Charity Chat: Breaking Women Free from the Human-Trafficking Cycle
By CAROLINE BRENNAN
Rosi Orozco grew up in a “loving family” where she said she “received so many blessings.”
And it was this fortunate personal history that she said embedded in her a sense of giving back to the community.
For the past 16 years, Orozco has devoted her time and energy to an afflicted segment of society that has suffered as human trafficking victims in Mexico, through her charity Comisión Unidos Vs Trata.
It all started back in 2005, when Orozco began working with an NGO called Concerned Women from America to help Mexican families affected by drugs, alcohol abuse and marital strife.
However, it was a pivotal event in Washington D.C. that same year that changed her life, a cause she said that found her.
Along with representatives from 22 other NGOS Concerned Women from America invited to attend a bridge project developmental workshop. Orozco viewed a human-trafficking documentary that moved her to action.
On her return to Mexico City, she and her husband, Alex, started creating shelters for human-trafficking victims in Mexico.
In 2007, they opened the first shelters for sexually exploited women and minors.
Orozco aligned her efforts with the UN’s Blue Heart Campaign, which advocates against global human trafficking. (A blue heart is the internationally recognized symbol for human trafficking.)
And in 2009, when Orozco became a federal deputy for Mexico City in 2009, she helped launch a national anti-trafficking law.
And at the end of her legislative term in 2012, Orozco created the Comisión Unidos Vs Trata to aid, assist and shelter human-trafficking victims in a bid to restore and rebuild their lives.
The girls, women and boys she now shelters have been victims of an array of atrocities, including sexual exploitation, forced labor and prostitution.
Currently, this shelter, located in an undisclosed location in the south of the city, houses 24 victims and four infants (all conceived by abusers).
According to Orozco, most of these girls and boys choose not to return to their homes or families, since most initially escaped their situations due to domestic violence and weak family structures.
Caught up in a vicious cycle of abuse, the girls would come to the city to escape their unbearable home environments only to find themselves exploited by traffickers, who abused them even more.
Comisión Unidos offers them a chance to empower themselves and break free from their pimps and abusers.
One Comisión Unidos success story is that of “María” (not her real name), a young woman who managed to overcome a dysfunctional family history and prostitution to become a worker at the very shelter that helped her break free from the human-trafficking nightmare.
“Everyone can start a new life,” María told Pulse News Mexico. “No matter what situation they find themselves in, it is never the end.”
Orozco documented the story of María and other human-trafficking victims in her first book “Del Cielo al Infierno en un Día” (“From Heaven to Hell in a Day”), which became a theatrical production in 2018.
In a second book, “Hoja en Blanco” (“Blank Page”), Orozco documents some of her organization’s success stories, including that of “Marcela,” who overcame human trafficking to end up with a job at Mexico’s Supreme Court, using the skills she learned from the NGO’s services.
Aside from shelter, Comisión Unidos provides the girls with food, psychological and psychiatric care, legal consultation, social work and education.
Tutors are brought in to help the girls finish their high school diplomas, and they are taught skills such as sewing, cooking and beautician work.
The cost of maintaining these multifaceted programs is about 600,000 pesos a month, no small sum for an organization that depends heavily on donations.
Neither Orozco nor her husband receive any financial compensation for their work at Comisión Unidos, but the NGO does have a salaried staff, and the organization is now desperately seeking funds to stay afloat.