The aim of this blog is to uncover and present TRUE STORIES of Human Trafficking and debt bondage in all its forms. We are seeking stories of victims "jammed" in slavery, of perpetrators of this crime, stories of efforts to help victims; of individuals moving to change policy, and stories of misguided efforts to help that have done further damage … in the hope that the telling of these personal stories will highlight the reality and complexity of this heinous practice, and shed light on the need for action on many fronts. Our vision is to finance this project through sponsorship and donations so that we can make the films freely available to everyone, everywhere for advocacy, campaigning, education and calls to action.

Following on from the feature film THE JAMMED we intend to select a series of stories from those posted on this blog, and produce a dramatised series of short stories

THE JAMMED is a feature film inspired by court transcripts about sex slavery and deportation in
Australia - ( The number of women and children trafficked into sexual servitude (slavery) and debt bondage is impossible to quantify, but it is estimated that between 700,000 to 4 million people are trafficked around the world annually for sexual exploitation.

This is a call for your stories.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

She came from Guatemala

The downfall of a sex slave ring
By Jonathan Abel, Times Staff Writer

Published Saturday, March 14, 2009


CLEARWATER — She came from Guatemala, a woman in her early 20s smuggled into the United States for what she thought was a housekeeping job.

The journey from her small town to the Texas border took 26 days. From there she was whisked to a safe house near Houston, then brought to Tampa and moved once more to a house in Jacksonville.

There, an enforcer for the human trafficking operation told the woman her debt had jumped from $5,000 to $30,000.

The enforcer demonstrated how to use a condom by rolling it over a beer bottle. He said she'd have to pay back the debt as a prostitute, according to authorities.

She turned 25 tricks the next day and nearly every day for eight or nine months.

This tortured existence — the daily life of a human trafficking victim — ended May 22, 2007, when authorities intervened. The woman's captor, Juan Jimenez Henao, was arrested in Clearwater.
(See entry Jammed Library & Resources with same date)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The Age Newspaper is running an anti-trafficking campaign and is featuring THE JAMMED. To link:

and a direct link to the film:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

She should have been playing with dolls

Instead, the bright-eyed little girl was sold by her father and became a "doll" in a Mumbai brothel. Asha was only nine when her father sold her to a procurer. She came from a very poor family. Seven children had been born to Asha's parents. They certainly could not afford a girl.
The bright-eyed little girl had no idea what was going on or how her life was about to change forever. She only knew that the lady named Kala had told her she was going on a trip to a very special place, that she would have new clothes, and that she would be working for a nice family who lived in a big house. The lady asked Asha if she was willing to work hard. Asha nodded. "Will you do anything that is asked of you?" Asha said she would try. Asha wanted her family to be proud of her.
The adventure began at the bus station in Katmandu. Asha had never ridden a bus before. Asha wondered how many other girls would be fortunate enough to go to a big city like Mumbai. Perhaps this was what her father meant when he talked about good karma. She couldn't wait to say her pujas (daily prayers), as her father and mother had taught her to give thanks for such good fortune. Asha looked excitedly out the window as the Nepali hills rolled by. The bus trip lasted much longer than she expected - 14 hours just to get to the border town of Nepalgunj.
Once there, they walked across the border where they boarded another bus for the trip to Delhi. Asha asked Kala if they were almost there. Kala told her that Mumbai was very far away and they wouldn't be there for several days. After what seemed like forever, Asha asked again. Kala glowered at the little girl. Asha decided that perhaps she should not ask such questions.
The stifling heat and the exhaust fumes made Asha sick to her stomach. She wondered if Mumbai would be like this. All that day the bus bumped and swayed over the dusty roads of North India. Asha began to realize that wherever Mumbai was, it was a long way from home. She wondered if her parents would come to see her.
Finally, after three days and hundreds of nameless Indian villages, the driver announced the good news - they were in Mumbai. Asha became excited. What will the family be like? What about their big house? When Asha and Kala climbed down from the bus there was no one to meet them. Asha was confused. She looked around. Kala grabbed her hand and nearly jerked her off her feet. "Come, child!"
They walked quickly through the busy station, past the beggars who swarmed the sidewalk outside, and to the taxi stand. Asha had never been in a car. Kala spoke crisply to the driver. "Falkland Road." This must be a very special place, she thought for the driver instantly nodded his head in recognition. It was night when the taxi wound its way through Mumbai's crowded streets, but unlike Nepal, it wasn't dark. Everywhere she looked, Asha saw lights, lots of lights with strange markings. Asha did not know the meaning of the strange markings. She had never been to school.
After an hour's drive, the taxi turned onto what seemed to be the busiest street of all. The taxi stopped. Kala pulled her arm again. "This is where we get out," the woman said crossly. This was a strange place. "Where's the pretty house?" Asha asked shyly. "Quiet!" Kala barked. "This is your new home."
Women and girls lounged in the doorway. Their faces were painted in ways Asha had never seen. Asha stopped and stared. Kala roughly pulled the little girl through the door. They walked down a series of long, poorly lit corridors. Asha could feel the wet garbage under her bare feet, oozing between her toes. There was heaviness in the air. This did not seem like a happy place.
Suddenly, a woman was standing in front of them. "Here she is," Kala said tersely, "That'll be 40,000 rupees" (about $100 U.S.). The woman took Asha to a little room. "This is where you'll stay," the woman declared without emotion as she pushed the child through the door. Asha shivered when she heard the dead bolt slam into place. Something seemed very wrong. Asha felt frightened - and alone. She prayed to the family gods. It didn't seem to help. Asha went to sleep wondering what kind of place she had come to. When she woke up, she couldn't tell whether it was day or night because her room had no windows.
After a long while, the woman returned. She sat down on the bed and opened a little bag. She started putting make-up on Asha's face. Asha winced. A few minutes later the woman came back with a man. The woman told Asha what to do. Asha did not want to do such things. The woman slapped her. Asha cried. The woman slapped her again. "No! No! I will not do such things." The woman cursed Asha in Nepali and then left.
A few minutes later, she returned with another man. His lip curled in a mocking snarl. She had never seen such a look. "So, you don't want to work, eh?" He pulled off his belt and began to beat Asha. He beat her until the pain filled her body. Then he left. Asha curled up on her cot and whimpered softly.
Later that day the woman came back. "Ready to work, little doll?" Asha cried and pleaded with her. "Please don't make me do those things." The man with the belt came back. Three times that day he beat her. When the time came to eat, they brought nothing to Asha. Still the little girl resisted. The torture lasted for days. Without light, Asha lost track of time. Without food she grew weak.
One of the other girls told Asha it was useless to resist. She told Asha of another girl who had been put in a room with a cobra until she changed her mind about doing as she was told. It didn't take long, the girl reported. "The gods have forgotten you. This is your fate," the girl said sadly. Frightened, exhausted and hungry, Asha surrendered.
In those first days, Asha often cried herself to sleep, wishing she was back in her village, homesick for her mother. She hated life in the brothel, hated what she saw, hated what she did. She hated what happened to the other girls - especially the sick ones. But the tears grew less and less, and Asha became accustomed to her new life.
Seven years passed. Seven years without seeing her mother or brothers. Seven years in what she and the other girls called "that place." Seven years watching girls become sick with the "Bombay Disease." Seven years of watching them turned out on the streets to die. Asha dreamed of buying her freedom and going home to Nepal, but she knew there was little hope of that.
By her sixteenth birthday, Asha had forgotten what hope was. Until she met a man named Devaraj. Devaraj was different than the other men she had known. She met him at a small church near Falkland Road. There he taught messages of hope that lifted her spirits. He talked of freedom. She visited there as often as she could. She longed more than ever to be free from Falkland Road, but she still lacked the money to pay the "investment" the brothel owner had made in her.
One night after service, Devaraj told Asha she could leave the district. Asha could hardly believe what she was hearing. "How is this possible?" Asha asked. Devaraj explained that some "friends" had given a gift to purchase her freedom. In a few days, Asha left the brothel that had been her home since she was a young girl and moved into a "Home of Hope." Now she is learning how to live. She is learning a new trade. And thanks to people who care, Asha's life is no longer surrounded by pain and disappointment. It is full of hope and optimism for the future.
When Mike McGill read Asha's story in 1999, he started the Asha Forum. What will your response be?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sinister sleepover

Internal Trafficking often means little distance travelled and Sexual Assault to break down resistance may take place only blocks away from home.
Shauna Newell was fortunate when she was abducted two years ago. Thanks to her mother and Klaas’ organization, which organized a search for her, she was rescued after three days. She’s gone public to warn other girls about how easy it is to be kidnapped and trafficked.

A typical 16-year-old in a middle-class home in suburban Pensacola, Fla., Newell’s nightmare began innocently enough: A new friend she had met in high school asked her to come to her home for a sleepover.

Newell’s mother, Lisa Brant, didn’t like the idea, but after weeks of lobbying by her daughter, Brant met with the girl and the man she said was her father to make sure her daughter would be safe.

But the girl’s “father” was really a convicted felon, and the girl, who had a record of prostitution in Texas, was an accomplice in the abduction. “Her dad took us to this house and said he'd be right back and he left us there,” Newell recounted in a taped interview. “And I asked for some water because I was thirsty. And I drank the water and I blacked out.”

The water had been laced with a drug. When she woke up, Newell was groggy and couldn’t move.

“My legs were being held down, and the guy that was raping me was holding my hands back,” she said in a quiet voice. “I kept screaming, ‘Stop, please don't do this. Leave me alone.’ But I was so weak, I couldn't fight them off. Like I was, I was so really out of it. And I blacked out a few times and I kept coming back to. And I was still being raped every time I woke up.”

Left alone for a moment, Newell managed to call her mother.

“My cell phone rang. And all I heard was, ‘Mommy, help me,’ ” Brant said. “And the phone went dead. And I freaked!”
Lisa Brant, whose daughter, Shauna Newell, was abducted and gang-raped.
She called police, but they told her that Newell had probably run away from home, and they wouldn’t be able to treat it as a missing-person case until 72 hours had elapsed.

“He was like, 'Oh, well, you know, there's nothing I can do. You know teenagers,’ ” Brant said.

A stroke of luck
With law enforcement unwilling to act, Brant and Newell’s siblings started their own search. They were fortunate in that Brad Dennis, an investigator for KlaasKids, was based in the area because the Florida Panhandle is an epicenter of human trafficking.

By sheer luck, one search party stopped at a convenience store for something to drink, and Newell’s 14-year-old brother spotted his sister in the back seat of another car that had stopped at the same store. She was rescued, but her abductors managed to flee.

After three days of being raped and beaten and drugged, Newell was dirty, bloody, bruised and barely alive. She was airlifted to a hospital and had to be resuscitated twice. In addition to her serious injuries, she had been infected with an STD.

Newell said that her captor told her she had been sold on the Internet for $300,000 to a man in Texas. Fortunately, she was rescued before delivery could be made. During Newell’s ordeal in Florida, her captor took money from a number of men who raped her. When she screamed, he held a gun to her head and threatened to blow her brains out.
Afraid for her life, Newell later moved in with her boyfriend and now has a child of her own. Her family continues to lobby for national legislation that will provide aid for Americans forced into the sex trade similar to aid that is provided for girls and boys who are brought into the country and forced into prostitution.

Vieira asked Lisa Brant what advice she has for other girls.

“Listen to your parents. Just don’t stop believing. Be strong,” she said. “Follow what your parents say fully, fully. There are people out there who will help you. Speak up. Everybody needs to speak up. Girls that have gone through this, they’re scared.”

An in-depth report by Morales on “Sex Slaves in the Suburbs” premieres at 10 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 12 on MSNBC.
For more information about the KlaasKids Foundation, visit
Marc Klaas, whose KlaasKids Foundation works to stop crimes against children.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stories from the New Yorker

The Countertraffickers
by William Finnegan
A Mafia boss in Kiev may be living on a cut of the proceeds from your exploitation, but your personal hell will very likely start, if you’re Moldovan, with a betrayal by a friend or a relative angling for a commission. You might even be sold into prostitution by the person sleeping next to you.
“I wanted money, and I was deceived,” Lena said. (Some of the names in this article have been changed.) She was from a village in northern Moldova. She had high, thin eyebrows and a worn face. “I was nineteen. My boyfriend told me I could be a waitress in Portugal. We had been together for a year and a half.” Her boyfriend organized her trip, paid her airfare, drove her to Odessa, and put her on a plane to Lisbon. A friend of his met her flight, and told her that the waitress job had fallen through. He offered to take Lena to Dubai, where there was, he said, more work. He seemed trustworthy, and they flew there together. An Arab met them in Dubai, and the next day a woman from Uzbekistan took her to an apartment.
“That was when I realized I had been sold,” Lena told me. “Because she gave money to the Arab guy, and my passport was taken.” There were six Moldovan women already at the Uzbek woman’s place. They were working, they said, as prostitutes in discos, all paying off travel debts that the “she-pimp,” as Lena called her, claimed they owed her. Their clients were mostly Arabs and Russians. “The she-pimp was very aggressive,” Lena said. “She beat disobedient girls.” Lena was put to work.
She ended up spending a few years in Dubai, on and off the street, in and out of jail. After escaping with two other women, Lena went to the police, who arrested her. The Uzbek woman declined to hand over the passports of her ex-workers, and went on with her thriving business. Lena phoned her mother from jail but got no help. When the police released her, after a month, Lena was penniless. She went back to work as a prostitute, now freelance. Later, she fell in love with an Egyptian waiter named Salim, moved in with him, and quit sex work. But then she was arrested during a police sweep for having no documents. She was three months pregnant at the time. Making matters worse, the police registered her as a Kazakhstani, because a group of women caught in the same sweep were from Kazakhstan. It took the authorities more than a year to identify and, finally, deport her. In the meantime, she had given birth in jail. Salim never visited her, never saw his son. Lena was not able to reach him, even by phone. “Maybe he was afraid of the police,” she said quietly.

Now she was living with her grandmother and her son, who had just turned three, back in the village, and looking for work. She had still not heard from Salim. “I have given up hope,” she said. She had been helped, she said, by a psychologist at an American-funded women’s center, where I interviewed her. “We talk about what happened in Dubai,” she said. She thought that the old boyfriend who sold her to the traffickers was still around, but she had no interest in filing a complaint against him. She was twenty-four now, and had a child to raise. The New Yorker.

Rotaru fished out a file. “This is great,” she declared. “Here we have a woman, Violeta. She was trafficked to the Balkans long ago. Her husband first contacted us in December, 2006. He lives in a village in Transnistria with their daughter. The girl cannot remember her mother, but she cries for her all the time. Anyway, we have found her!”
Violeta had answered a newspaper ad offering a waitress job in Italy in 2000. She travelled as far as Albania, on forged papers, but never made it to Italy. She was sold into prostitution in Kosovo. There she worked as a stripper in bars and night clubs, and eventually escaped from her captors after a police raid. Now she was living in a shelter in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, and wanted to come home. “This is one of the cases that make me want to jump for happiness,” Rotaru said.

Maria didn’t strike me as someone at risk for re-trafficking. The reason was partly her shattered body, but mostly it was her strength of mind. Now in her thirties, she has long red hair, big clear eyes, and a lopsided grin. She grew up in a village near Chisinau and was trafficked to Turkey in 1999. She remembers the staircase that led to the room, on the sixth floor of an apartment building in Istanbul, where she found out that she had been sold into prostitution. A woman who was with her started weeping. Maria looked to the window. There were curtains blowing in on a breeze. She crossed to the window, stepped between the curtains, and jumped. When she hit the ground, she broke both legs and both arms.
She found a job at a pizza place, where she met a reasonable man. Now they lived together, in Chisinau, with her daughter. Her boyfriend was working in construction. Maria had big plans—to buy the little house they rented and turn the front half into a shop. “I have such a desire for life,” she told me. When she first came to La Strada, Maria gratefully accepted psychotherapy but turned down an offer of clothes. “I said, ‘Please buy books for my daughter instead.’ ” She and Budeci went together to bookstores to choose titles. Maria only finished the eighth grade, but she wants her daughter to go to university. The girl was now fourteen. “She is going through adolescent crisis,” Maria said. “It’s hard for me to understand her disobedience. I was so obedient.”
I talked to Maria for hours, although she let her psychotherapist, Alina Budeci, who works for La Strada, tell me about what happened in Turkey. Talking about it was too much like reliving it, she said. Maria preferred to talk about her family, and the life that brought her to Turkey.
She had been a teen-age bride, “stolen” by a boy whom she hardly knew. “I tried to run away, but his male friends all stopped me,” she said. “If a boy steals you like this and you don’t get married, it’s a great shame to your family and you.” Her parents, who were peasants, agreed to the match.
The marriage was a disaster. Maria gave birth at eighteen, but her husband drank, beat her, and could not hold a job. “The only happy thing concerning him was my daughter. Otherwise, I hate him.” Her mother counselled her to obey her husband. “She used to say, ‘You have to listen to him, because the sword doesn’t cut the bowed head.’ That’s a saying in Moldova.” (A similar adage, which I heard more than once in Moldova, goes “The woman who is not beaten is like a house that is not cleaned.”) After several years of abuse, Maria fled. She left her daughter with her parents and headed to Odessa, where she sold rug-cleaning machines and other products on the street. Her husband pursued her to Ukraine, and she returned to him briefly, but he drank up her savings and beat her. She went next to Romania, where she found work as a waitress. She returned to Moldova to see her daughter.
Here her narrative broke off. Tears streamed down her face. “Those years when my daughter needed me the most, I wasn’t there,” she said. The troubles with her husband resumed, and Maria and her daughter went to live with her parents. She decided to get a divorce.
“Then a woman came to the village offering jobs in Turkey,” Maria said.
After a long stay in an Istanbul hospital, she returned home. “I was not really a human being,” she said. “I could not walk, could not work.” Despite several surgeries and rehabilitation, she still walks with a great deal of pain. She put off one operation she needed, she said, when she came to believe that the local doctor wanted to remove the main steel pin in her leg only because it was high-quality metal, which he could resell.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trafficked Twice

Testimony of Marsha
"My name is Marsha, and I am from Southern Russia. In 1996, when I was 24, I visited St. Petersburg. I was preparing to return home to my village, waiting at the train station one day when a woman approached me. She started talking with me about life problems, encouraging me to share mine with her. We had a nice talk, and the woman suggested that she could help me to get work somewhere abroad. She told me she had an acquaintance in Germany, a woman who could connect me with a family for whom I could be a housemaid.

I was issued a tourist visa to Spain, and left on a bus tour of Europe in February 1997. I was supposed to get off the bus in Germany. There I was met by a woman named Geanna, who had a flat in Hamburg. She took me to an apartment there, where I met about 20 other girls who had come from Russia and Poland. Most of them were younger than me. After a few days, Geanna told me she could not find a family who would hire me as a housemaid. She said I owed her 2,000 German marks (about $1,000 USD) and said that I would earn that money by providing sexual services to men. I was shocked.

I was afraid to say no because she had taken my passport, and I didn't know any German. She and her husband, who was a drug dealer, threatened to beat me if I tried to leave, and said if I went to the police, I would be deported. They said no one would care what happened to me, and no one would help. Girls who would not cooperate were taken down to the basement of the bar, where they were beaten across their backs, where it would not show but would still be painful, possibly causing damage to their kidneys. I was afraid they would use drugs and alcohol to force me to prostitute myself -- I had seen other girls given cocaine and beaten into submission. Geanna tried to tell me that it didn't happen, but her husband threatened that I would suffer the same if I did not go along with it.

Downstairs from our apartment, there was a bar where we were to find clients for sex. I tried not to attract attention by dressing modestly and sitting by myself. The girls who had come to Germany knowing they would be prostitutes were regularly beaten. Our passports were kept behind the bar, but we were afraid to take them because big guards supervised us all the time. The bar had surveillance cameras on the bar, and the road so they could see clients or police coming.

I was kept there for two months, and never made much profit. I had only a tourist visa, good for one month, but Geanna told me she could prepare documents that would say I was married to a German man. She would do this so I would have to stay longer and work for her. I refused; so instead, she sold me to a Greek pimp who was operating in Germany.

Shortly after that, the police raided the bar and I was taken, along with the other girls, to the station. I was not given a chance to explain what had happened to me -- that I never wanted to be there, that I was tricked, threatened and intimidated into staying. Instead, I was charged with prostitution and held in a jail cell. I was issued an order to leave Germany, or face deportation. The Greek pimp then gave me money for a ticket back to Russia. Some would say that he took pity on me, but in reality this helped him to avoid being arrested and charged with pimping. He was never charged, and the German police never attempted to do anything about the network of people who had trafficked me -- from the woman who recruited me, to the agent who got me the visa, to the Russian woman pimp and her husband."

- Marsha, trafficked in Germany, originally from Russia;
Testimony before US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 2000

Maria and the Mercedes Driver.

Testimony of Maria
"I'll call myself Maria in this story. This is a real story about my life and I am not the only one who could be named that name. There are many Marias like I am and that is the reason to bring this story to daylight - to stop 'Maria's Story' happens again. I come from a little village in Albania where my parents and my sisters still live. They probably think I am dead, and I hope so. It is easier than the truth; I have done things they never can imagine. I shall never see them again.

It was only four years ago when a young man from Skopje came into my father's shop. He was very polite and well dressed and he asked about life in our town. When I said there was little to do, my father asked if he was there to talk or to buy something. My father is very old fashioned and he was always protecting me from boys, which I did not like. I was almost 17 years old and did not need my father's protection. The smile the young man gave me said he understood. But he talked to my father politely, paid for some items and I saw him going away in a Mercedes Benz car. I was very angry with my father and many time think of the young man in his expensive car.

Perhaps two weeks after, the young man arrived again. This time my father was away to cafe and we talked (Later, I wonder if he watched the shop to see my father going out...). His name was Damir and he spoke of the famous cities he often visited. Rome, Paris, Madrid and many other ones, I could only dream about. I said how much I wanted to see them and Damir said how he works for a modeling agency that looks for pretty girls like I was (My face became red but I enjoyed him to say such things...). To live and work in Paris!!! If I wanted to do it, he would arrange for colleague to speak with my parents. I was very excited and said yes. Some days passed and woman entered the shop. She was Damir's colleague. Her jewelers and expensive clothes made me embarrassed of my own. She spoke to my parents and showed them a contract. I will earn certain amount of money, so much to me for living and the rest to my parents. When my father asked about safety, Vanja said how young models live together and always with chaperone. I beg them to allow me and finally my father signed. I remember he was very sad about me going away. Vanja took me to a photo shop for passport photos and said Damir hope to see me soon. I was in Heaven! The next week Vanja returned. In her car were two other girls, one gypsy girl, younger than me and another Albanian, little older. I kissed my parents goodbye. It was last time I saw them.

We drove some hours to Durres on the coast of Adriatic sea. Damir was waiting for us... The other girls knew him also and I was already jealous, but too excited to be angry. He had our new passports but told us he must keep them. It was first time I saw the sea and first time in a ship. It seemed very big and beautiful. We followed Damir, who had our tickets and travel documents. He spoke with official and gave him something before we went into the ship and down many stairs. I thought we were near the engine - the smell of oil was very strong, also rotten food and the smell of clothes not washed in long time. He said for our safety he must lock the door but will return in the morning. Two of us had to share a bed, but only for one night and next day we shall come to Italy! The sound of the engine was very loud and soon the ship was moving very fast. We wished to talk about the handsome men we are going to meet and how the girls at home will be jealous, but the bad smells and moving ship make me and gypsy girl very sick.

The next morning we arrived in Bari. Damir took us to a house where the streets are dirty and we see beggars and even rats during the day. We were nervous because we expecting something very different than that. When we enter the house it smelled as bad as the ship. There were many girl's magazines, wine bottles and cigarettes on the floor. Some men were sitting inside, they laughed and looked at us in bad way and speak to Damir in Italian, which we did not understand. I asked him who they are, but the polite young man from my father's shop grab my arm and said something very bad in Albanian. He hit me on the face. I fell on the ground and he pulled me by hair into a room and hit me more than once until my face start bleeding. I did not understand what has happened. I heard other girls screaming. And then he raped me. Than the other men came in and did the same. After that event, each day the same men came again, and then the others, who paid money to be with us. If we said no, Damir would hit and kick us and gave us no food. He said THIS was modeling we must do for anyone they say.

He paid for our passports and documents. They belong to him and to be without them in foreign country means going to prison if police find us. If we try escape, he and his friends will kill us and no one will ever know. If we succeed and go to police, bad things will happen to our families and everyone will hear we are prostitutes. He laughed and and said how we were stupid girls from farms. He asked what our parents and friends would say if they knew with how many men we have been already!? It was very cruel to make us feel ashamed for what he make us to do.

One night Damir took me and the gypsy girl to the truck and said another man own us now and if we thought he was a bad man, this man is worse, so we better do always what he says. He gave our passports to this man and we travel all night and next day until Marseille in France, where we stayed in the house with the other girls. There I learnt if I am quiet and do what he says I won't be punished and some given drugs to make them addicts. If they are bad, they do not have the drugs they wanted.

I was in Marseille almost one year and sold to a man and a woman who took me to Amsterdam. I slept in a small room with no heat and little food, sometimes only what is left over from their meals. Sometimes I did not eat for one or two days. They are drug addicts and would forget about me - except to bring men. When there were no customers, the man would hit me and burn me with cigarettes and force me to do things sometimes with the woman there also. He said this to make me remember he is the master.

I made no trouble and after some time the woman take me to carry her shopping. I liked these shopping trips with her and did everything se wanted me to do - it was wanderful to be away from my small, cold room. After some time she began to give me some small money for treats. One day I saw a poster about charity for women. I begin to pray that I will find them and they will help me. But I was frightened because I have no papers. my owners always said to me how without the passport I will go to prison and then sent to Albania if the police find me. Even after more than two years I cry with shame of my life and shame of my parents if they ever know about me.

One day the woman was looking at clothes. She gave me small money to buy a treat. But I found a telephone and with the money called the number of the charity. It was difficult to understand me but Bulgarian came to the telephone and asked where I am. SHE SAID SHE WAS COMING FOR ME !!!!!

Now I work for this charity more than one year and help girls like me. I talk to them every day, and I tell them they must make a new life. They weep very much. I also, but wait until night so they do not see. We all want to go home but we cannot. The shame for our parents and us is too large. I dreamed to be a model. Now I dream about a nice man but what man will marry me? Even if he accepts what happen to me I can never have children because of it. It is difficult to smile.

My new friends in the charity all say the girls like us must be warned. My Bulgarian friend says parhaps the way is Internet. There is little money needed for making website and my English is not good but she helps me. We hope many people will find it."

- Maria, trafficked in France & Italy, originally from Albania

Special Thanks to: Ex Oriente Lux

Original Source: Human Peril