Maria’s mom died when she was three and by the age of six she was selling tortillas on the street. An orphan, when Maria turned ten she joined a gang in an effort to feel like she had some sort of family. After being told she must “kill or be killed” she knew she needed to leave. Fearing for her life, Maria chose to come to the US undocumented and alone. After being apprehended by immigration she spent 6 months in a shelter, scared and anxious about her future. Maria was granted asylum and transferred to the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Maria hopes to learn English, get a job and be a part of a loving, supportive family.
When Bertha was 12, her grandmother and sole caregiver became very ill. Knowing there was no future for Bertha in El Salvador, the grandmother used her life savings to pay a smuggler to bring Bertha to the United States. But, after crossing the border, the smuggler forced her to work in a brothel. Bertha was rescued during a raid and was declared a ‘Victim of Trafficking.’ She was transferred to Ascentria foster care. Bertha loves to dance and dreams of being a teacher.
*All profiles are examples of real cases but dates and names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.