Thomas Reuters Foundation met Maya. Maya was a 17 year old girl living in a small town of Romania. In the summer of 2015 she shared her story and her experience of being trafficked into sex work in the city by her boyfriend. A smart and bright girl fell in the trap of being a sex worker.
However this is an everyday scenario in poor countries like Romania. Because of widespread poverty and famine, many young girls see sex industry as an opportunity to earn money and a way to uplift their living conditions. An NGO found in Romania named the Nightingales project helps young people at risk of being trafficked.
This project provided an insight to the journalist of Thomas Reuters Foundation and how critical the condition is as the girls wish to have a different future but fail because of their economic condition. Through some interviews with Maya’s sister and other people close to her, the Foundation came to a conclusion about the difficult choices girls make which influences the trafficking sector.
Along with brothels, girls are also lured into various massage parlors found across different parts of Europe. Maya is not the only one who is deceived by her boyfriend. Many other young girls are also found to be victim of false promises and hopes who are desperate for a better future. Maya has been working in a brothel in Switzerland for some time now. But her sister Geida hopes for a future where she has respectable working environment.
Romanian culture also seem to have been blaming women for the unjust happening to them. The culture of “who knew what they were getting into” has been fatal to protect the young girls.
A study released by the British parliament disclosed astonishing number of Romanian sex workers in so called “pop -up” brothels. 85% of the workers were Romanians, this is human smuggling taken to next level.
Romanians are falling victim to this scam also because of criminal intent. A Romanian mafia group can be found across Europe. The Mafia is found to be involved in activities like sex trafficking, panhandling and exploitation. In order to tempt woman they have come up with the idea of using the “loverboy method.” The play psychological games with fragile girls and manipulate them into working in brothels in order to maintain their relationship.
But perhaps the greatest crisis is the government does not see this as a social problem. The government of Romania does not see this social problem as an issue and they do not think it needs a serious intervention. They take it to be personal choice of Romanian girls to be involved in such indecent activities.