President Cristina Fernandez, right, applauds as Susana Trimarco, left, lifts a human rights prize given by the president during a rally to mark the 29th anniversary of the return to democracy in Argentina, on the eve of the Human Rights Day, in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Dec. 9.(Photo: Victor R. Caivano)

But years of exploring the decadent criminal underground haven’t led Trimarco to her daughter, Maria de los Angeles “Marita” Veron, who was 23 in 2002 when she disappeared from their hometown in provincial Tucuman, leaving behind her own 3-year-old daughter Micaela.

“I live for this,” the 58-year-old Trimarco told The Associated Press of her ongoing quest. “I have no other life, and the truth is, it is a very sad, very grim life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

Susana Trimarco is an Argentine housewife whose 23-year-old daughter left for a doctor’s appointment in 2002 and never came back.

After getting little help from police, Trimarco launched her own investigation. She was visiting brothels seeking clues about her missing daughter and the search took an additional goal: rescuing sex slaves and helping them start new lives.

Trimarco today is a hero to hundreds of women she’s rescued from Argentine prostitution rings. She’s been honored with the “Women of Courage” award by the U.S. State Department and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Argentine President also gave her a human rights award before hundreds of thousands of people.

“I live to find my daughter, and the truth is, it is a very sad, very grim life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” she told The Associated Press.

Her efforts have put 13 people on trial for abduction charges. Prostitution is not illegal in Argentina, but the exploitation of women for sex is. The defendants have pleaded innocent. Trimarco was the primary witness during the trial, after which a dozen witnesses testified in the court.

Trimarco’s efforts to find her daughter have rescued more than 900 women and girls from sex trafficking so far. Trimarco says she’s not going to stop until she finds her daughter.

Source:  USA Today
Image: USA Today