UNITED STATES: Harold D’Souza is a survivor of labor trafficking and debt bondage in the United States of America. Originally from India, Harold is well educated and experienced in sales management. He stepped down from a senior management position in order to pursue the American Dream which he believed was within his reach. Harold came to the U. S. following the advice and encouragement of a man who would become his trafficker.
“Survivors are poor starters but strong finishers. I am a common man, a failure, and a sinner in life. But I believe that what your mind can conceive and believe you can achieve. One day during my rough days, when my trafficker hired a ‘HIT MAN’ to kill me I decided to turn all obstacles into opportunities. Honesty wins over ‘EVIL’. The day I decided to pull up my socks, dust myself, and rise to the occasion, was the last day of living my life in fear. Silence or suicide is not an option, choice, or solution,” says Harold.
Harold has been married to Dancy D’Souza for 27 years, with their sons Bradly and Rohan. “Dancy and I have started a non-profit Eyes Open International registered under 501 (c) 3, focused on prevention, education, protection, and empowerment of victims, survivors, vulnerable population, and community members globally. EOI aims to open branches in 50 countries,” Harold told Transcontinental Times.
Inspiration for positive social work
“I cannot change the past, but I will cultivate a positive belief in the present and future; beginning with my life and, transforming the life of Dancy, Bradly, and Rohan. Charity, happiness, peace, and freedom begins from home,” believes the survivor-advocate and public speaker.
“Two of my victims’ friends died, who I met in the United States during my trafficking situation. Their death went unnoticed. Victims are considered as ‘commodities’. Every human being has the ‘Human Right’ to live with freedom. In 2003 my sons suffered a horrendous trauma. I do not want a single-family, child, or human being to suffer the same pain,” said Harold.
Human trafficking: A global issue
“The global issue today is the pandemic, but also our community members across the world are more vulnerable to ‘Labor and Sex Trafficking’ during a pandemic. The obvious reason is poverty, no government support, unemployment, and financial crisis. It is the human responsibility of every human being, not only survivors, philanthropists, or government officials. Any common man can bring in the change to combat human trafficking and, COVID-19. Human Trafficking is man-made. It is created by greed and exploitation of innocent people. This will change with the education of Human Rights. Human Rights is the birthright of every child born on this planet. There should be no discrimination of caste, color, creed, nationality, and status,” thinks Harold.
Word of advice
“The actual problem across the globe, today is that social workers, NGOs and, activists are competing with each other. Our mission is to help victims not compete. We all are in different boats but sailing to the same destination to combat human trafficking globally. America is a destination country for victims of labor trafficking. Many countries are the source, transit, and destination for victims of human trafficking.”
“I believe making a mistake is not a mistake, but repeating one is a big mistake. One must learn from past mistakes (like I did) and empower community members to live with happiness, peace, and freedom.”
Lastly, Harold mentioned a documentary film produced and directed by Benjamin Ryan Nathan, ‘To Be Free’ featuring his life story. The film shines a light on the pervasiveness of labor trafficking in the United States, how we can spot it in our neighborhoods, and the steps we can take to eradicate this form of modern-day slavery in a systemic way. Not only that, but another blockbuster biopic film is in progress on the life of Harold D’Souza from India to the White House to Silver Screen.