I am 21 years old, from Moldova. I have a son, 4 years old. His father left us when he was born, and my family cannot support us. The job I had was not paying for our basic needs. My salary was approximately 25 DM per month (approximately US$15), and lately salaries were not paid at all. Many young women from my town were traveling abroad for work, and I thought working abroad was also my chance to earn some money.
A woman I know from town was organizing these trips, so I asked her to help me and she promised she would. She swore on her children’s life I would work as a cleaner or a waitress but not as a prostitute, and she helped me to get a passport. She introduced me to a man and said he would take me to Italy. After we passed the border in Romania, he told me he had bought me from her. I was shocked and scared. From that moment on, I was passed from hand to hand; men bought and sold me, moving me from apart ments to houses, crossing borders illegally.
Eventually I arrived in a bar in Kosovo, and was locked inside and forced into prostitution. My passport had been taken away long before, and the traffickers passed it from one to the other each time I was sold. In the bar I was never paid, I could not go out by myself, and the owner became more and more violent as the weeks went by. He was beating and raping me and the other girls. We were his ‘property,’ he said; by buying us he bought the right to beat us, rape us, starve us, force us to have sex with clients. . .
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated:
‘ The trafficking of persons, particularly women and children, for forced and exploitative labor, including for sexual exploitation, is one of the most egregious violations of human rights which the United Nations now confronts.’
Profile of trafficking victims Women 54% Men2% Children 24% Girls17% Boys 3%
Type of exploitation Sexual Expl. 77% Labor Expl. 23%
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1. Trafficking requires transportation across international borders. FALSE
— Trafficking does not require crossing an international border. Victims from rural areas are often promised opportunities in urban centers of the same region or country.
2. Physical confinement or violence must be witnessed for a case to be trafficking. FALSE
— While force and containment are central components of trafficking cases, they are not automatically evident. Threats, pressure or deception are sufficient to make an initial determination of trafficking. In many cases, women are trafficked from their small villages in rural areas through a criminal network linked to their local community. Traffickers often threaten the safety of the victim’s family members, such as their children, to ensure they will not attempt to escape. Trafficked persons are also dependent upon their traffickers for food, clothing and housing and must submit to the demands of their captors.
3 . If a person signs a contract or knows beforehand that she or he will be a sex worker, the person cannot be considered a victim of trafficking. FALSE
— Traffickers deceive their victims about the conditions of work or the abuse they will be forced to endure. No person can consent to slavery-like conditions. Freedom is an inalienable right.
4. Victims of trafficking often have legitimate visas. TRUE
— Trafficking can occur whether people are moved by legal or illegal means. Traffickers may arrange for a tourist or short-term work visa for the country where the exploitation occurs. For example, in one country in South-East Europe, women trafficked for forced prostitution had been granted valid visas for work as ‘dancers’ or ‘performers.’ Some victims of trafficking have received visas for education or marriage, but were forced into sexual slavery upon arrival.
5. Rape, kidnapping and murder are crimes frequently associated with human trafficking. TRUE
— Trafficking is a human rights abuse that equates human beings with commodities that can be bought, sold, damaged or destroyed. Traffickers commit serious crimes in the process of trafficking, especially at the workplace or site where the victim is being abused in slavery-like conditions.
6. If an individual approaches you and claims to be a victim of trafficking, this claim should be accepted at face value. TRUE
— Many victims of trafficking fear additional abuse and reprisals from their trafficker if they identify themselves as a victim. Language barriers can also limit the ability of a victim to communicate with a PKO mission member. However, if an individual does come forward and asks for rescue or other help, he/she should immediately be given assistance. In some cases, this could include transportation to a local emergency shelter and immediate access to services such as medical, psychological and legal support.
7. If a person claims to be a victim of trafficking, you should report it immediately to your supervisor or commanding officer. TRUE
— All military, civilian police and civilian staff have an obligation to report all rumors or suspicions of human trafficking in their mission area or allegations of misconduct by any colleague or mission member. These should be reported through the mission’s complaint mechanism. All rumors of human trafficking or the involvement of peacekeeping personnel in human trafficking must be investigated thoroughly.
8. The internationally accepted definition of a child is any person below 18 years of age. TRUE
— The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as any person below 18 years of age. Peacekeepers have a duty to uphold and respect the rights of all members of the host population, particularly women and children who may be at greater risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. Sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited, regardless of consent .
9. Human trafficking is an element of organized crime and can affect the security of a DPKO ( Department of Peacekeeping Operations) mission. TRUE
— Trafficking in human beings has been linked to trafficking in drugs and arms. Personnel involved in human trafficking may be open to blackmail. Involvement in trafficking by UN peacekeepers could result in violent retaliation by organized criminal groups against the perpetrators, or against the entire contingent or the mission. Corruption of local officials infrequently linked to trafficking, thus anti-corruption strategies should be linked to criminal investigations from the outset of civilian police efforts.
10. Victims of trafficking may include household servants. TRUE
— Many women and children are trafficked into slavery-like situations that do not always include sexual exploitation or abuse. In some cases, women and children are sold to employers as household servants. The core elements of trafficking are the coercive and abusive conditions into which the trafficker places the victim. The kind of business or service into which a person is trafficked does not dictate whether or not trafficking has occurred.
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