Freedom for Gladies!
Gladies was a modern-day slave. Although she was free to return home each night, the young girl was nevertheless in bondage—to her fears, to despair, and to the sexual predator next door.
As an innocent young girl, Gladies had happily accepted her neighbor’s invitation to visit her house. But when the neighbor’s husband shut the door, locked the gate, and stood guard outside the room, Gladies began to realize that this was no friendly invitation. She had been chosen by the “Queen of Cybersex” to pose and perform sexual acts for foreign customers over the Internet.
The abuse and enslavement continued for years. The neighbor would even go to Gladies’ school and force her to leave to record lewd acts for the gratification of a customer overseas.
Eventually, Gladies was rescued; she was sent to live at Happy Horizon’s Children’s Ranch (HHCR), an ALO-assisted compassion project that gives at-risk kids like her a safe and loving place to live, go to school, and heal. But inside, Gladies remained a slave to her past abuse.
When she first arrived at the ranch, she was always sad and crying. She had no dreams, no hope, and no joy. She believed that going to school was useless—that she had no future—and so she hated it. Convinced that God didn’t really love her, she felt unlovable. She felt insignificant and unworthy. She worried constantly for her family’s safety.
But the power of God broke through her prison of despair and broke the chains that kept her a slave. She experienced God’s love and once again felt lovable as His child. It was Gladies who identified the foreign customer to investigators. Her testimony led to the man’s conviction, and he was sentenced to 144 years in prison. Although she was afraid, she found the strength and courage to tell the truth about what had happened to her.
Those who abused Gladies are now in prison, but Gladies is free—free indeed!
She is thriving at Happy Horizons in her newfound freedom and hope. Recently, she took part in HHCR’s Performing Arts Festival, where she delivered an accomplished and rousing rendition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
When she said “Let freedom ring,” those words applied to her own life and newfound freedom as well.
Today, Gladies has a dream of her own. She dreams that one day, she will become a lawyer and free other girls like her. With God’s help—and the support of Happy Horizons’ Children’s Ranch, ALO, and friends like you—Gladies’ dream is within reach.
Let freedom ring!
"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." — John 8:36 NIV