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Free from Chains: Mexico's Slavery Survivors Defy Stigma on Road to Recovery

Anastasia Moloney - Reuters Foundation
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September 5, 2016

CNN's Rafael Romo speaks with a young woman who survived five years of slavery, torture and hardship. (CNN)

When her captives tied the chains around her waist a little looser than usual, Zunduri knew it was her chance to escape.

Wriggling free, she dashed out of the dry cleaning shop in Mexico City where she had been enslaved, beaten and starved for more than half a decade.

“There is no part of my body without scars,” Zunduri told Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview from her home in Mexico’s capital, recalling an ordeal that shocked Mexicans as one of the worst slavery cases to come to light in the city.

And as her alleged tormentors await trial, her example has inspired others to speak out as they seek justice and try to rebuild their lives.

While Zunduri reported the crime to police and gave testimony, prosecutors and activists say thousands of slavery cases remain invisible as many victims don’t come forward due to fear of reprisal from traffickers.

Nearly 380,000 people are trapped in modern slavery in Mexico, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation.

“In Mexico we still have people who are slaves in homes, especially children, who work in exchange for food, water and a bed,” said Rosi Orozco, who heads the Commission United Against Human Trafficking, a Mexican non-governmental organisation.

She said the message Zunduri and other prominent survivors promote is that lives can be rebuilt after slavery.

Read the rest at Reuters Foundation

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