The lure of finally continuing her studies made her took the bait.
Jolens (not her real name) has experienced the struggles of growing up in a poor family. When her father died when she was a child, the burden became bigger. This fueled her to help her family financially and dream of pursuing her education.
So when a group of so-called missionaries of a spiritual group convinced her to join in their cause in exchange for sending her to school, she accepted without second thoughts. She did not even mind being separated from her family.
Members of the said missionary group initially shared that she has to help the group in spreading the good news of the Lord in public places. Jolens went as far as Cavite, Batangas and Mindoro to spread the word.
She also distributed envelopes asking for donations for a good cause. Whatever she gets, she gladly endorses to group.
However, the promise of being in school never came. Together with other girls like her, they were fed instant noodles and reprimanded whenever they endorse small collections. That was when she decided to run away.
Jolens’ escape wasn’t a smooth one, but she is still glad she did it.
Together with a colleague, they were caught by the coordinators in a pier in Batangas City and were abused physically. Gladly, this caught the attention of pier authorities, who assisted them in filing a complaint.
Through the interventions of the City Social Welfare and Development Office of Batangas City, Jolens was endorsed to the Regional Haven for Women, one of the institutions managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IV-A, in Rosario, Batangas.
The said residential facility provides protective and rehabilitative services to women who are victims of exploitation and abuse whether physically, sexually or emotionally.
Through the interventions provided to Jolens during her stay in the center, she learned to dream again. She was able to continue her secondary education while being provided services in the Regional Haven.
Last October 28, 2014, Jolens was integrated back to her family. Now, she is in fourth year high school.
Though she understands that her family may have not enough capacity to send her to college, she remains firm in her dreams of getting a diploma. She can get a work after graduation and save for college, but she will never be tricked again.***