger, I lived with my mom, and she often mistreated me. She had different boyfriends who hit me and my brothers – we weren’t their kids, so they treated us poorly. Sometimes we didn’t have anything to eat, and we’d go to bed hungry. I was always so scared and constantly living in desperation. My older sister ran away when I was ten years old, so I did too a few years later. And I ended up here, at Casa de Las Mercedes. It’s been tough. My dark past followed me here – even when I feel like I’m doing well, I still have flashbacks to my difficult childhood. I managed to get away, but it’s still a part of my past and I can’t forget about it so sometimes it brings me down. And I’ve tried to forgive my mother for the things she’s done. She suffered a lot too – she was abandoned by her family when she was a baby. She didn’t have love in her life growing up, so how could she know what it is, or how to give it? I do feel bad for the pain she went through. But she also made me suffer a lot too, so I’ve been conflicted. But I’m still so much happier now that I live at the Casa de Las Mercedes. I live with other girls who have been through the same things I have, and we’re all here to support and love one another. I try to set an example for them, to show them that they are in a safe place now – there is no more violence or mistreatment, and they have the opportunity to live a decent, happy life. There is so much love here. I met someone shortly after I moved here named Maricela. She told me, “I love you. I don’t know who you are, but because you are simply here, and a woman, and a fellow human being, I love you.” I was speechless at first; I didn’t believe it. How could she love me so easily? She would try to hug me and I would push her away. But I grew to trust her little by little, and I’m so much happier now. These girls are my family. And I want to be a role model for them, to tell them to believe in themselves. Their future is bright. My future is bright. I’ve been working at a restaurant as a waitress and chef, and someday I want to have my own. I want to go to Chicago to see my sister. I want to travel. I want to be with my brothers. And I know I can do it – Casa de Las Mercedes has given me that confidence and strength.”

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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:
www.facebook.com/ProjectCurrent

 

Photo Courtesy: Daniel Villa