Hope and Healing

Jan 13, 2023

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This is the first of two blogs sharing heartwarming successes of Orange County’s anti-trafficking program and safe home. (Note: The names have been changed to protect our guests.)


Sara's Human Trafficking Story


Sara arrived at The Salvation Army Orange County’s safe home in January last year.

Sara escaped her trafficker after being held hostage in dark, dingy motel rooms for over a year. During this horrific time, she avoided mirrors at all costs as she could not stand her reflection. Filled with shame, Sara was robbed of her mental and physical health as she endured violent physical abuse by her trafficker that has left her with permanent, physical injuries. All of Sara’s personal items and identifying documents were taken from her, leaving her without an identity and nothing familiar, or any keepsakes, that could comfort her or remind her of her former, free life.

Since arriving at Thatiana’s House, Sara has been overwhelmed by gratitude. However, her grateful spirit is haunted with grief as she is working through the trauma sustained during her year in captivity.

“My favorite part of the day is when I come home and have my own room, which is safe,” said Sara.

The Salvation Army Orange County's Anti-Trafficking Services (ATS) has provided Sara with clothing and groceries. Additionally, ATS has helped her get a phone and assists with monthly payments. She meets with her Case Manager, who is helping her grow stronger daily, and eventually will make a plan for the next steps in her recovery as the ultimate goal is for her to live an independent life. Currently, Sara has started the process of getting her birth certificate and social security card, which will then allow her to get a new ID.

While some days are better than others, Sara is once again able to look in the mirror and recognize the person staring back at her. After the year she was held prisoner, she is committed to her recovery and remains hopeful for her future. More than anything, Sara wants to remain free and enjoy the simple things in life, like walks on the beach or painting her nails. With time, it is our goal to help Sara build her feelings of confidence and self-worth, go back to school or get a job, and be in a position where she is able to fully utilize the gifts God has bestowed unto her, maximizing her fullest potential.

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