Damayan trafficking survivor-leaders reunite with their children after years of separation

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a community to reunite a migrant family.

Feb 4 was a huge night for Damayan. Trafficking survivors and Damayan Chair Josie Gutierrez and Damayan Board Member Cecille Venzon were reunited with their children after years of being separated. Josie finally embraced two of her four kids after fourteen years.

"I didn't cry when I saw them because I've been crying for the last fourteen years. The time for drama is over. It's time to be happy now," said Josie.

Cecille, in a dramatic gesture, threw her sign and ran towards her four kids as soon as she saw them. There were so much tears, laughter, and photo moments all around. More than 15 Damayan leaders, members and friends came to support.

This is a major victory for our community. Just as we uphold and promote the rights of trafficked workers, we also celebrate victories such as families being reunited.

Damayan ng Kabataan (Damayan Youth), Damayan's new youth organizing program, prepared banners and gift boxes for the youth. The gift boxes contained a New Immigrant Youth Handbook prepared especially for them, a Damayan t-shirt, and an NYC subway map. Damayan ng Kabataan will help support the youth transition into their new lives and help them navigate future challenges ahead.

From Damayan, we would like to thank Josie and Cecil's lawyers (including Terri Nilliasca), Safe Horizon, Monette Rivera from Balitang America, our dear allies, and, most of all, the domestic workers who are rising up not just for their families but for other workers and families

Tuloy ang laban! The struggle continues! #damayanfamilies #baklas #damayanngkabataan #familyreunification