START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
924,459 people care about Women's Rights

Stop Deportation Of Cayla Roberts, Sex-Trafficking Victim

Stop Deportation Of Cayla Roberts, Sex-Trafficking Victim

 

Cayla Roberts was 14 when smugglers, known as snakeheads, forced her from China into the United States for the sex trade in 2002. She was arrested before they put her to work. 

Now, she is facing deportation.

“Before we left China, the smugglers told me we can’t run away from them, because they know people up here, too, and they can find us,” Roberts, now 24, told 24 Hour News 8.

Roberts’ attorney says Cayla’s story illustrates the flaws in an immigration system that handles many people here illegally the same — whether they were adults who came here on their own, were children taken along by adults, or whether they were smuggled in.

Snakeheads Charge Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars To Smuggle Children Out Of China

In 2002, after her mother died, Cayla’s father sold her to smugglers, she said. 

”I have took care of you for 14 years now, and it’s your time to give back,” she recalled. 

Experts say snakeheads charge tens of thousands of dollars to smuggle Chinese children into the U.S.

And, the children are expected to send money back to their family in China. 

”Here you have a girl who’s brought here, her father basically sold her to satisfy a gambling debt, sold her into basically what amounts to slavery to work in the sex industry, the most despicable thing you can imagine,” said Cayla’s immigration attorney, David Koelsch, director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Her father dropped her off at a train station. 

At the end of the train ride, “there was some guy with my name on the paper, and I just kind of followed the guy.” 

The journey led her to Mexico, by plane, with 29 other smuggled Chinese immigrants, then into the U.S. through San Diego, she said. 

The snakeheads created a passport with a new name.

But before she reached the East Coast sex trade, men with guns and handcuffs pulled her and three other girls from a van, late in the night. 

These men were her saviors: San Diego police officers. 

Immigration officers flew her to a center for undocumented children in Chicago.

“Either I Will Kill You…..Or You Can….Just Kill Yourself”

She called her father. 

”There’s no home for you here anymore, and there’s two options if you ever come home,” she quoted him as saying. “One option is, either I will kill you, cuz there’s no home for you here anymore, or I will just give you a bottle of medicine and you can take care of it yourself, just kill yourself.”

Bethany Christian Services eventually brought her to a foster family in Grand Haven. 

She flourished, with nearly perfect grades at Grand Haven High School. She volunteered with her church to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, to work with poor children in Kentucky and in New York. 

Cayla got married more than a year ago, to Seth Roberts, after he got out of the Air Force. They met in high school and dated for two years.

In a few weeks, Cayla will graduate from Western Michigan University with degrees in psychology and interpersonal communications.

For nine years, Koelsch has fought to keep Cayla in the country without much success. In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected her request. 

Her last hope, Koelsch thought, was at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office in Detroit, and an Obama administration policy called prosecutorial discretion, which allows ICE attorneys to pick and choose who can stay and who must go.

Take Action For Cayla

Cayla can’t legally work here or get a driver’s license. 

The only way she can become a U.S. citizen is to return to China to get permission from that country — something that could take years. And, her attorney said, it could put her in danger — from the smugglers, her father, from China.

If you believe that Cayla Roberts deserves better treatment, please sign our petition telling the ICE: Don’t Deport Cayla Roberts, Victim of Sex-Trafficking!

 

Related Stories

Ending Sex Trafficking One Brothel At A Time

Justice And Cash For Sex Trafficking Victims

Why Shutting Down Sex Ads Fails Trafficking Victims

Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: screenshot from woodtv.com

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

145 comments

+ add your own
4:48AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

It's people like this who we should want in our country! Also, how can she be deported if she is married to an American? Isn't that like automatic citizenship right there?

5:57PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

China again *sigh* Petition signed. Hope it helps Cayla; not only was she a victim, but she would be a worthy member of the american community and also her life would be protected. Her father should be ashamed of himself, as should America if they go ahead with this unjust deportation.

3:16PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

David, I so agree!

12:40PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Without even taking into account the fact that Cayla would be an asset to any community, her life has been threatened should she returned to China. There is no question she should be allowed to remain, in my opinion.

12:21PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

I generally am not sympathetic to illegal immigrants, but that is predicated on the notion that they are people who are willfully violating our laws for personal gain. Someone who was brought here against her will to be enslaved is much different, especially considering that she will be in immediate danger because of these events (again, imposed against her will) as opposed to being in the 'danger' awaiting most deportees of merely being returned to the standard conditions of the place they voluntarily left.

10:24AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Who are the 2% arseholes voting against helping this unfortunate woman?

9:59AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

She is human. We need to help her

8:51AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

ty

7:10AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

i dnt think she should pay for her personal troubles let her stay as compensation for her tradegy

7:09AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

i dnt think she should pay for her personal troubles let her stay as compensation for her tradegy

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Best wishes for a Spectacular Saturnalia to all!

Good! It's a woman's decision! It's not taken lightly, keep politics out of it! Being forced to undergo…

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
ads keep care2 free

more from causes




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.