Stella

 

15 years old

 

Stella and her brother grew up with their mother. Stella reports that when she was 12 years old, she was first physically abused by her mother and later by her brother. She started working when she was 13 to help support her family. At the age of 14 she met a woman at work who asked her if she could live with them and help with the household. She dropped out of school and moved in with the family. There she was manipulated by the family by telling her that she owed them money for board and lodging. In order to pay off the debts, they urged her to go out with "foreign friends", whom she in turn would introduce to so-called "customers" with whom she could earn a lot of money.

In October 2019 she met the first foreign "customer" who, knowing that she was a minor, sexually abused her and gave her 5000 Philippine pesos in hushing money. After this first incident, she was resold several times to foreign sex tourists from Germany, Austria and the USA and as a result was sexually abused several times.

In November 2020, the Preda Foundation's social workers became aware that Stella had been taken to a resort from which she was to be resold. They worked with the local police and the Philippine Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to develop a rescue plan. When they stormed the resort, they discovered that in addition to Stella, 19 other girls were being held there, four of whom were minors and 15 young women between the ages of 18 and 22. The three human traffickers were arrested and the girls and young women were taken into the care of the Preda Victoria Girls' Home. They have settled into the community and are now learning that they have a chance to recover, learn and go to therapy to come to terms with their traumatic life in which they were abused, raped and sold. Now they can lead a good life without fear of lifelong sex workers and victims of human trafficking.