When I was a child, I tried to see that my family was happy. When I was in elementary school, I remember when my father carried me on his shoulders. I felt very close to him. When I was a teenager, everything turned into black. Why? Because when I was 12 years old I already started to work. My first job was to be a nanny and to take care of a newborn baby after my graduation from elementary school. I worked there for almost two years. My first salary was $18 per month.

When I was 17 years old, I was working as an all around helper. At the time my salary was not enough, I think $55 per month for seven days a week. No rest.

I tried my best to find another job that had a high salary. I bought a newspaper and saw that a company was searching for a massage therapist. So I applied there. They did not require me to submit any official papers. Our payment was $333 per month. The thing I have in my mind is to have a good salary. Since I am the eldest child, I keep thinking in my mind I have to do this because we have no money.

The massage parlor owners trained me how to put on heavy make up. We lined up in the showroom with the beautiful lights. The manager buzzed us and if I knew there was a customer, I would pose. Every touch costs money. After the massage, the customer can pay money for more private services.

On the day of the rescue, I was there inside my room while the other girls were in their rooms. One of my coworkers called me because we had customers. When we got inside the showroom, we heard the buzzer. We had to put on the lights. I saw my boss at that time. I was so shocked because my boss said he’s just a customer there. But all the company records were there, so he cannot insist that he’s just a customer. I was covering my face because I was the one who was pointed out as a minor. The government official told me he knew I was a minor.

In court when the lawyer of my perpetrator asked me questions, I sat in my chair and I looked at him. I was not afraid. He was also one of the customers. They have no right to treat us as trash. If we’re trash, they are more trash than us.

I’m glad I was rescued because if I were still there, I don’t know what would have happened to me.

Now I have a lot of dreams. The first thing is for my family. I want them to have progress financially. What I want to have for myself is education, to finish my studies, to get a nice job, and to have a good family, a happy family. I want to change my family’s struggles with love.

Solid Ground International helps me in shelter, for guidance, for food, for daily needs, for my studies. Then of course to become closer to God. When we have our devotional time, I can easily open my heart, my problems. Then it will make me remember how important it is to keep praying.

SGI is different because I can feel free to do what I want but not things that are not good for me. Even those rules and regulations, it’s just good for our own sake. It’s not hard to accept or follow.

My goal, especially now, is to finish my studies in business administration or social work.  Then I will find a better job that is fit for my course and a job that has a balance in time.  It is my first choice to have a job that serves other people.

The stories are real, but the names of the residents have been changed to protect their identities.

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“SGI provides for the resident’s needs beyond the material, especially in their emotional healing. We are with them side by side and we support them.” – SGI Social Worker