The recession has caused a dramatic rise of human trafficking in Eastern Europe. Just in Belarus, more than 800,000 immigrated to Russia in search of employment.
As the recession grows, so does the illegal business all over the world, causing harm to innocent people that put their trust in the con artist.
In Eastern Europe, 99 percent of the population is aware of these happenings. Traffickers quickly trap people in need of money with advertisements offering them jobs that sound too good to be true, making it tempting for them to immigrate.
Natasha from Belarus, being the sole provider of her family, decided to go in search of a job to provide food for her four children. She went to Moscow to work in a factory packing frozen vegetables.
When she arrived, they took away her passport and made her work 16 hours a day. She was only allowed to have three bathroom breaks, one meal and was forced to sleep on the factory floor.
After one month, she went looking for her salary, but she only got threats of sexual violence, so she remained in the factory. During the second month, her health was deteriorating, so she went in search of her paycheck and again she got nothing.
“We escaped in a car we flagged down. The police ignored me, and then a friend referred me to the Red Cross Red Crescent,” said Natasha.
The Red Cross helped her return home, and they even helped her with chemotherapy for the cancer she developed while working in the factory. They also provided psychological, legal and any necessary treatments.
She is now in Belarus working as a waitress and a volunteer for the Red Cross to prevent anyone from suffering the same nightmare as she did. There are many others that are currently going through the same experience. Ninety percent of the women and men that have returned are infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS or other types of sexually transmitted diseases. Others are missing due to prostitution.
“No one knows how many other men and women are living in torment, unable or ashamed to return, getting deeper and deeper into the mire of drugs and depression,” said psychologist Natalia Domarenko.
Children are also being forced into labor, begging and sexual exploitation. “We can’t find children via hotlines or information campaigns. Children don’t call hotlines. Once they are trafficked they are lost forever,” said Anna Ravenco, president of the Moldovan anti-trafficking organization. They have very little information on children that are being taken.
No one knows exactly how many people are missing, but their family members are certain about one thing, they need help.
Human trafficking is rapidly becoming a problem all over the world, due to the economic crisis. Finding out a way to help the victims is the hardest part of the process, when trying to stop trafficking.
(All facts from: oneworld.net, cnn.com, bbcnews.com)