Trafficking in human beings is an issue of growing alarm, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization. While no country is untouched, Eastern Europe is facing a particular problem in the loss of its young women. ILO Television reports…
They are crosses for the departed, but hopefully not for the dead. When scores of young women started to disappear from the Albanian town of Blinisht, a local priest planted a cross for every one that was missing. Women no longer go missing from the town.
Tales from women in shelters paint a picture of a very flexible system of trafficking in which a woman may be sold many times before reaching her final destination.
(Woman trafficked from Moldovia)
We went on foot. At the border, a Serb took us over, then we walked one or two hours. He brought us to a house where we had tolift our shirts and several men examined our bodies. Then they selected three of us.
Albania is one stop along an international trafficking route that generates $7 billion dollars each year from the sale of women, men and children. Stemming the tide of trafficking is the subject of a new International Labour Organization’s Global Report on Forced Labour.
While traffickers know no borders, law enforcement must deal with national boundaries that limit their ability to stop the illicit trade. In Belgium, Serge Muyters has some of the toughest laws in Europe to help him fight trafficking in the red light district of Antwerp.
Serge Muyters, Antwerp Police Dept.
The major problem is that not one single woman there is working on her own account. So they all work for Albanian men. They are so afraid of them that they don’t want to talk to the police. In this area, they even used to kill women on the streets.
Women from Eastern Europe may be trafficked to any number of destinations in the East or West, wherever the money is. How does one turn a woman bought and sold against her will into a working prostitute? The answer is simple, by force.
They said the women will show you how to do this work and I said, But I do not want to do this work, so they said, if you do not do this work, we will kill you.
With coordinated law enforcement and political will, the road these young women follow will be marked by promise and not by a cross.