What is Strong Survival?


Strong Survival documents human trafficking activist Maya's experiences as a trafficked youth from Sonoma County


Starting at the age of 12, Maya offers an unflinching and courageous account of her experiences, exploring the impact of the emotional and physical damage of human trafficking


Strong Survival seeks to bring more awareness to a pervasive and often overlooked problem in the Bay Area




Shynie is a 3rd-year student at Santa Clara University, double majoring in Public Health Science and Biology. During her free time, Shynie volunteers at American Red Cross, works as a student researcher at both Santa Clara University and Stanford Medicine, and serves as an Ambassador for Shared Hope International. Shynie is particularly passionate about social justice and human rights, and has plans to pursue healthcare.

Shynie Lu


"We have reached a point where eradicating trafficking is no longer restricted to a few willing individuals. It is our duty to defend human rights. We have the power."

- Shynie

Maya is from Sonoma County, California, and is a student at the Santa Rosa Junior College, majoring in History. She hopes to achieve teaching credentials upon graduation and fulfill her dream of becoming a middle school history teacher. Maya has a passion for musical theatre and she works as an actress, artist, model, and human trafficking survivor advocate. Over the past few years, Maya has worked on two films about her experience with trafficking: Strong Survival and Playing the Game. 

Maya Babow

Survivor, Activist

"We need to better educate ourselves. Learn how traffickers work, and stop the demand. If we stop the demand, there is no need for supply."

- Maya

“Steven” Tianyue Gu, is a freshman at the University of Richmond, hoping to major in International Relations or Marketing. He excels in multiple areas including academics, tennis, and photography. For the past four years, Steven worked as a Marketing & Communication Intern with his high school's Marketing Department while volunteering inside and outside the school community. In the future, Steven hopes to spread cultural awareness and promote world peace.

Steven Gu


Benjamin Staub

Stage and Sound Manager
Having had experiences with a broad array of projects, media, and clientele, Ben Staub brings a diverse skill set. Ben is an adept videographer, editor, and director. Additionally, he has over 3 years of experiences as a production director at a radio station conglomerate, where he collaborated with a team of program directors in a swift-moving creative environment. Ben's friendly and approachable presence, coupled with his quick adaptability, has garnered him great esteem with his colleagues and clients.

Contact us

so we can make changes together

Shynie Lu


Sonoma County Commission

on Human Rights


Verity (Santa Rosa)


707-545-7273 (24/7 Crisis Line)

Thank You for Joining Us in Defending Human Rights



Strong Survival in the News

  • USC Institute for Global Health