Abuk Bak

When her village in Southern Sudan was raided by an Arab militia in 1987, Abuk Bak—only 12 years old at the time—was kidnapped and subsequently enslaved for ten years. During that time, her master, Ahmed Adam, never once used her name; she was always abeeda. It was only after she escaped that she learned what it meant: her name for a decade was simply “black slave.”

Excerpt from Enslaved chapter two, "Beyond Abeeba":

"As we struggled, Ahmed Adam grabbed the knife that he carried in his sleeve and stabbed me in my right thigh.  The pain was so strong that he could not stop my screams, and he ran back into the house, afraid that his wife would hear...

"I knew right away that I would not stay to see another morning there, but my leg was bleeding badly.  I ripped a piece of cloth from my skirt and tied it around my thigh to try to stop the bleeding, and thought about how to escape.  I lay awake all night, knowing that if I ran away I could be found and severely beaten or killed, but I had to take a chance."

You can read about the rest of Abuk’s escape in Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery.  She received U.N. refugee status and now lives in Massachusetts, where she was reunited with her mother, sister, and brother.  Her father is still waiting in Southern Sudan to be granted refugee status so that he can rejoin his family in the U.S.

Learn more about Abuk's story and invite her to speak at your school, church or organization.

 

Beatrice Fernando

At age 23, estranged from her husband and with a young child to care for, Beatrice Fernando accepted a job as a maid in Lebanon. Leaving her son with her parents, she traveled far from her home in Sri Lanka, drawn by the promise of a good job, high wages and a better life for her son. Instead, Beatrice found herself in the hands of an abusive "employer" who locked her in her home, refused to mail her letters and cut her off from the outside world.

Excerpt from Enslaved chapter four, "Trapped on the Balcony":

"That morning after Lisha and the children left, I picked up the phone to call [my friend] Padma, but to my surprise the rotary antique phone, the only one in the house, was locked.  My heart pounding, I ran to the door to go downstairs and use the guards' phone, but the door was locked.  It was then that I realized I was trapped...I ran out onto the balcony to look for anyone who might be milling around on the grounds four floors down.  Nobody.  With a sinking sense of despair, I dragged myself back inside to begin my chores...

"This was just the beginning of what was to come.  Like a dog sensing it is in danger, my instincts were warning me.  It was clear now that danger lay ahead, and I tried to be more cautious.  With no way to send for help and no place to hide, I had only two weapons, my faith in God and my love for [my son].  So I prayed each second of the day, while the image of my son's innocent face hovered in my mind.  This gave me the courage to stay focused on one goal--escape."

In 2005, Beatrice testified before the U.S. Congress in support of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.  As an Associate of the American Anti-Slavery Group, she speaks about her experience all over the country to audiences ranging from middle-school students to politicians.  With the support of AASG, she is working on her own direct aid program.

To learn how Beatrice escaped, purchase your copy of Enslaved today, and then invite Beatrice to share her story with your community. 


 

Micheline Slattery

 

After being orphaned at the age of five, Micheline became a victim of restavec—a system of institutionalized child slavery in Haiti.  At 14, she was trafficked to Connecticut, where she was held as a slave by a cousin until her escape 4 years later.  Today, Micheline speaks out about modern day slavery around the country.

Excerpt from chapter 1 in Enslaved, "The Journey of an Orphan":

[After my parents died,] my aunt and her family accepted me into their lives.  But...I was put to work.  My aunt used me as the family maid.  Though I was only five years old, I was given a long list of chores that kept me busy sunrise to sunset.  I was to wake up at six every morning, in the cool of dawn.  I would dress quickly and rush through the mist-hung jungle, half-asleep, to fill three one-gallon buckets at the lake five miles from our home.  Four or five times in one day, I would make the journey.  There were no roads or even footpaths...

If ever the water supply ran low, I would be whipped without mercy by my aunt, who used flexible rods designed for the purpose.  I still remember the pain.  Once, though I forget my transgression, I was whipped so severely by my aunt that a gash opened on my back.  My aunt went inside to the kitchen, sliced up a handful of lemons, added handfuls of salt, and rubbed them into the wounds.

Learn more about Micheline's story in chapter one of Enslaved.