“One day (in Costa Rica) a man approached me and asked me if I was not tired of the life I was leading in prostitution, I said yes, but I couldn’t get out of it. He told me that he had a very nice offer for me, that if I wanted to leave the country to give my family a better life, I could earn in dollars and make quick money to send to my family. ”
Saying yes to the man’s offer was one of the worst decisions Olga made in her life. That day she became a sex slave and was minutes away from being murdered in Mexico.
Thanks to the Rahab Foundation, created in Costa Rica 22 years ago to help people forced into the sex trade, Olga’s heartbreaking story, of just when she wanted to get out of the clutches of prostitution, fell in deeper and is alive by pure miracle, has a happy ending,
At 18, Olga (not her real name) met the man who filled her head with the promise of a better life, he knew people who could help her. At first, he was her only contact, then others came on the scene to quickly help her get the paperwork done quickly.
“They told me that I could work in whatever I wanted, as a waitress, receptionist in a hotel or as a massage therapist, that they would pay me very well and in dollars. At the beginning they gave me US$500 dollars to leave the family here in Costa Rica, after that, they took care of the all the necessary paperwork and took me out of the country. I was 18 years old.”
Olga went voluntarily, her head filled with tremendous illusions and the promise of a better life and best, out of prostitution.
She did not travel alone. Other girls had bought in to the same story. They just wanted to get to Mexico quickly to start in their new work and leaving behind a difficult past between men and constant aggressions.
Once in Mexico everything changed immediately. It was made it clear to them that they had arrived as sex slaves and that they had to pay them, an internationally organized gang to recruit girls and turn them into prostitutes to get them all the money they could.
“In the beginning they put us to work as dancers and have sex with men, these men gave the money to those who deceived us; they had us locked up, they gave us food under the door, we only ate rice and drank water, then they told us ‘get ready’, then they took us out of another door that was going to give us a night club ”.
“In that environment, you feel that you are nobody, that you are worthless, that it only serves to please men and receive a payment,” said Olga, now the victim of sexual slavery in Mexico.
Life for the young woman became hell, with three other girls they were kept in a locked room and there were days they weren’t even fed; if anyone did not get a client that day, the punishment was not even get a glass of water; who complained was beaten. As the gang knew where the families lived in Costa Rica, they were threatened with harm to their families back home.
Olga recalls that one day a member of the gang members assured her that they would kill her. The reason was that they were fed up with her crying every day and begging to be released. She was kidnapped and forced to prostitute herself for almost two months.
“You die today because you die,” they insisted, so along with another girl they armed themselves with courage and escaped. They were fortunate that one of the guards had a heart and left a door open for a little while.
The two managed to escape with their passport and underwear, there was no time to dress, they arrived at a police station where they got help.
More details of his escape we do not have.
According to information from the Rahab Foundation, in total, we were like twelve Ticas and about eighty from other countries.
“A Chinese was killed in front of us so that we could see what they were capable of, hanged her in front of us. In that place there were women from China, Bulgaria, Guatemala, the United States,” Olga told the Rahab Foundation.
She grew up with an irresponsible and absent alcoholic father. Her mother was the one who had to struggle to move them forward. They were five sisters, so she begged for money at the farmer’s fairs and from door to door, she also cleaned houses when they called her.
She got pregnant at 13 while in school with a boy who romanced her but could not take care of her. Now, with a baby, she had to leave school and work. Since she wasn’t 15 yet*, friends helped get a fake cedula (ID).
At the time Olga’s day was spent between work, her daughter and church, until one day when a friend where she worked told her she could her earn US$100 for less than an hour to be with a man she knew.
“‘What will happen to me if I go with that man and I earn that money?’ I wondered, in another place I would have to study a lot to earn that money … and I went with him. Then the Lord was sending me another and another, so I stopped going to work and the church. That’s how I got into the world of prostitution,” recalls Olga.
A woman older than Olga got her fully into prostitution and Olga was responsible for getting her other four sisters in that, only that the sisters would go home at a certain time, with the earnings while Olga stayed in the street, so involved in the life that she would work the bars and street corners.
Then came the drugs. At first, she gave money to he mother to take care of the little girl and the rest used to get high. Prostitution had her on the verge of death.
From the age of 15 to 25, until rescued by the Rahab Foundation, Olga worked in the streets, then the nightclubs (strip clubs).
Olga explains like on the streets is about being raped, assaulted and have everything taken from you. “There was a girl who worked (the streets) with me and appeared dead, they took her eyes out. It scared me, my sisters got out and wanted to get me out, but I went from the streets to from night club to night club, dancing and doing everything.”
Then came the Mexico nightmare.
*In Costa Rica, at 15 with child a girl can obtain a cedula (ID) which allows her to obtain work.