“Ana” is an indigenous Mayan woman who at age 19 was recruited by a woman in her village who promised her a good job in the United States. When Ana arrived here, she was taken to rural Miami-Dade County where she began to work at a plant nursery run by Juan.

After a few weeks, Juan began to charge Ana for her food, rent and clothing, always reminding her that she owed him for her trip to the US. Ana worked every day for 12 hours and the little money she made went to pay for her food and clothes. After 6 months, Juan raped Ana and demanded that she keep working for him. Ana wanted to flee but was living in a remote area, is illiterate and only speaks her indigenous language.

Juan began controlling every aspect of Ana’s life. He also stopped paying Ana for her back-breaking labor. She was forced to work and live as Juan’s “wife” for 10 years and was regularly beaten and raped by Juan and bore three of his children. She thought about escaping but knew she couldn’t because Juan had her passport and IDs. Juan also constantly threatened Ana that she would never see her children again if she left.

One day, Ana saw a small window of opportunity and, risking everything, called the police who responded quickly and took her to a domestic violence shelter, where she was referred to AI Justice’s LUCHA program for legal help.

AI Justice attorneys obtained a trafficking visa for Ana in November, enabling her to access benefits that will help her recover from years of abuse. She is now living safely with her three children.