Never Coming Back
While watching the Travel Channel the other day, I was reminded of Michael Palin's New Europe, a series about the new EU states and their neighbours, which aired a few years ago on the BBC. I remember watching with interest about what he had to say about Romania and of course, there was the section about the People's Palace in Bucharest, which explained about the terrible things that Nicolae Ceausescu did to his people during Communism. But I also remembered that the episode started in Moldova, just a skip across the border from Romania. Now that I'm here, I wanted to watch it again but was unable to find a full version of the episode. In fact, the only thing I could find on Youtube was this small snippet which I watched with interest and shock.
Today, I've been doing some research online about organisations who we can approach for funding here in Moldova and I've also read about other NGO's here in Chisinau. I keep finding pages about the situation surrounding human trafficking here in Moldova and came across this article from The Scotsman in 2006. Statistics say that almost 80% of women between the ages of 16 and 36 in rural Moldova are missing, most having been forced into prostitution abroad and have no chance of escape. These figures are impossible to substantiate however I have read a few more articles about this scandal and it appears that the authorities are not interested. Indeed, even police, border guards and governmental officials profit from this business which is worth $30 billion per year. This weekend, the national elections take place in Moldova and the people are hopeful that they will have a stable government for the first time in 18 months and for the first time in decades, a government free from Communist influence. Let's also hope that the eradication of human trafficking is high on the agenda of the successful party and candidate. It's impossible to imagine how it must feel for these women and children who are subjected to this sort of deceit and treatment but I am thankful that girls like Olga, described above, are helped by those kind enough to risk everything to assist. But these numbers are few and far between. I came across this poster which has the tagline 'Tu nu esti Marfa' which basically translates as 'You are not merchandise'. It says it all.
On the day when we hear about what's going on in New Zealand, North and South Korea and Cambodia, this article reminded me how blessed and lucky some of us are.
For more information on this horrific subject, you can read more here