Ayuda Wins Big Case for Guatemalan Asylum Seeker, Trafficking Survivor

Ayuda Supervising Attorney, Katie Soltis, recently won an extremely arduous asylum case for her client Camila*, an indigenous Ixil Mayan from Guatemala and survivor of severe child abuse and labor trafficking.

Camila was kept as a slave in a locked room for much of her childhood. She was forced to work under supervision, was physically abused, and lived in horrific conditions, with no opportunity to go to school and no contact with the outside world. She had a bucket in the room in which to relieve herself and was only allowed to shower while being closely watched by her captor, who was her biological father.

She escaped when she was eighteen years old and fled to the United States to join her mother, who she had been separated from for many years. Camila’s mother herself had been forced to flee Guatemala when Camila was a very young child, after suffering years of domestic violence by Camila’s father and captor. Due to Camila’s resiliency, she was able to seek out the support she needed at Ayuda.

Katie, with the support of the Virginia legal team, filed more than 1000 pages of evidence in the case including expert witness statements, photographic and transcribed video evidence, forensic evaluations, psychological evaluations, and more. The team worked hard to find Ixil interpreters, translators, and experts throughout the United States, and in Guatemala, to provide evidence for the case.

This case presented many unique challenges and obstacles, but with the support of Ayuda’s social services team and language access program, Katie and the Virginia legal team were able to provide Camila the holistic support she so desperately needed.

Camila is thrilled to have legal status, be on the path to recovery, and finally move forward with her life here in the United States.

Consider making a donation today so more survivors like Camila can receive assistance. Thank you.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of Ayuda’s client