Imagine being 14-years-old. Your mother passes away, and your entire life is in upheaval as you grapple with her death.

Now imagine your father doesn’t value you at all and sells you into slavery.

This isn’t the twisted plot of a novel; it’s the reality that Cayla Robertson faced as a teenager.

When Cayla was only 14-years-old, her father sold her to pay off his gambling debt when her mother died. The teenager was dragged from her home and all she knew in China, and smuggled into Mexico and then into the United States.

Young Cayla was a victim of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a crime against humanity and is defined as “recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction… for the purpose of exploitation which shall include the of prostitution, or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services slavery or practices similar to slavery.”

Then fate – finally – intervened. The teenager was rescued by federal agents, and adopted into a loving home in Grand Haven. Her new parents loved and raised her; she graduated high school as an honor student and is graduating from Western Michigan University with honors. She also married Seth Roberts, a U.S. Air Force Veteran.

Cayla is a model citizen, yet once again is falling victim to a system without compassion or empathy.  Cayla is facing deportation back to China for not immigrating to the United States legally.  Her father and the cartel that smuggled Cayla into this country has threatened to kill her if she returns to China.

A woman who was victimized as a 14-year-old is about to be victimized once again, but this time by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It’s time for real immigration reform in our country. A non-violent woman who was smuggled into our country under unthinkable circumstances doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. It’s time for justice.

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