Author Archives: Ima Matul

About Ima Matul

Ima is survivor of child labor trafficking. In 1997, at age 17, Ima was trafficked to the United States and enslaved for 3 years as a domestic servant. After reaching out to a neighbor for help, she was able to escape. The neighbor connected her to the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), an LA Based agency that provides services and advocacy for survivors of human trafficking. In 2005 Ima joined CAST’s Survivor leadership and advocacy program. She actively speaks at local and national conferences and trainings, as well as meets with state and federal legislators, officials, academics and celebrities to advocate for increased protections for survivors. In 2010, Ima received the CAST Seeds of Renewal award for her leadership, a recognition that was given to her by fellow survivors. In 2012 she was recognized by President Barack Obama at the Clinton Global Initiative when he announced a major U.S. government initiative to combat modern-day slavery in the United States and abroad. Ima joined CAST staff in 2012, and is currently leading the Survivor Leadership program and coordinating the National Survivor Network, an initiative launched in 2011 to provide survivors with a platform for advocacy and peer to peer mentorship and support. To learn more about Ima or to request her to speak in your community, visit Ima's main page.

Unlikely Heroes Gala

I was honored at the Unlikely Heroes 2nd Annual Gala on October 19th in Los Angeles. I was honored for the Hero Award along with other individuals who are active in the anti-human trafficking movement. Unlikely Heroes is an organization in Los Angeles. “Unlikely Heroes currently operates a restoration home for child survivors of sex slavery in the Philippines. Unlikely Heroes is also in the midst of pioneering additional rescue and restoration projects internationally. Their next home will open in Mexico,” as said on their website.  Holly Smith was asked by the organization to nominate someone who works in anti-trafficking working to make changes and an impact. I received a letter saying they wanted to honor me in the gala and it was such an honor. I want to dedicate this award to all the survivors of human trafficking. I know that everyone else deserves to be honored for the work that they do. It is not easy doing this work especially for a survivor because not everyone is comfortable in sharing his or her story to the public. That is why I think everyone who works for this movement should be honored for this award.

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Trafficked for slave labor, Ima Matul survived with CAST

Holly Austin Smith, another survivor of slavery activist and speaker, writes about Ima Matul in the Washington Post.

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