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  • Writer's pictureKim Westfall, Founder

Survivors are bringing light into the lives of others!

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

We get to share mere glimpses into the lives of survivors with you. You hear about a rescue, a legal battle won, or a new job. So much more goes on in the healing journey of a woman who has seen brutality and trauma at the hands of traffickers. From the rescue through therapy, training, and reintegration into a community there are many steps and many people who touch the life of one person.

Trusting, nurturing relationships are key to someone who has experienced such distrust and fear. One key component to the model of the Sanctuary is a comfortable and safe environment in which these kinds of relationships can form between survivors as they heal together. You’ve heard pieces of two women’s stories, but not how their lives have come together.

Luminita’s story begins like many others who are caught in the traps of traffickers. A Business and Management student with a bright future, she was introduced to a man visiting from another country. She believed her cousin and this man when they made plans for a vacation, and she was charmed by the man’s kindness.

But once she and her new “boyfriend” arrived in Western Europe, he changed and she was trapped, along with other women. "I had no idea that for the next fourteen months I would be dressed like them, abused by this ugly drunkard and by many other men. I had no idea that I would live in hell,” Luminita says.

Luminta was finally able to escape and to begin healing back in Romania. Over two years later, she is back on track to becoming the business woman she dreamed of being. She has participated in our “Sew Good” initiative, teaming up with other survivors who learned to sew to create business plans.

Like Luminita, Annabelle was tormented and abused by her traffickers. She dreamed of escape and was able to get to a phone to call an emergency line. Our European Director braved muddy and unpaved roads, freezing temperatures, and even wild dogs to get to Annabelle. He coordinated with our partners in law enforcement to make sure Annabelle could safely escape and her trafficker could be taken down.

Annabelle was freezing and hungry when she escaped and we ensured she received medical care, clothing, and food. She had several broken ribs and severe injuries and she weighed less than 80 pounds. Only 17 when she was rescued, she dreamed of being free for Christmas and we were able to place her alongside a loving family to enjoy a real Christmas dinner.

Today Annabelle is doing well and excelling at school. Luminita has taken her under her wing and is helping her rebuild her life. She is able to mentor Annabelle, encourage, and strengthen her through her healing process. Luminita is bringing light into another survivor’s life!

The environment of the Sanctuary is ideal for the ongoing healing of survivors just like these two. These girls can experience the beauty of nature, the comfort of a safe home, and the healthy, bonding relationships.

We can’t wait to see many more survivors like these thriving at the Sanctuary. Your support makes it possible.

Help us unlock transformation for survivors!

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