Update From Not For Sale Romania

(For those of you who got my update email, this may be a bit of a repeat. But here is some info from my current trip with Not For Sale to Amsterdam & Romania):

Right now I am sitting in the GTR office in Timișoara, Romania (GTR is an organisation who’s entire anti-trafficking program is funded by Not For Sale Campaign). I am surrounded by noise and movement as case workers type away and chat on the phone, cell phones buzz, survivors of trafficking pass in and out photocopying their documents, bouncing a baby on the hip, pouring some more coffee… Upstairs two women recently repatriated to Romania sit with a GTR staff member recounting their harrowing experiences of sex trafficking in France.

This is just another day on the frontlines of Abolition here in Eastern Europe. GTRs human trafficking program is being funded by Not For Sale and this exciting international intiative has so much going on I hardly know where to begin.
Let me back up to our experiences last week in Amsterdam. Not For Sale’s international operations director joined me on Thursday for a whirlwind of meetings to learn more about human trafficking in the Netherlands. While we were there it became clear that individuals from Eastern Europe, including Romania, are at the center of the issue of trafficking into Holland. Romania in particular is a source and transit country for forced labour and sex trafficking. As Christina and I walked the red light district in Amsterdam, we wondered about the foreign girls working behind the windows. Our meeting with one organisation located in the red light district was actually interrupted by Hungarian sex trafficking victim looking for shelter!
Now we are in Romania and are hearing first hand accounts about the truth of sex trafficking. Since arriving on Monday evening the flow of rescued trafficked persons has been almost non-stop. Monday night we ate dinner with two girls who were 16 & 17. Both had been trafficked to different European locations for the purpose of sexual exploitation. An older Romania man joined us who had been forced to work in a labour situation for no pay.
By Tuesday evening, three more girls had arrived at the office, and another had shown us around the salon where she is being given skills training after being rescued by local police from her trafficker…
See the following updates from the trip to Romania via Christina Hebets, International Operations Director for Not For Sale:

“In Amsterdam with NFS South Africa Co-Director! Met with The Netherlands National Crime Squad yesterday who investigated over 200 cases last year including a case where a 140 Nigerian women were forced the women seek asylum to get in the country, taken to a shelter by the Dutch government- where traffickers would then return and take the women away. And that was just day one…” (April 1, 2011)

“This morning, our meeting with anti-trafficking leader in Amsterdam’s red-light district was interrupted by Hungarian trafficking victim knocking on the door asking for a safe place and a way back to Hungary. It’s simply amazing to see the dedication of people working in this movement.” (April 1, 2011)

“Got into Romania this evening and was welcomed by the abolitionist that runs Not For Sale Romania. Our dinner with her team was full of love. It is an honor to be here.” (April 4, 2011)

“’24 hours a day Monday-Sunday we are here for the survivors. We have to let them know we care. Our work is life, and our life is our work’ – Mariana, NFS Romania Director. Here we are lunch discussing the challenges of working in the field, but moments like these give me hope.” (April 5, 2011)

“Today, a survivor trafficked at age 9 told us, “Without Mariana [Director of NFS Romania], I wouldn’t be here. She let me stay in her home, she was not afraid I would steal or use her. She was the first person to trust me, and she is the first person I have learned to trust. Mariana is my grandmother.” She now attends university, is engaged, and visits her “grandmother” daily.”

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2 Responses to “Update From Not For Sale Romania”
  1. Renee says:

    Hi Saskia, how do i get involved to help?

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] failing the movement to prevent trafficking in human beings. Considering the trip I just took to Romania, this article touched close to my heart. I know in South Africa many people from Eastern Europe […]

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