Alejandro*, a victim of trafficking in both his home country and in the United States, was referred to Ayuda’s social services program by US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).

Alejandro was living in an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter for about two years, during which time he was diagnosed with epilepsy. When he was released to live with his cousin, ORR told his cousin that he needed to be seen by a doctor after he was released. This never happened. Moreover, his cousin barely cared for him, providing him on the most basic necessities. He kicked him out when he turned 18 years old.

This is when USCRI referred him to Ayuda.

It wasn’t until Alejandro came to Ayuda that he was connected to a medical doctor. He suffered several seizures before he was able to see a doctor. Additionally, Alejandro had a lot of other needs, including: Housing, clothing, access to food, dental care, knowledge of how to use the Metro system and other life skills. He also needed access to an immigration attorney.

An Ayuda social services’ case manager helped Alejandro access all the things he so desperately needed. We assisted him apply for Medicaid, secured food for a year, obtained rental assistance, basic needs funds and transportation through the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP).

We also were able to provide him the legal support he needed by connecting him with our own legal program and Ayuda attorneys are working with him to apply for both asylum and a t-visa. Once his basic needs were met, our team assisted him to enhance his education and life skills.

Ayuda’s social services program is so crucial in supporting immigrant victims of human trafficking and other crimes. Our team is there when a client, like Alejandro, is in crisis and needs immediate protection. We work with clients to identify their unique needs and goals, and help them overcome obstacles so survivors can heal and recover. This is Ayuda’s holistic approach.

Today, Alejandro is doing better, both physically and mentally. He is working and saving money, and will be starting college in Fall 2020. He is thankful for the work Ayuda does to provide social services and legal aid to survivors like himself.

Support Ayuda today so we can continue to provide the life-saving, holistic legal, social and language access services our immigrant neighbors need.

*Name has been changed to protect client’s identity