Dunia Zelaya

Dunia is a survivor of human trafficking and domestic violence. Dunia was trafficked by her own
mother at an early age; she was forced to work in different bars every night and perform sex acts
with multiple customers. Her mother used to force her to drink alcoholic beverages before she
started working in order to numb her. Although Dunia wasn’t safe in her own home; she had
nowhere to go.

Through time, going to school helped her understand that the life her mother subjected her to
was not normal. Dunia was able to escape from her mother’s grip but all the abuse she endured
as a child left her vulnerable and susceptible to violent relationships. After years of enduring
domestic abuse, she found strength and meaning through her children. She was finally able to cut
the chains of her abuse in order to provide a better life for them.

Dunia is currently receiving support from Homeboy Industries, an organization that provides
services to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women. Homeboy
provided her with intensive case management and legal services, which helped her get stabilized
and allowed her the space to heal. She was also able to attend school and get certified as a Drug
and Alcohol Counselor and Professional Facilitator for victims of domestic violence.

More recently, Dunia joined the CAST Survivor Advisory Caucus. She is also interning with
CAST’s Survivor Leadership Program. Dunia is very passionate about speaking out against
human trafficking and hopes that by doing so, she will be able to prevent others from falling prey
to this hideous crime. Dunia is also the Vice-President of the Alumni Association at Shield’s for
Family, another organization that provided assistance throughout her journey.

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