If you had any doubt that slaves exist right here in the United States, this story will set you straight. Rose and Christie were trafficked from their native Cameroon and enslaved as domestic servants in a Washington, D.C. household. Their story of survival is depicted in the documentary “Dreams Die Hard,” produced by Free the Slaves.
Here is their story:
Rose and Christie were just teenagers in Cameroon when they were promised a chance to go to school in the United States. What they got was—slavery.
They worked 15 hours a day for years—they were paid nothing. Rose was beaten. Finally, she couldn’t take any more.
Rose opened the door and ran. She wasn’t wearing shoes, it was October and bitterly cold in suburban Washington, D.C.. She was frightened, “and I told myself I really give up I don’t care whatever happen with my life right now I think I’ve tried my best running away…” Rose called the number of a Cameroonian man who visited her slave owner’s house occasionally and seemed concerned about Rose. The man picked her up hours later.
Another Cameroonian man found out what was happening. He took Rose into his home. Rose told him there were others just like her. Eventually, Rose was reunited with her friend Christie and other young Cameroonian girls who had been enslaved.
Local anti-slavery activists championed the young women’s cause. There were court cases, convictions and freedom. Even success stories of former slaves are tempered with longing for what was lost or never gained. The women lured to the US by the holy grail of education never did get to go to school. Today they are working and paying for their brothers and sisters to go to school in Africa. And Rose has started a family of her own.
Her message to slaves? Run. “Don’t wait there’s so much things you can do with your life than just sitting in one spot and having all day abuse or doing nothing with your life so just, just get out and find help. People will help you. They help out there.”