Myla H. Ningala
Awarded $15,000 Through the Live Your Dream Award.
Myla is a sex trafficking survivor who was able to return to school with help from the Live Your Dream Awards.
Myla H. Ningala of Baliwag, Bulacan, the Philippines, became a victim of human trafficking when she tried to escape poverty and create a better life for herself and her children. Though Myla was a stellar student earning honors, she had to drop out of school during her third year of high school to help her sick mother and earn money to help support the family. Myla eventually completed her high school education and enrolled in college, but again had to drop out because her mother could no longer afford to pay tuition.
Myla found factory work where she met the father of her three children, but after five years he left her, without explanation. “I tried to sell whatever commodities in the market I could to augment our daily needs,” she says. “I had to work hard to earn our living. Poverty pushed me to dream of something great for my kids, but my earnings were not enough to give them a better life and a good future.”
I tried to sell whatever commodities in the market I could to augment our daily needs,” she says. “I had to work hard to earn our living. Poverty pushed me to dream of something great for my kids, but my earnings were not enough to give them a better life and a good future.Myla H. Lingala, Live Your Dream Awards Recipient
Myla had always dreamed of working abroad when a neighbor approached her, asking if she wanted to work in Malaysia. She thought it was the answer to her prayers. Even though the salary was meager, it would provide a proper life. With her few earnings and the money she borrowed from a friend, Myla bought a ticket and headed off to Malaysia, leaving her children behind with her mother. That’s when her nightmare began. Her employers, a married couple, forced her to take drugs, and verbally, physically and sexually abused her. At one point, she managed to use her cell phone to call her mother for help, but when her employers caught her, they beat her, confiscated her phone and locked her in her room. For days and weeks, she was often imprisoned in her room, without food.
A Brave Escape
Myla finally managed to escape by writing a note, “Please help me!” and throwing it out the window. A security guard found the note and rescued her, but then, she was homeless, with no money, on the streets of Malaysia. For seven months, she did what she could to survive. She washed clothes and ran errands, but at one point was arrested by the Malaysian police and thrown into prison. Confined in a cramped cell, she and the other prisoners had little food or water, and had to sit in the hot sun for hours at a time. When a co-prisoner was being rescued, Myla begged her to get in touch with her mother, who eventually was able to arrange Myla’s release from prison.
I can now fulfill my dreams in life for my kids and for my mother.Myla H. Ningala, Live Your Dream Awards Recipient
Today, Myla is working on her bachelor of science degree in business administration at Baliwag University, majoring in computer science.