Victims Voices: Rizal

Rizal received assistance through the NGO ‘Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking’ in the United States

After finishing secondary school in the Philippines, Rizal wanted to go to university, but his family was very poor and he needed to work. He found a job at a hotel, but after a few years he was laid off. He was desperate to help his family, so when he learned about an employment agency offering good jobs in the United States, he took a loan to pay the agency fee, confident he would quickly earn the money back.

In the United States, Rizal was promised a job in a restaurant, but instead he was made to clean hotel rooms. He worked very long hours and was paid almost nothing. He wanted to quit, but his supervisor threatened him with arrest and deportation.

When a co-worker ran away and sent word from Los Angeles, Rizal and his other co-workers decided to escape and follow him. Once there, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) helped them seek justice against the hotel and agency. Today Rizal’s trafficker is in prison.

CAST also secured permanent U.S. residency for Rizal, now 28. Today he is studying business management and he wants to start his own company: “I will be a manager who treats employees fairly and with respect.”

The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking provides comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking in Los Angeles, California, including legal aid, shelter and social services. It also provides training and technical assistance to law enforcement, health and human service providers, lawyers and organizations that work with trafficked persons to ensure that they receive fair treatment as victims of a crime.

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