Viviana came to the U.S. from Costa Rica in 2010 after a “friend” she met told her that her mother-in-law was looking for a nanny in Washington, D.C. Leaving her two young children behind, she arrived to take the job. When she got to the airport, her friend was not there. Instead, the mother-in-law was waiting for her, telling Viviana that she owed her money for the flight and she knew exactly how she was going to pay her back.
Viviana’s “friend” had just sold her for $300.
The woman became her trafficker and forced Viviana to sleep with 10 men that night. This continued for the next 10 days, with no eating or cooking without permission, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., living in an apartment with as many as eight women, including a mother and daughter that were being trafficked together. Although Viviana eventually got to return to Costa Rica, she made trips back to the U.S. for months to be trafficked.
For human traffickers, “we are not human beings to them; we are assets,” Viviana says.
While in Washington, D.C., Viviana slept with lawyers, doctors, police officers, congressmen; people in high-profile positions who regarded her as a sex object.
For the next eight years, Viviana was sold repeatedly for sex in a Miami apartment building. Feeling helpless, angry and ashamed, Viviana tried ending her life five different times. She finally got out of her situation after reading an article on the Internet about human trafficking. She then understood that she wasn’t a prostitute; she was a victim of a crime.
Thanks to the help of Somy Ali and No More Tears, Viviana has received services from an immigration attorney, dentist and OB/GYN, as well as therapy and help enrolling in school. Viviana is also being trained to be a public speaker so she can share her story with the world. She hopes to one day start her own charity in Costa Rica that helps survivors of human trafficking.
Learn more about Viviana by watching the sit-down video interviews she had with No More Tears Founder, Somy Ali: