Maria Suarez

Maria was just 15 years old when she came to America from Mexico. She arrived in California and went on a job interview to be a maid. When she got inside, her "interviewer" locked the door and told her he owned her body from that moment on. After several years of being enslaved by her captor (an older man), Maria was convicted of murdering him—a crime she didn't commit. She then spent over 22 years in prison as an innocent woman. Breaking Free tells Maria's shocking and inspiring story, and how through hope and perseverance she surged forward into freedom. Since her release from prison, Maria has been courageously sharing her story as an advocate against human trafficking. She also works as a counselor to help other abuse victims and is starting a nonprofit organization to continue her fight against modern slavery.

More About Maria Suarez
Maria Suarez works as the primary bilingual Talkline counselor at the National Council of Jewish Women/LA in the Women Helping Women (WHW) Program. WHW is "dedicated to providing high-quality, integrated mental health and supportive services to a diverse community of women, children, and families at-risk and in need." Maria also works with The Coalition Against Trafficking (CAST) based in Los Angeles, California. CAST offers shelter, food, supportive counseling, and critical legal services to trafficking victims.

In 2013, Maria received the Unsung Heroes of Los Angeles Award from the California Community Foundation. The award recognizes individuals for their extraordinary acts of charitable giving so that their example will inspire others.

Maria continues to forge ahead with her desire to end modern slavery. She is currently launching her own nonprofit organization called The Maria Suarez Foundation (MSF). MSF strives to prevent abuse and rescue and rehabilitate survivors of trafficking.

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