Gloria, a leader and organizer from the Popular Women’s Organization (OFP) and I responded to an emergency accompaniment. Minutes before calling CPT, Gloria had received a call from a friend at social services asking for support for a young woman who was attempting to flee from a situation of sexual slavery.
At the Prosecutor General’s office Yasmin,* whom we had been requested to accompany, shared with us her story: “I am from Medellin, but live in Bogota. I have a kid, no family to support me. I have a mother but…I got an offer to work in Barranca in a family home and then when I came I realized it was a brothel.” She continued to explain that on fleeing from the brothel she went to one of the small shops close to the bus station where the owner, a woman, helped her to get to the police station, who then directed her to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
After filing a report she decided that she wanted to travel to Bucaramanga where she would be safer. Gloria and I went with her to the bus station. Gloria took the young woman’s info and gave her, her phone number.
As an organization the OFP tries to document and follow-up on these cases and provide support or accompaniment to the victims, as in this case where the person is in danger or under threat. If the person needs to travel to another city, they provide her with contacts at their destination. Unfortunately most cases don’t have access to accompaniment from organizations like the OFP.
After buying her bus ticket we went back to the little shop across from the bus station to pick up Yasmins bag-pack. “Hola amiga! que tal?”, the daughter of the shopkeeper said with a kind of worry and happiness. They hugged happily and Gloria thanked them for their kindness and also gave them her phone number. The shops close to the bus station often notice these kinds of situations.
It was completely dark when the bus left for Bucaramanga. Gloria and bus driver exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch during the trip and make sure she arrived safely.
Yasmin said good-bye. She left with a sense of happiness that she is temporarily safe, and sadness of always being afraid of being in danger, because she is a woman!