The COVID-19 pandemic put Joshua* at risk of being exploited again, but your support intervened and helped him fight for freedom.
When he was a boy, Joshua was a victim of sexual abuse, robbed of the joy and freedom of an uncomplicated childhood. A few years later, his mother died, leaving Joshua an orphan. Forced to rely on the generosity and kindness of his extended family, Joshua often felt like a burden and desperately wanted to get a good job so he could earn his keep.
A few years ago, Joshua started with 10ThousandWindows. His counselor and caseworker helped him process the trauma he experienced as a child, and think through his dreams and goals for the future. Recently, Joshua finished high school and was just beginning to search for jobs when the pandemic hit.
Joshua’s Job Search Halted by COVID-19
In the Philippines, the lockdown was strict, severe, and instituted nearly overnight. People, particularly exploited and vulnerable people, had no time to prepare or stock up on needed essentials. Government aid and support were slow to roll out, leaving survivors like Joshua with few options.
“COVID had a big impact on me and my family,” he says.
“COVID had a big impact on me and my family.”
Joshua moved in with his uncle, grateful for a roof over his head, access to food, and a safe base from which he could begin his job search. But he quickly felt like a burden. It was obvious his uncle was less than thrilled to have another person around, another mouth to feed. “I opted to eat one meal a day so that other people in our household could eat,” he says.
He knew he needed a good job, but finding employment was easier said than done. Businesses were shuttered. The economy was in a tailspin. In desperation, Joshua considered taking risky, illegal work, putting his safety and well-being in jeopardy.
The Evil Cycle of Exploitation
It was a critical time for Joshua because modern slavery is a vicious cycle: a victim of exploitation becomes a survivor, only to become a victim once again. In the wake of a global crisis like COVID-19, young men like Joshua, desperate to buy food and support their families, face increased vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation.
But with the support of our partners and donors, 10ThousandWindows intervened, helping Joshua avoid exploitation again.
“With the aid I received, I felt like I could help provide for our needs,” he says. “We could eat three times a day. I believe this will help us get through the pandemic until I can find a job.”
During the lockdown, Joshua’s counselor called him regularly (and still does) to support him emotionally.
“I felt supported,” he says. “You did not turn your back on me. I am grateful for that. This brings joy to my heart and the reason not to give up because they did not give up on me. I am thankful for my counselor and the support I receive when looking for a job.”
“You did not turn your back on me. I am grateful for that.”
Now, as the lockdown eases, Joshua is beginning his job search again, continuing his fight for freedom. “I am persistent in my job search,” he says. “I am hopeful that I will land a job that will help me stand on my own.”
I am hopeful that I will land a job that will help me stand on my own.
Fighting for Freedom that Lasts
With the support of his counselor, Joshua is applying and interviewing for jobs, and following up on good leads. It is just a matter of time until Joshua finds work that will keep him safe and free forever.
“What is amazing about Joshua is his tenacity and spirit,” says his counselor, Luz. “He believes that as long as he doesn’t stop looking, he can find a good job, even in the most challenging time economically.”
Your partnership with 10ThousandWindows helps us fight for freedom for survivors like Joshua, serving them every step of the way. Together, we can confront exploitation at its root by helping Joshua and other survivors of modern slavery get real, sustainable jobs, empowering freedom that lasts.
*To respect survivor privacy, all names and identifying details have been changed.