From slavery to college educated and motivational speaker.
She is originally from Cameroon. She is a survivor. She was a slave, a victim of human trafficking. She experienced slavery not in Cameroon, but in the United States, only 30 miles from our nation’s capitol.
At age 9 as she says on CNN on June 23, 2011, she came to the United States.
Evelyn Chumbow, a 26-year-old, full-time student at the University of Baltimore is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in community studies and civic engagement.
In November 1995, Evelyn was brought to this country by Ms. Theresa Mubang, a rich woman who proposed to the Chumbow family that she would adopt Evelyn and provide her a great education and a better life. Unfortunately, Ms. Mubang’s promises were empty. Instead Chumbow was abused.
“When I came To this country, I had a two-week break relaxing but right away I had to learn how to cook, and clean, changing diapers. I did not know how to cook, taking care of kids, they were a lot of things that my Traficant asked me to do that I did not know” says Chumbow. She was beaten. She did not go to school from the age of 9 until the age of 19: “The dream that my parents have for me, to be a lawyer or a doctor, did not work. When I was in Cameroon I was always saying that at the age of 25, I will have a degree, I will have a husband and two kids. I think that “Never plan your life. Always have a goal.”
The relationship with the lady that supposed to be Chumbow’s adopted mom did not go as planned. She was taking care of kids, not sleeping or eating. She did not have any friends and was not socializing with people of her age. She says she discovered that she was taken like the girl in the movie Taken: “That is exactly what happened to me. I was taken from Cameroon into the U.S. to become a slave.”
For seven years, Evelyn Chumbow was abused. Saying that Chumbow was not able to fulfill her duties and that she needed more help. Ms. Mubang told her she planned to send Chumbow back to Cameroon and return with someone else. That person turned out to be Chumbow’s cousin: “My cousin was 18 or 19 years old at that time and I was 15. My cousin was very smart. She saw exactly what Ms. Mubang was doing to me. She decided that she was going to help us escape. We planned and waited for the day that my Traficant will leave.”
Evelyn Chumbow and her cousin escaped to a family member: “I did not even know that we have family member in the U.S.” She says. From there, she went to a Catholic church and shared her story. That’s when the magic began. She says . Chumbow told the priest that she was 18 years old, had never gone to school or seen a doctor. She said that she would like to begin attending school and get her GED: “I did not have any paper at that time. I was an illegal immigrant.” She told the priest that if she could not be helped to go to school, could he please send her back home? “I want to go back in Cameroon. I want to go see my Mom and Dad…”
With the help of the Catholic church, and an organization name Ayuda, Chumbow has been able to earn her Associate’s degree and is now pursuing her Bachelor’s degree. “I will be graduating in 2013 hopefully and then continue to the Masters that I will be accomplished at the age of 30.”
Evelyn Chumbow is now an advocate for Human Traficant, an international non-profit organization to motivate other young trafficking victims to share their stories. “I want to go over to Africa she said on ABC 2 Especially, to Cameroon and Nigeria,” she says. Appealing to all who have been trafficked in the U.S., she says: “Please, come join me. Don’t be afraid. You have to speak out” “There were people who saw me be abused for seven years, sleeping on the floor, being beaten, but they did nothing. They never say a word. They never even call social services or called 911. The just came and do their business and then left the home of Ms. Mubang.”
Chumbow advises you to call social services if you see a child in the home of someone you know being abused. That could be your child, your cousin, your mother, or your sister.