Every young girl dreams about finding the right man one day, one who will truly love and care for her. A 23 year old mother of a child aged 15 months shared the same dream... but life took a different turn before any of those things happened.
Mihaela* remembers her sister talking for hours with an Albanian man on the internet. Two months after she met the man, when Mihaela’s baby was 7 months old, he invited both of them to come to Germany. Although it was an unexpected proposal, with many unknowns, both sisters decided to go to Germany for the first time in their lives. Mihaela took her baby also, which was not a problem at all for the one who invited them. When they arrived, he was there to meet them and they spent few beautiful days at a hotel, visiting the sights of the city. Everything seemed perfect, with nothing to worry about and no danger. After a few days, they all left for his parents’ house for about a month, during which they built a good relationship with his parents. They decided to leave the baby in his parent’s care and go back to Germany for travel and maybe some work.
However, their visit to Germany this time seemed somehow strange, especially on discovering that some of motel’s doors they stayed in had pictures of different girls, not ordinary for a normal motel. A few days later, the man they came with told them that money had run out. They had nothing to buy food with or pay for their accommodation. Therefore, they were forced to get into prostitution in order to earn money for their needs, to pay for accommodation and to be able to go back to Albania for the baby. Now, Mihaela and her sister understood why there were pictures on the doors – the motel was a brothel involved in human trafficking.
For two weeks they had to be obedient and practice prostitution, otherwise they were threatened with never get back to Mihaela’s baby or finding freedom. Two weeks later, the man took them to another similar motel in Switzerland for more work and then back to Germany for the same activity in a nightclub.
Fortunately, about one week later the Albanian man they came with simply disappeared and Mihaela and her sister were left alone. At first, they were afraid to run or to speak to anyone - after all, maybe it was a test and any attempt to achieve freedom would cost them more pain and humiliation! However, they could not just stay and wait for something to happen, so with the help of someone they managed to escape and travel towards Albania. On the approach to Albania’s border, the police caught them and took them, together with Mihaela’s baby (police having taken them to the man’s house from where Mihaela recovered her baby from his parents, with whom it had been safe all that time) to a special center for victims of human trafficking. One month later they were sent back to Moldova.
Once in Moldova, Mihaela was directed to BOL’s rehabilitation and reintegration program, which provides multilateral assistance for building emotional and psychological stability. Here, she learned to overcome the past and achieve what she always dreamed of – a complete and happy family!
* Name changed to protect identity