Break the Shackles

Stories & Testimonials

New Yorkers share how predatory and exploitative business practices target vulnerable New York families


Imagine being forced to escape your home as a teenager and travel across oceans and continents,  only to be detained for two years in a gruesome detention center. That is Isaac’s story, who fled Ghana when he was just 16 years old after the murder of both his brother and father. Alongside a larger group of teens, Isaac entered the United States through Mexico and was quickly arrested three months before his 17th birthday and taken to the center.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.


Angela is a 32-year-old Ghanaian mother of one. She left Ghana because her uncle wanted to force her into an unwanted marriage and was threatening her once she refused. 

Since September 2020, Angela has had a shackle. Her bond was $6,500 and in order to pay it off, Angela borrowed $1,000 from friends and the remaining $5,500 from Libre. The shackle was uncomfortable, heavy, and almost made her fall twice with her baby. 

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.


Joseph is a 30 year old Ghanaian man who came here to escape persecution based on his sexuality. After a tumultuous trip from Ghana to Ecuador, then Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Joseph entered the US where he was then detained. In the span of 6 weeks, Joseph was transferred to three different detention centers, his hands and ankles cuffed.

The detention centers were cold and unbearable. There was no heating system at all. Once a day, they would eat a small portion of beans, rice, similar things, and were given a small bottle of water. If you don’t go out in time, you would miss the food for the day. Sometimes you would drink the sink water.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.



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