Oscar is from Dominican Republic, where he grew up playing baseball and dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. One day, a baseball coach approached him and asked him if he wanted to travel to USA, Georgia to play in different baseball tournaments. The coach also said he would have the opportunity to play for baseball scouts and receive a sports scholarship for college. This would mean Oscar could one day play baseball professionally in the USA.
Oscar agreed to participate in this sports program. He paid for the visa fees, and traveled with a group of 30 youth players to Georgia. When Oscar and the team arrived in Georgia, he realized the people he trusted as the coaches had become their traffickers. The traffickers confiscated his passport and the group was taken to a small 2-bedroom house. Oscar and his teammates slept on the floor on old mattresses wherever they could find space. The air conditioning was not working and sometimes there was no running water. Oscar was fed spoiled, roach-infested food. His calls to his family were monitored, and he was not allowed to leave the house by himself.
The traffickers took Oscar and his teammates to practice baseball only 2-3 times. Oscar and his teammates were told they needed to start working. The traffickers made Oscar work painting and landscaping jobs. He was transported to work every day and had to work long hours. The traffickers took all the money he made. Oscar witnessed one of his teammates being physically abused. He was constantly yelled at and threatened. He was told he would be deported to his home country if he didn’t follow orders.
Oscar escaped his traffickers and reported them to law enforcement. With Tapestri’s help, he found safety and stability.