Hoopa’s childhood was filled with fond memories of school, playing with her little brother, and a safe home.
Her carefree life came to an abrupt end when her parents sought out new work in a nearby brick kiln.
They hoped this new job would secure a better future for the family, but instead, 6-year-old Roopa was thrust into a life of slavery.
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The girls’ parents soon found out about the abuse. Devastated, they reported the crime to the police and went to IJM for help, but Emilio disappeared shortly after the complaint was filed.
While Helen and Emilia were healing in an aftercare program, Emilio lived as a free man for nearly a decade after stealing the childhood of two young girls.
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It seemed as if Emilio had gotten away with his horrific crime, until February 21, 2016.
Bolivia held a historic election and a wise IJM investigator knew that nearly every adult in Bolivia would be going to the ballot box.
On the day of the election, the investigator, along with a local police officer, found and quietly arrested Emilio just after he cast his vote.
"My lawyer said that IJM would forget about the case,” Emilio told the investigator on the drive back to La Paz. "‘Run,’ he told me. ‘They will forget about the case.’”
Thankfully, our team did not forget. With the help of our supporters, we relentlessly pursued justice for Helen and Emilia.
Emilio pled guilty to his crimes before court and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, bringing one of the longest-running cases in the history of IJM to an end.
Thanks to supporters like you, Helen and Emilia are happy and thriving, and have finally seen their abuser brought to justice.
Help us to make the impossible, possible.