Leisha recalls many nights trying to sleep off the hunger pains. Her father would perform manual labor when it was offered. When there was no work, Leisha would go entire days without food. In time, she began to resent her father, and she knew she needed to find some other way to survive.
At 16 years old, Leisha’s friend introduced her to a recruiter who promised her a high paying job in the big city. Leisha was hesitant, but how could she turn down such an opportunity in her position?
The recruiter took Leisha to a house where they would wait for transportation to Manila – there were other recruits there that Leisha noticed were all young girls like her. Time passed with no movement while Leisha became more suspicious and worked up her courage to do something. After two days locked in the house, she stood up to her captor exclaiming that she changed her mind and wanted to go home.
He responded by confiscating all of her remaining belongings to ensure she would have no resources for escape. Her captor’s intentions would soon be made known – he was going to sell Leisha into the sex industry upon arrival in Manila.
Leisha’s father began to worry about her when she did not return home. A rumble began in the community as to how this group of young girls had disappeared until someone spoke up about the recruiter and the police were immediately put on alert.
Knowing that the recruiter had mentioned Manila, and with the help of close 10ThousandWindows partner, International Justice Mission, police were waiting when Leisha arrived. Her trafficker was arrested immediately and is sitting in jail today as he awaits his case.
Leisha was overjoyed that her father had come to her rescue, but they both knew she was still at risk.
Leisha was connected with a social worker who arranged shelter care for her and referred her to 10ThousandWindow’s Job Readiness Training program. In the program, Leisha learned what safe opportunity looks like and was trained in skills local employers desire. With the help of her Career Coach, she created a plan to escape the poverty that left her vulnerable and then started looking for work.
After one month, ten applications and three interviews, Leisha was hired as a Product Inspector at a large electronics company. She would later find out that she was one of only a handful of people hired for the positon out of hundreds of applicants.
Leisha just passed her 90 day mark on the job. She is living independently and is using part of her salary to help her father pay off her family’s debt. Leisha now believes that with hard work and persistence, it’s possible to change your life.
At 10ThousandWindows, we believe that safety, freedom and hope for people like Leisha is impossible without sustainable and gainful employment. Our education and training programs develop survivors so they can earn and sustain jobs on their own without having to be identified as survivors in the workplace.
We find that 87% of our job eligible program graduates find work within just 2 month of looking. Our goal for every one of them is a job protected by local labor laws, paying a fair wage, that we confirm they have earned and kept through a 90 day evaluation period on their own. We call this safe, sustainable and gainful employment, and Leisha is our 100th program graduate to achieve it.
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