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For almost 28 years Mexican immigrant Maria Suarez was held against her will in California—first by a slaveholder, and then imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit.

She was tricked into slavery when she was 15 years old. Her captor abused her mentally, physically, and spiritually. He threatened to hurt her family, so even when the police and her family tried to help, she told them everything was okay. Her dreams of a better life were fading. "My dreams just were crushed. They never let me bloom, like a rose. They never let the rose grow up to be a rose."

Maria says that for 28 years, all she was just looking for was "a little bit of justice."

Last Updated: August 2, 2017