Lucia's Letter

  

The ladies who recorded "Lucia's Letter" in various languages at WGCU in 2006

Lucia's Letter won a Peabody Award in 2011

 

Lucia's Letter describes one Guatemalan teenager's trip with a coyote from Guatemala through Mexico to southwest Florida. The story is a composite of several local Mayan women's experiences of becoming a coyote's slave.

All of the women were raped, starved and drugged during the trip and then sold when they arrived in the U.S. Some ended up as indentured slaves in the vegetable fields and/or in brothels. Others were sold to men they were forced to marry. The letter was recorded in Spanish, English, two Mayan languages, Creole, and Mixteco.

It was taken to rural parts of Guatemala and distributed to 62 indigenous villages on CD. The hope is to warn other young women about the dangers they face if they decide to immigrate to the states via a coyote. This documentary tells the story of this effort through the women, trying to use Lucia's Letter to convince mothers to stop sending their daughters to the states. We ask women in Guatemala   

if it would stop them. And we ask one of the women who helped write and voice the letter if her travels were worth what she went through twenty years ago.

Listen to the Documentary Here:

 Download MP3 
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A letter to Mom from Lucia, a young girl brought to the US illegally and sold

Mama, listen to me. This is a letter for you, Mama, and for my little sisters.

Mama, I am going to tell you the story of my life since I crossed the frontier to arrive in the States (U.S.). While you thought that I was going to work to earn money and escape poverty.

Do you remember, Mama, when I left the house, I left with a blouse, pants and a pair of sneakers, and no sweater, because you could not buy me one? I took my leave from you as if it was for a short trip. While we said goodbye, why did I have to go so far away from you, from my childhood home, from my family? In that moment I felt much sadness, much fear, because I was already with strange people. For me, they provoked fear. Every moment that we moved further away caused me more fear and sadness. Mama, you were so far from me and no one could protect me...(Click to read full letter in English / Spanish)

Listen to Recordings of the Letter Here:

English: Listen       Spanish: Listen

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Mira Mama: Public Service Announcements

Teacher: Hi Maria.
Maria: Hello Teacher.
Teacher: Tell me Maria, how are those new girls on your street?
Maria:. They are always inside. But a lot of people go into that house, Teacher.
Teacher: You know, if they're under sixteen, by law they have to go to school.
Child: (in the background): Look mom!
Maria: Yes, Teacher. They look very young.
Teacher: I'm going to visit them to see why they're not going to school. I want to make sure that they're free to come and go, and that they are not victims of human trafficking.
Maria: Be careful, Teacher.
Child: (in the background): Mommy, look ! (Rooster crows)
Audio available in 5 languages:

English: Listen    Spanish: Listen   

Haitian-Creole: Listen    Q'anjobal: Listen    K'iche: Listen

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Credits

Amy Tardif - writer/producer
Maria Barbero - translations, on-line video production
Alirio Ochoa - interviews in Quilinco, Guatemala
Fred Zambroski - interviews in San Juan del Obispo, Antigua, Guatemala Music

Las Mayas de Huehuetenango

Judith Smelser - copy editing

Richard Chin Quee - web

Billboard: original music by Kat Epple and Chuck Grinnell

All other music: original music by Kat Epple

Break and Close music: Las Mayas de Huehuetenango

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Resources

Miracles in Action

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships

Florida Statewide Taskforce on Human Trafficking

US Senate Hearing - Ending Abuses and Improving Working Conditions for Tomato Workers