Home can be a difficult place to visit — physically and emotionally.

Many people we work with feel that way.

Many come to the U.S. for better economic opportunities, to pursue their dreams.

And during their journey, their lives get entangled with people who take advantage of them, and many end up doing things they never intended to or work in conditions that are extremely exploitative.  

“Jinny’s” story is common among our clients.

Jinny’s friend told her that she could make a lot of money quickly in the U.S.

She found the idea of traveling and working appealing, so she got connected to a broker who arranged her travel documents.

When she arrived in the U.S., she was surprised that she had to work as a bar hostess and was told that if she engaged in sex work, she would make more money.

She resisted but ended up doing sex work because she could not stand the pressure from the bar owner and co-workers.

When she tried to leave, her co-workers told the owner about her plan, and Jinny was sold to a massage parlor in a different city.

The money to “buy” her was added, and she ended up owing more money.

There, she was forced to engage in prostitution and threatened that her family in Korea would get hurt, if she were to escape.

The massage parlor was raided and the police screamed at her in English and she was very scared.

In order to build her life the way she wanted it, she needed a work permit, someone she trusted to help her, and a safe place to call home.

We are a nonprofit organization called the SWP at the Urban Justice Center.

We provide free legal and social services for survivors of human trafficking and also work with clients who have worked or are currently working in the sex industry.

Before coming to us, many did not know that they were qualified to live and work in the U.S. legally and to remove criminal convictions as victims of human trafficking.

Also many do not know that they can get social services and talk to licensed therapists in safe, confidential settings.

Even though Jinny had a very difficult situation, she became documented and is living a free and safe life, attending school and making new friends.

She now talks about her dreams and goals and is working towards them.

If you or someone you know is being exploited or feels they have lost their freedom, please pass on our help line number.

We are here for all New Yorkers and would be happy to help.

Helpline: 646.602.5617

Website: https://www.urbanjustice.org/