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Man looks for better life after escaping labor traffickers

Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency who could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

This man came to the United States for freedom and opportunity. Instead, he was ensnared by labor traffickers and — since escaping — has been homeless.

Victimized “again and again” before finding his way to Medford and the Center for NonProfit Legal Services, this 36-year-old from Saudi Arabia came lawfully to work in the United States with hopes of assisting his family financially. His application with Department of Homeland Security has been conditionally approved, but the man still lacks housing and access to social services, says lawyer Laura Lindley-Gutierrez.

The man is debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder, both from abuse he suffered while being trafficked and growing up amid civil war in his country of origin, says Lindley-Gutierrez. When his father died in 2015, the man left his family to earn money on their behalf, she says.

But the man’s dream of American employment vanished in the deplorable conditions under which he was compelled to work without pay. He ran away without a penny in his pocket, says Lindley-Gutierrez.

He desperately needs warm blankets, winter clothing and shoes. He wears an extra-large size jacket, button-up shirts and pants, large size T-shirts and men’s size 13W or 14 shoes. He would appreciate a functioning cellphone with prepaid minutes, as well as kitchen utensils, cutting board, knives, dishes and big, waterproof storage bins.

The man dreams of a place to live, such as a clean RV, and a job. Honest and kind, the man still believes in the giving spirit of Americans and their country, says Lindley-Gutierrez. He just needs someone to help him back onto his feet.

To help, call Lindley-Gutierrez at CNPLS, 541-779-7292, or email l.gutierrez@cnpls.net.