When Ruby* was just 14 years old, her parents died, leaving her grieving and alone on their family farm in the Philippines. She thought her solitary life would end when a recruiter sent her a private message on social media offering her a job with their staff in a computer shop. The recruiter won her trust by offering free board and lodging while she worked for them, even offering to pay for the travel fare from her farm to the city of Pampanga, some 400 miles away.
The recruiter and her partner even sent an assistant to pick her up from the port. Imagine Ruby’s dismay when she discovered that the “job” she was about to do was far from what she was offered. Instead of working in a computer shop, she was locked in a house with other young girls and forced to perform sex acts in front of a web camera for paying customers around the world.
Online sexual exploitation of children is one of the fastest growing forms of modern slavery.**
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Ruby lost hope of being rescued, and attempted to escape once when she heard sirens outside. She cried out for help, but she was threatened with a kitchen knife by one of her captors. “At that point, I have lost all hope of escape,” Ruby remembers.
“I cried and prayed the entire night, ‘Lord, if you’re real, get me out of here!’”
Around that time, IJM helped Philippine authorities pinpoint Ruby’s location and rescued her along with five other girls enslaved in the house. The couple who ran the illegal operation were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Today Ruby is free and safe — her life restored
IJM placed Ruby in an aftercare home where she still lives today as she studies in college. She is even considering seeking a law degree with the hope of helping other girls who are trapped in exploitation and abuse. She has grown into an empowered Survivor Leader who uses her voice to help other victims of modern slavery.
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