On Thursday, May 18th, the Girls for the Last Girl team were lucky enough to attend Cast’s 19th annual From Slavery to Freedom Gala. Cast is the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, a nonprofit organization that works to end modern slavery through education, advocacy, and empowering survivors. The Gala’s main objective was to raise money for the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP), a federal program that supplies money for survivors trafficked from other countries to the U.S. Due to recent and impending decreases in government funding for this issue, it’s imperative to continue to protect victims of the sex-trade. Cuts to these departments make victims not only more susceptible to trafficking, but also unable to obtain resources for recovery.
Aside from various auctions and fundraising, Cast honored a few important members of their community, one of whom was Tzighe Mesfun. Tzighe, originally from Eritrea, Asmara, was lured to Los Angeles by a man who promised her a generous salary to work as a maid. She jumped at the opportunity of a fixed income, hoping it would help her achieve her lifelong dream of sending her daughter to college. When Tzighe arrived in Los Angeles, she was barred from calling her family and forced to work as an unpaid sex slave for three years. Tzighe escaped her captor and was found by a good Samaritan who led her to Cast, where she has established a support system and become a vital member of the Cast family. On Thursday night, Tzighe was honored with the Courage Award.
It was a privilege to be in the presence of such a brave and kind woman like Tzighe; her story and the grace with which she told it was both touching and inspiring. We are so grateful to Cast for letting us attend and sponsor this empowering event!