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Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Trafficking Victims
Victim Stories
  

Victim Stories

VICTIM PROFILES: The victims' testimonies included in the report are meant to be representative only and do not include all forms of trafficking that occur. Any of these stories could unfortunately take place almost anywhere in the world. They are provided to illustrate the many forms of trafficking and the wide variety of places in which they take place. No country is immune. All names of victims that appear in this report are fictional.

CENTRAL AFRICA: Mary, a 16-year-old demobilized child soldier forced to join an armed rebel group in central Africa, remembers: "I feel so bad about the things that I did. It disturbs me so much that I inflicted death on other people. When I go home I must do some traditional rites because I have killed. I must perform these rites and cleanse myself. I still dream about the boy from my village whom I killed. I see him in my dreams, and he is talking to me, saying I killed him for nothing, and I am crying."

CAMBODIA: Neary grew up in rural Cambodia. Her parents died when she was a child, and, in an effort to give her a better life, her sister married her off when she was 17. Three months later she and her husband went to visit a fishing village. Her husband rented a room in what Neary thought was a guest house. But when she woke the next morning, her husband was gone. The owner of the house told her she had been sold by her husband for $300 and that she was actually in a brothel.

For five years, Neary was raped by five to seven men every day. In addition to brutal physical abuse, Neary was infected with HIV and contracted AIDS. The brothel threw her out when she became sick, and she eventually found her way to a local shelter. She died of HIV/AIDS at the age of 23.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Lusa is a 17 year-old orphan kidnapped in 2004 from her native Uzbekistan. Lusa's aunt engineered her abduction to Dubai using a cousin's passport, because the aunt wanted to take Lusa's apartment. In Dubai, Lusa was sold to a slavery and prostitution ring. When she was no longer useable in prostitution, the traffickers sent her to a psychiatric center. An Uzbek NGO located her in Dubai. The NGO arranged to move her to a shelter, and they began working on her repatriation. Because she entered the U.A.E. illegally, on a false passport, the U.A.E. immigration service said she should serve a two-year prison sentence. Government officials and the enterprising NGO are negotiating Lusa's case.

ITALY: Viola, a young Albanian, was 13 when she started dating 21-year-old Dilin, who proposed to marry her. They moved them to Italy where Dilin said he had cousins who could get him a job. Arriving in Italy, Viola's life changed forever. Dilin locked her in a hotel room and left her, never to be seen again. A group of men entered and began to beat Viola. Then, each raped her. The leader informed Viola that Dilin had sold her and that she had to obey him or she would be killed. For seven days Viola was beaten and repeatedly raped. Viola was sold a second time to someone who beat her head so badly she was unable to see for two days. She was told if she didn't work as a prostitute, her mother and sister in Albania would be raped and killed. Viola was forced to submit to prostitution until police raided the brothel in which she was held. She was deported to Albania.

LEBANON: Silvia was a young, single, Sri Lankan mother seeking a better life for herself and her three-year-old son when she answered an advertisement for a housekeeping job in Lebanon. In the Beirut job agency, her passport was taken, and she was hired by a Lebanese woman who subsequently confined her and restricted her access to food and communications. Treated like a prisoner and beaten daily, Silvia was determined to escape. She jumped from a window to the street below, landing with such force that she is permanently paralyzed. She is now back in Sri Lanka. Today, she travels around the country telling her story so that others do not suffer a similar fate.

INDIA: Shadir, a boy of 15 years, was offered a job that included good clothes and an education; he accepted. Instead of being given a job, Shadir was sold to a slave trader who took him to a remote village in India to produce hand-woven carpets. He was frequently beaten. He worked 12 to 14 hours a day and he was poorly fed. One day, Shadir was rescued by a NGO working to combat slavery. It took several days for him to realize he was no longer enslaved. He returned to his village, was reunited with his mother, and resumed his schooling. Now Shadir warns fellow village children about the risks of becoming a child slave.

TURKEY: Svetlana was a young Belarusian living in Minsk and looking for a job when she came upon some Turkish men who promised her a well-paying job in Istanbul. Once Svetlana crossed the border, her passport and money were taken and she was locked up. Svetlana and another foreign woman were sent to the apartment of two businessmen and forced into prostitution. Svetlana had other plans: In an attempt to escape, she jumped out of a window and fell six stories to the street below. According to Turkish court documents, customers did not take Svetlana to the hospital, they called the traffickers instead. These events led to her death. Svetlana's body lay unclaimed in the morgue for two weeks until Turkish authorities learned her identity and sent her body to Belarus. But Svetlana did not die in vain. Belarusian and Turkish authorities cooperated effectively to arrest and charge those responsible for contributing to a death and for human trafficking.

SINGAPORE: Karin, a young mother of two, was looking for a job in Sri Lanka when a man befriended her and convinced her that she could land a better job in Singapore as a waitress. He arranged and paid for her travel. A Sri Lankan woman met Karin upon arrival in Singapore, confiscated her passport, and took her to a hotel. The woman made it clear that Karin had to submit to prostitution to pay back the money it cost for her to be flown into Singapore. Karin was taken to an open space for sale in the sex market where she joined women from Indonesia, Thailand, India, and China to be inspected and purchased by men from Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia, and Africa. The men would take the women to nearby hotels and rape them. Karin was forced to have sex with an average of 15 men a day. She developed a serious illness and three months after her arrival was arrested by the Singaporean police during a raid on the brothel. She was deported to Sri Lanka.

  
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