According to The UN around 2.5 million people are trafficked every year. The exact number, however, is hard to obtain and it is unsure how many victims of the brutality and exploitation of traffickers there are.
Behind the statistics and stone cold numbers there are real people that are exploited, forced into prostitution and suffer tremendously. It is important to remember that the victims of trafficking are not an anonymous mass but individuals, who have their own stories.
HopeNow would like to share some stories from the women we have worked with. The women have been trafficked into prostitution in Denmark. The women’s names are fictive but their stories are true. They have kindly permitted us to tell their stories.
“My parents died when I was seven years old. I was given to my aunt, who did not treat me well and abused me. The story of Cinderella was much like mine – that was my life. I worked 16-hour days with carrying water, laundering clothes, cleaning the house and selling fruit at the market. I was beaten nearly every day. When I was 16, my aunt suggested that I should travel to Europe to get an education and a decent job. I believed that this would mean great opportunities for me.
I was happy to get away from my aunt and left her without hesitation or worry. I travelled trough the desert and across the sea. I witnessed many people drown and other horrible things. I arrived in Spain when I was 18 and in the days after my arrival my dreams, of a better life, crumbled. I was forced to work on the street and earn money from prostituting myself. The Madame, who referred to herself as ‘my aunt’ told me that I owed 50.000 Euros for transport and new papers.
It was horrifying and I felt frightened all the time. In 2008 I was transferred to Denmark as my trafficker said that I could earn more money and faster here. My first interaction with the police was when a client raped me and tried to kill me. One of the police officers was kind and contacted HopeNow. I applied for asylum in Denmark. In the beginning I lied about the identity of my traffickers but as I started to trust HopeNow and the police I reviled my whole story.
At first I did not get asylum, but HopeNow put op a hard fight for my case once I opened up about my story. Together with my lawyer, we succeeded in winning the case. In the future I hope more women have the courage to identify their traffickers to the police. In Denmark you can not be sure weather or not you will be shipped back to your home country even though you have testified against your traffickers and therefore risk their punishment.”
Evangeline was fortunate to receive asylum in Denmark. HopeNow collaborates with an excellent lawyer, who appealed the case and won in the end as Evangeline was evaluated to be at great risk if she returned home to Africa. HopeNow has also given support and operated as a contact person for women who have been victims of trafficking and go through a long process in their integration into Danish society.