Victim of human labor trafficking now fighting the problem in national spotlight

BLUE ASH, Ohio —

Harold D’Souza has dedicated his life to ending what he calls “modern-day slavery” because he knows how much the victims suffer: He once was one.

“Slavery still happens. Today, we talk about modern-day slavery,” D’Souza said.

D’Souza earned a degree in law and a master’s degree in India. He came to the United States on a work visa when a friend promised him a good job.

D’Souza says the man who made the promise immediately conned him out of his visa, documents and money.

He ended up working endless hours in a Blue Ash restaurant. His apartment was next door. He had no contact with anyone but restaurant workers and he had no transportation.

“I was manipulated. I was tricked and trapped, which I never knew where I was entering. I didn’t know the culture, I didn’t know the law enforcement agency, I didn’t know how this country operates,” D’Souza said.

He was able to escape the situation with the help of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and later became a U.S. citizen.

D’Souza was named to the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking by President Barack Obama and has remained in that position under President Donald Trump.

He’s now dedicated his life to fighting the problem.

“Be aware of what’s going on,” said Sister Joan Krimm, who helped D’Souza. “We have to be knowledgeable enough about the situation that we can be alert if we see any red flags going on.”

D’Souza and three other members of the council will hold a community meeting at the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur facility Aug. 4.