Once Trafficked, Now Reunited with Family

You can't imagine what it's like not to be able to hug and kiss your mother for so many years.

On a recent Monday evening, I met Victor M. and his family at the airport in Philadelphia. With balloons and flowers in there arms, they were ready to receive Victor's parents, who were arriving from Mexico on a flight NSC arranged through the International Organization for Migration. It had been years since he had seen or hugged them.  

Victor's daughter, Michelle, proudly carried a hand colored poster proclaiming "Bienvenidos!" His wife, Alejandra, carried their 6-month old baby, who would be meeting her grandparents for the first time.  The family waited anxiously watching the arrivals screen for notice that the flight had landed.  During a quiet moment, Victor told me with tears in his eyes, “You can’t imagine what it’s like not to be able to hug and kiss your mother for so many years.” 

The reunion was joyous and tearful. Victor later told me how it reminded him of his reunion with his wife and daughter several years before. Both were made possible by the support of NSC's Anti-Human Trafficking Program.

Through the program, Victor - and later, his family members - received case management services and financial assistance that enabled him to regain stability after leaving an exploitative labor trafficking situation in the landscaping industry outside Philadelphia. These services included: food and rent assistance; referral to low-cost healthcare; connection with ESL classes and other community resources; support enrolling in public benefits, including Medicaid, and navigating the public benefits system; and arranging travel for family members still living in Mexico through IOM.

Victor's mother, Maria: "I never imagined I would get to see my son in person again, much less end up living with him here in the US. I thank God for putting you [case manager] and this program in my path." 

Victor's wife, Alejandra: "There's just no way my daughter and I would have made it made it here without the support of our case manager. She helped us in ways we didn’t even know we needed, from making sure there was someone to meet us in the airport and guide us through customs to helping us enroll in Medicare, food stamps, and cash assistance so we could stay healthy and secure while we got on our feet."