Gerthon Saint Preux wanted only one thing as a teenager living in Haiti: to live the American dream. But after he arrived here, he realized he was living the dark nightmare of a child trafficked for labor.
When he arrived, his sponsor put him to work at her store, and also gave him chores in her home. There was always a reason why he couldn’t start school. And when his visitor’s visa ended, it only got worse. Besides working at the sponsor’s store seven days a week, he cooked and cleaned at her house, without ever being paid. He ate scraps and had to sleep on the floor.The sponsor monitored Saint Preux’s phone calls and convinced him that police were his enemy. Even though he interacted with people every day in her store, he never spoke up or asked for help. The terrified teen even considered suicide.
Saint Preux’s father rescued his son after several months. Because he was a victim of trafficking, Saint Preux was able to bring his entire family to the U.S.
Federal agents investigated the case but Saint Preux said he did not want to see his sponsor prosecuted. He simply wants his story to help restore hope for one child and help put an end to human trafficking.
Learn more at Mark Santia’s NBC New York 4 article: American Dream Turns to Nightmare for Teen Trafficked for Labor.