We recently introduced you to Daniela* — a girl who was trafficked from Venezuela at just 14, lured by the false promise of a modeling job.
She was not the only one caught in this trap. A network of traffickers in Latin America ensnared vulnerable migrants escaping the instability of Venezuela. Once the young women were caught, the traffickers held them in sex work with a cruel demand: in order to leave, they had to find two others to take their place.
In 6 months of high-risk investigation, members of The Exodus Road’s Charlie team spoke with Daniela and the other girls in her situation. They were deeply moved by the impossible circumstances these girls endured. This heartbreak fueled them through months of dangerous reconnaissance and weeks away from family.
All of the sacrifices paid off one day in December.
With the information Charlie team collected, along with evidence from another nonprofit, multiple police departments mobilized in Operation Escondida. Splitting into two teams, police and operatives flooded the brothels, including the suburban house where Daniela had spent two years being sold for sex.
In addition to Daniela, they found one other teenage girl and 16 young women between the ages of 18 and 23. They also rescued two girls under the age of 8 from the brothels, children of the trafficked women.
All but two of the young women were trafficked from Venezuela, stranded in a country far from home. The women bravely gave statements to the police, and social workers arranged for the survivors to be transferred to aftercare services.
Meanwhile, 15 traffickers were arrested: 12 women and 3 men. They denied the charges, but Charlie team had done their job well. The evidence against the traffickers was irrefutable.
Operation Escondida was a triumph for freedom. Thanks to the dedication of The Exodus Road’s community — from the operatives to the donors who fund their work — justice is coming to places of exploitation.
Police have broken into this web of traffickers, and 20 survivors are free! This is cause for celebration. But this case is part of an even larger network still operating in Latin America. There are more girls like Daniela to find.
Will you help us pursue these traffickers and liberate their victims? Your gift is vital to continue this work for freedom.
Are you ready to free the next Daniela?
*Name and images are representative.