Sofia* is a Latin American woman and mother of two children, who recently received humanitarian protection through Casa Cornelia’s Victims of Crime program.
When Sofia* was 17, she met her future husband Miguel*. They started a family together and eventually moved to the United States. However, Sofia did not know that moving to the U.S. served a hidden purpose: Miguel had embezzled from his work place and was fleeing the country.
Life in the U.S. seemed fine for a while, but eventually, Miguel became verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. Fragile and exhausted from his behavior, Sofia took the children and left him. Thinking of her children’s well-being, Sofia chose to maintain contact with Miguel, allowing him to visit the children on the weekends.
To her horror, during a weekend visitation, Miguel kidnapped the children. Sofia filed police reports in the U.S. and in her country of origin, but never received follow-up information or support. Distressed, she took it upon herself to search for the children. After almost a year of searching, Miguel contacted her with an ultimatum. In order to see her children, he demanded that she sell her belongings and relocate to the city where he and the children were living. Out of desperation, Sofia complied with her husband’s orders. During their time away from their mother, Miguel told the kids that she abandoned them. Sofia knew that, no matter how much Miguel had manipulated her kids, telling them the truth would put her at risk of losing them again.