Europe – one of the most civilized continents in the world is also home to over 2.4 million identified and alleged victims of human trafficking and children used in the sex business. Moldova - a beautiful country famous for traditional music and vineyards is also a European center of slavery and human trafficking. The 21st century - better technological facilities, space exploration and it is also a century in which we have more slaves than any century before.
Mark Morgan is a European Director and he heads up Stella's Voice in the UK & Europe - a registered charity protecting humans who have been touched by trafficking and sex abuse.
“Stella was an orphan girl who died of aids at the age of nineteen as a result of being trafficked – she will never speak again. We have determined that we will be ‘Stella’s Voice’ and do all that we can to protect as many of the worlds’ most vulnerable from human traffickers. We believe that prevention is the most effective antidote to slavery.” Mr Morgan says.
In Moldova, it is commonplace that mothers sell their children to traffickers. It is unbelievable that sometimes they sell them for as little as 4 cigarettes.
People traffickers first recruit, then transport, and finally, use women. Statistics show that even people as young as 9-year-olds are used 10 to 15 times a day.
Why are people not calling for help when they are victims of slavery? “This is a complicated answer, but in short, they are often removed from their country at the point of abduction. They are threatened with siblings back in their home country being harmed or killed if the victim tries to escape or tell.”
According to Mr Morgan’s words, traders transport girls abroad and they cannot escape because they are by themselves in a foreign country without language knowledge. The only work that they can do is selling their bodies.
The sad truth is that there is a high percentage of children underage who are a part of sex slavery. They believe that when they grow up they don’t have an education or any talent. The only thing that they can do is prostitution. That’s why they don’t see the point in changing their lifestyles and they believe that this is the only thing that they can do.
However, Stella’s Voice is changing their approach to life. “We have main 4 goals: Remove the vulnerability – by giving them a safe place of shelter, clothing and food and their basic needs taken care of we remove the vulnerability. Assist through education – we provide the funds, assistance resources to help them progress through the education system from school right through to college and university – this begins to give them options for the future and to be in a position to earn a living. Equip and resource – education on its own will not equip a young person with everything they need to live productive, independent lives. Training, life skills and apprenticeships are just some of the ways we ensure each person is equipped and resourced. Empowerment to live independent lives - success at Stella’s Voice is when a young person reaches the point where they are ready to transition into independent living, have found sustainable employment and they have moved out of our homes empowered for the future.”
Stella’s Voice would not exist without donors who support the charity by providing money for education, jobs and running the homes in Moldova. “As for what changes when you support this charity – each life that progresses through our homes is a life changed forever. Not only have they been spared from the dangers of being trafficked, but as they go on to have families themselves in the future, the cycle of abject poverty has been stopped. Donations provide the means to housing, feeding, clothing and care for these young people. Donations enable them to receive an education they have been denied because they were in an orphanage system – through no fault or doing of their own.”
Unfortunately, the problem of human trafficking is also found in the most civilized countries. Great Britain included. “Human Trafficking definitely happens in the UK. It’s closer to home than any of us would like to believe” Mr Morgan warns.
If you would like to learn more about Stella's Voice or support the charity you can find out here: https://stellasvoice.org.uk/