One day, Lydia was walking with her son through downtown Santa Ana, Calif., passed a storefront food pantry serving the homeless, when she suddenly broke down in tears. Why are you crying? her son asked. “I say, you see these people? Your mom sometimes went over there because she don’t have food.”
Every year, the U.S. government issues as many as 15,000 visas granting legal status to foreign-born survivors of human trafficking, a more than $1 billion industry otherwise known as modern day slavery. Through the program, Lydia was able to begin putting her life back together. A Mexican citizen virtually held captive as a domestic servant by an Orange County couple for three years, Lydia struggled to survive and to be reunited with her family after her escape.