Dina was born and raised in a very poor family. After her parents died 11 years ago, she went to live with her two brothers. However, all that she had seen in her parents’ house was humiliation and pressure. Due to the constant pressure from the brothers as well as very poor living conditions, the girl was forced to leave the family home. She had nowhere to go so she agreed to cohabit with a man from her village. This man was regularly subjecting her to violence and forcing her to consume alcohol. More than that, he started to force Dina to have sex with other men. All this time Dina kept silent.
In March 2012, a lady who was seven months pregnant came to the municipal hospital, being on the critical list. It was Dina. She again was subjected to severe physical and sexual abuse. According to doctors, because of all of she experienced, this woman has an acute psychiatric disorder, along with a physical disability. When Dina was sent for rehabilitation from the local crisis center to the “House of Change”, we have found that at 34, she cannot read nor write. She has only first grade of rural school. The “House of Change” team also established that Dina’s level of life-skills is so low that does not know how to do many basic things and is afraid of the new things. At the hospital, she gave birth to a beautiful baby – Andrew. Now he is 11 months old and we are amazed at how well, despite of all her problems, the mother takes care of him. However, the public social services say that they will probably deprive the rights of the parent and that the child will be send to a foster home. To find biological father probably will not be possible as, before the intervention of the police, Dina was sexually exploited for several years by a number of men from her and neighboring villages.
Dina’s story, unfortunately, is not the first and not the last of this kind. Lately in our rehabilitation center for victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking “House of Change” we have been referred other women who have a very similar situation. The majority of women in our center are from a rural area, most of them haven’t completed their secondary school education, and all of them have gone through the entire spectrum of violence and exploitation. Meeting Dina and other 10 women, three of whom have children in House of Change, we realized how much we have to do to restore these broken bodies, minds and souls, and to give these poor women even a small hope for a normal, humane life in the future.
Honestly, at one moment, we have believed the official declarations that the trafficking and exploitation is practically defeated in Moldova and we don’t have to worry about that issue. However, after the raids by our employees in more than 25 villages of Moldova and two round-table discussions with local social workers as well with Department for Child Protection, which directly meet with similar cases in the field, we realized that victory over this problem is not yet achieved.
“We again received evidence that “House of Change” is still needed by people, even if women in rural areas, because of shame and fear, do not want to accept help from anyone,” says Natalia Klapaniuk, Operations Director of the “House of Change” center, “They do not want anyone to know what happened with them, or is still happening, as in the case with Dina . Those who decided to receive this help from us, say that all this time they were keeping inside the experiences and excruciating pain of the past and tried to manage somehow by themselves. They are afraid that people will blame and label them, and then will spit in their direction, will scoff, causing more pain.”
Trying to be always aware of the current situation in the country and to find a relevant way of restoration for each woman, we decided to expand our rehabilitation program; both the existing center, already offering 12 places, as well out of the center in the rural areas where many women who are victims of exploitation live.
We feel that in this difficult struggle against evil and pain, we are not alone. We thank you for being alongside us and for your support and prayers. Continue to pray for our team and for these women who have taken the first steps on the path of recovery, freedom and hope…