One of the most common ways to legally immigrate to another country is through marriage: You marry a citizen of the country where you want to go, submit your paperwork, prove to the government that your relationship is real, and well, if your request is approved, off you go to make your dream come true. However (and this is where my true story begins), that dream can turn into a nightmare if you are careless as I was.
I was in the US as an exchange student and one day, my high school sweetheart contacted me through Facebook. He happened to be living in Canada and we started a long distance relationship. I thought destiny had brought us together because we were meant to be and because life and love were finally smiling at me. He asked me to marry him so I could move to Canada and obtain my permanent residency card.
That was my huge mistake: To trust a person that I barely knew (even if I had met him 12 years ago) in such a delicate matter as becoming a legal alien in another country.
I managed to enter Canada as a tourist. At the beginning everything was great and he was Prince Charming. I was lucky I found a job at a food court and things seemed to be working fine. Two months after my arrival, he started changing his attitude: he was distant, he was mean, and he was always making excuses about getting my paperwork done so I could become a Canadian resident.
All I remember is that I worked and worked, and all he did was cash my pay check. I believed that was O.K. because we were a couple and we were building a life project together. But then time went by and he always avoided both the immigration and the marriage subjects.
After pushing him, we finally got married but it didn’t work. Things got worse and he started to psychologically abuse me. When I finally got the will power to understand that he was just exploiting me and that he was never going to solve my legal situation in Canada, I hid my passport, packed my belongings, and ran away from that situation. I had to say good-bye to my dream of living in a rich country and come back to Colombia, but I had to save myself from the danger of being in an abusive marriage, being deported, or worse, being put in jail.
Nowadays, I feel blessed and beyond because not all women who have been in a situation like mine (or worse) have had the luck to escape and tell their experience. Right now, thousands of them are caught in really bad situations just because they belie-ved in a person who promised them a better life in another country.
No matter if my dreams were broken, I hope my voice is heard and my story is of help to those women who are planning on taking this step totally blind folded. Being a victim of human traffic is very easy, so please, don’t be naïve; even if you think that there is no future for you here.