When Valerie arrived in Malaysia for her new job, she quickly learned the employer had lied. But through the generosity of 10ThousandWindows supporters, Valerie escaped human trafficking, found a good job, and broke the cycle of exploitation. 

Raised by her grandmother and aunt, Valerie* delayed her dream of going to college to help provide for her family. In high school, she was a talented musician who often sang in malls to earn money. When a friend’s sister mentioned a job opening for a bar singer in Malaysia, she saw the perfect opportunity to provide for her family while also following her dreams.

When she arrived in Malaysia, though, Valerie quickly discovered the bar owner had lied about the job.

“We were singers, but there weren’t any audiences,” she says. “I was with other women who wore revealing clothes, and when customers would come into the bar, they would select a singer to join them at their table. We were forced to provide them with ‘extra services’.”

We were singers, but there weren’t any audiences. When customers would come into the bar… we were forced to provide them with ‘extra services’.

Day in and day out, this was Valerie’s reality. The exploitation lasted for months. Every day, Valerie’s hope grew dimmer.

But in a stroke of luck one night at the bar, Valerie met a patron who wanted to help her escape and who secured her safe passage to the Philippines.

Like many victims of human trafficking, Valerie urgently needed work after returning home. Before her situation became dire, she was introduced to 10ThousandWindows and took job-readiness training. With the support of her counselor, Valerie upgraded her schooling and technical skills, and found a good job at a local IT company.

“I feel blessed that 10ThousandWindows helped me find a job. My life is better than before. I’m already making regular payments on my own house where my family can live. I’m very independent now – I can stand on my own, and I can provide for my child.”

Through the generosity of our supporters in 2019, 80 victims of modern slavery and exploitation secured safe, well-paid jobs with reputable employers. Each of these survivors is now well on their way to economic freedom. For women like Valerie, this means a stable living situation, the ability to provide for her child, and the end of exploitation.

*Name changed to protect survivor privacy

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Written by Mike Strauss | Photos by Jacob Maentz