With support from EverFree, one survivor had the courage to testify against her trafficker.
16-year-old Ella believed she was on her way to a promising job opportunity.
A neighbor persuaded her to accept a well-paying job in Kampala. She even gave Ella money and a phone and insisted on helping her get from their town to the city. As the eldest of four siblings, Ella felt that a good, reliable job would be a chance to help her family survive.
Ella’s neighbor picked her up very early in the morning. She insisted on holding onto the money and phone she had previously given Ella, for safekeeping until they got to the city. She then rushed Ella to her “transport,” waiting nearby. The neighbor handed Ella to two men on a motorcycle taxi, who forced her to inhale chloroform until she passed out.
Ella later woke up in a small, dark room surrounded by nine men.
She was sexually assaulted every day for seven days straight. At times, Ella would overhear the men arguing amongst themselves whether to kill her or just dump her by the road. They sedated her once more.
When Ella regained consciousness, she found herself in an unknown town. She was in horrific physical pain. A passerby came across Ella and helped her reach her parents, who had been on a frantic search for their daughter.
Suffering from extensive trauma, Ella was referred to EverFree’s aftercare shelter where she immediately received care, counseling, and legal aid.
EverFree stood by Ella through months of court hearings. Thanks to Ella’s courageous testimony, the court sentenced her trafficker to 20 years in prison.
What’s more, she will be forced to pay Ella restitution. EverFree’s legal team has further hope that the investigation will lead to identification and accountability for the nine men now on the run.
But for now, Ella is focusing on healing and pursuing her education as she continues to receive follow-up care from EverFree. Upon winning her court case, Ella quoted Cornel West, saying, “Justice is what love looks like in public!”
Learn more about EverFree’s mission to bring freedom to survivors of human trafficking through holistic care, education, job placement, and reintegration support.