Once a Slave, Harold D’Souza now is Dedicating his Life to Helping Others

By Lucy May
Published on February 7, 2017 by WCPO Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI — It’s easy to understand how being lured to the U.S. for a better life — only to become a modern-day slave — could kill a man’s dreams.

But Harold D’Souza’s dreams are bigger than ever.

“I want to be a millionaire,” he said with a smile. “Not by my wallet or my wealth. But I want to be a millionaire by my heart by helping people all across the globe.”

That’s why D’Souza and his wife Dancy have established a new nonprofit in partnership with Jessica Donohue-Dioh, a co-founder of End Slavery Cincinnati who now teaches at Xavier University. Called Eyes Open International, the new organization aims to make people across the world more aware of human trafficking and to educate people who might be vulnerable so they don’t become victims.

It’s the latest way D’Souza has become involved in the fight against human trafficking, the illegal industry that ensnared him when he moved from India to Blue Ash 14 years ago. He first shared his story with WCPO in 2014.

In 2015, former President Barack Obama appointed D’Souza to serve a two-year term on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. As a member, he helped craft the group’s first report completed in October 2016.

D’Souza also speaks regularly at colleges and community forums across the U.S. and has shared his story back in his home country of India, too.

His hope is that Eyes Open International can prevent other families from going through the hell that his family survived.

“Every organization that’s working in this area has a place because we have to tackle it from multiple perspectives,” Donohue-Dioh added. “We’re just trying to intervene, prevent it from an earlier standpoint and see if that changes our outcomes.”

To report cases of human trafficking, call the toll-free National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

More information about Eyes Open International is available on the organization’s website. To learn more about the online fundraising campaign, click here.