A thread of hope at road's end

Category: Stories Published on 19 March 2015

Mariana's childhood was very difficult and joyless, filled with poverty, violence, and a lack of love, care, and support. Until she was 4 years old, she lived with her biological family in a small village. When she turned 5, she moved to Chisinau with her mother and two other brothers and they managed to rent a flat, trying to fit all together in one small room. Later they found another apartment with two rooms in a public dorm from the city, paying for it in installments. Periodically, in order to pay the costs, her mother went abroad to Moscow to earn the necessary money. Mariana remembers the day when she saw her mother for the last time very well. Her mother decided to leave again for work in Russia, but never came back. For a certain period of time she was in contact with her mother by telephone, but, one day, the phone calls ceased and Mariana never heard from her again. With the departure of her mother, she remained home with her older sister, who was already married, and older brother.

 

            Her brother and sister didn't care for her very much, so she received no help or support for her daily needs. She spent most of her evenings and nights at either their neighbor's or her godmother’s house. When she was 9 years old, her brother brought his girlfriend to live together with them in the same house, but she didn't like Mariana. She thought Mariana was only trouble, so she convinced him to send her to the orphanage, claiming that this will be better for everybody. During first days Mariana was very happy to finally be by herself, away from brother and his girlfriend, but in short time, she realized that the freedom she wanted was not what she thought it would be. The pressure within the orphanage made her run back to her brother's apartment, in spite of the fact that she was not very welcomed there. Because of this, her brother decided to end the relationship with his girlfriend and sent Mariana to their father and relatives. This change of residence was supposed to bring comfort and peace, but she found herself again living in a neglectful environment, facing the same lack of family love and care. Moreover, her father taught her how to smoke, drink and, more than once, tried to rape her.

            Tired of living this way, Mariana decided to run away from her family, considering that streets would offer more peace and comfort than her own family. While wandering the streets, a gypsy woman found her and took her to a house in Calarasi city. There, she and other few more girls were forced to beg on the city streets or they were beaten and raped. When she turned 15, gypsies took her abroad in Russia with falsified documents to beg again on the streets. They were injecting her legs muscles with special drugs to paralyze her for over 8 hours to make her seem more pitiful in front of police and passersby. She was held in Russia for several months, during which she had to deal with begging and forced sexual activity. After a certain period, they brought her back to Moldova and she managed to run away. Unfortunately at 17 years old, she was caught up into the gypsy network again, but this time is taken to Ukraine. For 4 months, with other 17 people, she was forced to beg again. After that time, she managed to run from the begging network and tried to live from day to day in the train station.

Just when she thought that her torture was over, traffickers found Mariana and forced her into the prostitution business. A few months later, after several unsuccessful attempts, she managed to run from the pimps but, because of lack of money and proper documentation to return to Moldova, she ended up doing prostitution independently. This is how she spent the next 5 years until she got pregnant and was directed by the hospital authorities to a Ukrainian center for single mothers. One year after that she was sent to Moldova with white passports.

            At the moment Mariana is part of the rehabilitation and reintegration program. First of all, we managed to help her obtain all the necessary documents for her children, but Mariana has a long list of other problems and we are ready to give our best to help her solve them. Because she didn't finish school, she is not able to write or read. She also has a series of psychological problems that need treatment and recovery. Thankfully, she is willing to change her life and get better in every possible way. Mariana wishes to live here in Moldova, reestablish relations with her relatives, grow and educate her child and get a well-paying  job.

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