Susana Trimarco began her long, relentless fight for justice after 14 years of the disappearance of her 23-year-old daughter Maria de Los Ángeles Verón, who likely became a victim of sex trafficking. Her fight continues to this day. She has helped free over 2,500 victims of trafficking. Her daughter, Maria had disappeared while she was on her way to a physician’s appointment in their city in northern Argentina. Disappointed by the long yet unsuccessful intervention of the police, Susana began her fight to search for María. After getting some leads, Susana tracked down the names of the pimps and sex traffickers in the area. She even gained entry to brothels posing as a madam, wanting to buy girls and women.
Susana found several women who claimed that they had seen her daughter, but María was never found. In the journey to find her daughter, the experiences she had transformed her life forever. The fearless journey prompted her to become one of the country’s leading human rights activists.
Susana’s quest to find her daughter led her to unearth how the country is dwindling under rampant sex trafficking and corruption. And such practices directly involved the police and judiciary who ensured women are kept trapped in forced prostitution. Susana took charge herself and became the personal guardian to 129 survivors of sex trafficking, sheltering them in her home and helping them reunite with their families.
It was because of Susana that the country passed the first law in 2008, making human trafficking a federal crime. The reforms that came subsequently led to the rescue of thousands of victims from the hands of sex traffickers.
Susana fought all the odds remarkably in spite of receiving thousands of death threats, attempts to run her over; even her house was torched.
Susana was left with no other choice but to open a foundation after hundreds of families reached out for help. She founded the Fundacíon María de Los Ángeles in 2007; a non-governmental organisation to help people escape from trafficking and lobbying for legislation to prevent it. The mission that began with the motive to search for Maria resulted in trials of 13 people, including several police officers in 2012. All 13 were acquitted, a ruling that angered many and led to impeachment proceedings against three judges.
A retrial was conducted in December 2013. It convicted ten people for their involvement in María’s disappearance. Despite all her efforts, Susana couldn’t find the answer to the whereabouts of her daughter. Some say she was murdered although they never found her body, some others have said that she was taken abroad.
With the pain in her heart, Susana continues to fight to release girls caught by sex traffickers. Her team of psychologists, lawyers, and social workers work every day to help her fight for her daughter and all the survivors. “Every woman I help somehow helps María. They represent hope in this new life of mine.”