BRITISH COLUMBIA — Friends and family gave Leticia Sarmiento an emotional send-off, as
they recalled the good times they’ve shared with her.
Harevie Curbi became best friends with Sarmiento after she escaped from her abusive employers in June 2010.
Since then, the two have been inseparable.
Curbi said Sarmiento was diagnosed with brain cancer January of last year.
Despite her pain, Curbi believes her friend was at peace when she died.
After testifying in, and winning the first human trafficking case under Canada’s immigration act, Sarmiento was able to stay and work legally in Canada.
After being separated from her children for many years, she was finally able to bring them here.
Youngest daughter Mika, whom Sarmiento left when she was just seven months old, said her mother tried to make up for lost time, but they still had a difficult time adjusting to each other.
She said her mother made them promise that they will not leave Canada, even if she’s no longer around.
Sarmiento’s sister Mylene Castro said her sister kept her problems to herself.
She didn’t tell her family about her case against her employer, nor about her illness, as she didn’t want them to worry.
Castro is proud of what her sister fought for.
“Very proud – she is really strong na ipinaglaban nia hanggang huli yung karapatan niya bilang ofw na patas ang batas, na mabibigyan siya ng hustisya.”
Sarmiento would have been deported after the police took her away from her employers’ home, had it not been for the timely help of an emergency shelter worker.
Anna Cagas-Tabella said she was struck by Sarmiento’s courage even at the time when her future in canada was uncertain.
Last year, before her illness took a turn for the worse, Sarmiento flew back to the Philippines one last time to bid her mother a final good-bye.