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Prostitution - Ukraine to Holland

Elena (not her real name)was brought to Italy from Romania and forced into prostitution. © Maia Anthea Marinelli/ COLORS Magazine

2005-07-04 11:52:02 / News read 2808 reading
Like most victims of trafficking, Tatiana's reason for travelling abroad was to support her family. Through an agent in Belarus, she arranged to move to Holland to work as a waitress. A number of the agent's contacts assisted her in her journey from Belarus, through Germany to Holland, and everything went smoothly, until she arrived.

Once in Holland, Tatiana was taken to a night club where she was forced to work as a prostitute. For the next four months she was a prisoner, living and working in the club. All her earnings were taken by the club owner, for rent, food and other living costs, and he also demanded payment for her initial travel expenses from Belarus. Her dream of earning money as a waitress had turned into a nightmare. She was unable to send money home, and could not find a way to escape her desperate situation. On top of all this, she was subjected to regular beatings.

After working in the club for four months, Tatiana was rescued in a police raid. At last help was at hand. But instead of providing support and informing her of her legal rights - a three month stay to help her recover from her ordeal - the police gave her an ultimatum, to report the traffickers or be deported. Terrified of reporting the traffickers, fearing violent reprisals against her and her family, and afraid to go home for fear of being branded a prostitute, she was trapped once again.

Tatiana chose to give a statement, hoping that justice would be done. However, instead of providing her with accommodation through social services, the police kept her at the station for two nights. She received no care or support during this time.

Tatiana applied for a residence permit that allowed her to stay in Holland for four years, after which time she made another application for a residence permit. It was then she discovered that the criminal case against the trafficker had been dismissed four years before. Tatiana's testimony had not been considered sufficient to warrant prosecution, and so the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Tatiana's attempt to see justice carried out against her trafficker was crushed. The trafficker had walked free, and yet the police had provided her with no protection. After all she has faced, the authorities still treat her with suspicion, her application for residency to stay in Holland is in question. The case continues.

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Sylvia Ricardo, Tatiana Alice

www.antislavery.org
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