Sitting captive in a brothel bedroom in Velesta, Macedonia, a woman by the name of Olga found the strength to tell her story to inquiring journalists; even at the risk of death.
Wincing from pain throughout the interview, the 19-year-old young woman had an infected puncture wound on her right breast. A man who raped her a few days before bit her during a vicious assault. Being an abducted victim in a sex operation, she had nowhere to turn for even basic treatment.
It’s reported that young women, much like Olga, have tried to escape from such sex prisons. They are usually hunted down, beaten, and repeatedly raped in order to teach a lesson. Following such beatings, these women are subject to years stuck in a vicious trade cycle that can span anywhere on the globe, including every G8 nation.
When questioned about her sad predicament, faced by many others, all Olga responded “’There is only one word for this,’” she said, “‘Slavery.’”
Olga’s story begins like many of the other 500,000 to 800,000 young women who are forced into sexual markets, worldwide, each year. A young woman growing up in rural Moldova, Olga wanted to explore western Europe to escape a depressing family life.
She never had the opportunity.
One day, outside of her school, she was abducted and eventually thrown into the trunk of a car. When taken out of the trunk, Olga discovered that she –along with several other women- was surrounded by a group of “body guards”. As easily as they abducted her, these men took her across great stretches in order to reach the destination of Macedonia. Here, as she found on her first night of arrival, her life was to take a turn for the worst.
Upon her arrival this young woman was severely beaten, forced to lick a filthy toilet clean with her tongue, and repeatedly raped in order to “break her in”.
“’Meti made me clean the toilet with my tongue. It was horrible and dirty. I think they did it because I was the newest girl,’” Olga said of her ethnic Albanian owner. “’He made me lick another girl’s … you know, down there. And then he laughed.’”
For a year after her initial abduction, to the time she did this interview with a team of intrepid reporters, she has been raped at least 10 times every day.
Perhaps the most shocking detail of sexual trafficking is how far it reaches across the globe. Women such as Olga are shipped out of areas when they “bore” the local clienteles. Typically, this entails complex transactions and transfer of ownership across international borders. The prevalence of these crimes makes sexual trafficking a multi-billion dollar black market.
Sadly, traffic commonly spans from Eastern Europe and Asia and flows into Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Canada, and the United States. It is a crime that knows no shame and apparently, no boundaries. Why isn’t more being done to address this issue?
When I decided to do an editorial on this subject, I didn’t expect the numerous detailed accounts of many young women who have come forward, some at the risk of death, to talk about the horrors faced in their lives. Many of them innocently sought a better life or a chance to travel, only to fall victim in a well-woven trap.
There are so many harrowing stories to share that one editorial is not sufficient in fully exploring or analyzing this issue. Above a video is linked from PBS Frontline, which did an excellent documentary on the subject. On the particular excerpt, they follow and bust a woman who helps imprison and deliver other women into this market. It is definitely worth a watch.
What Else Can I Do?
Information. An informed and concerned public is one of the best weapons in combating any type of societal exploitation. There are organizations that are specialized in combating trafficking worldwide as well as pressuring law agencies to attempt to track missing women. Clearly, these organizations need more help from resources that we may have to offer.
Please feel free to look into these organizations listed here.
There is also an excellent documentary entitled Sex Slaves, a clip of which I’ve made available above. A trust fund has been set-up by the films producers in order to assist some of the trapped young women, featured in the documentary, secure their freedom. If this is something you would like to look into, please contact the films producer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sex trafficking is a horrible reality that is taking place all around us. Make sure to talk about this issue with friends to raise awareness.