Posted by The Star-Ledger December 24, 2007 12:00AM
A Life Saver
Colombian immigrant rescues refugees from war, human trafficking
Story by BY BRIAN DONOHUE / Photos by PATTI SAPONE
We are people with the same objective in life: we decided not to ignore injustice.
We are equal, with the same goals and dreams. Survivors are people who need to say how they feel, how they see the life. They need to be integrated into community. They need OUR love, and compassion.
For the last seven years of my life, I have been dedicated to help victims of human trafficking and refugees. I do not know other way to see my life.
I had the fortunate to meet the first victim of HT at CCAN. From that moment on, the journey became a battle with joy and with fear, knowing in every case that the battle worth it!
"I have no way to explain how it was. It was a sort of slow earthquake which produced strange commotions in the visible and psychological surface of my life". It has been building my personality; they have taught me another way to love.
Our job is to build a national campaign and strategy to fight human trafficking. It is a combination of many factors including public awareness and the provision of care in the most efficient way as a comprehensive and integrated program. In other words, I am a service provider and a researcher. I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most compassionate and caring people in this field. CCAN case workers, I.C.E & F.B.I' special agents, prosecutors,ORR- Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the DHHS-Rescue and Restore Campaign ‘staff, the USDOJ -OJP-OVC and BJA’s grants' officers, NGO's,the USCCB Refugee Resettlement/H trafficking program's Director, Program Managers, and specially with the survivors.Thus, every day I look forward to meet the needs of this unique population by identifying the victims and providing them with services to overcome that difficult situation.
By the way, I am the former Catholic Charities of Newark Refugee Resettlement & Human Trafficking Programs Director.
I hold a major in Government, Business and Public Affairs from Columbia University. Moreover, I have been attending and providing organized training programs on services to victims of crimes, ethics, refugees and human trafficking survivors by not -for- profit organizations and Federal government’s agencies through U.S.
During my time with CCAN I received the Archdiocese of Newark Sesquicentennial Golden Jubilee Medal, in 2004. I was also elected as a recipient of the Union County Human Relation Commission 2008 Unity Achievement Awards, on April 14, 2008.
" We do what we have to do. Although the heart guides quite specifically, we will never have a conflict when we will turn to our hearts". DM.