Thousands of vulnerable children and young people throughout Southeast Europe fall prey to human traffickers every year, who exploit them through forced prostitution or labour. 18 October is European Anti-Trafficking Day – a day to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking, and ways to fight against it.
Imagine growing up with a violent father – without a mother to protect you – who sends you out begging on the streets. Imagine being taken to an orphanage because you are safer there than at home. Imagine finding out that your father was actually a trafficker who used to promise people jobs in foreign countries, take their money to bring them there and then abandon them without any job prospect… How would you feel? What chance in life would you have if the family that is meant to protect you is the one trying to exploit you? Imagine some years after leaving the orphanage a family member suddenly taking an interest in you and offering you a (seemingly) really good job in a foreign country… What would you do?
This was Valya’s* story, and although hers has a happy ending, it was only thanks to the dedication and compassion of staff and volunteers at FSCI’s House of Opportunity Programme that Valya escaped from almost certainly becoming another victim of human trafficking.
Will Valya ever be completely free of the risk of being exploited? It won’t be easy, but FSCI will do everything in its power to give her the support she needs to make wise choices. For now, the team are delighted that Valya is doing well. She is working full time for a local business and living in a room of her own.
FSCI is actively working to PREVENT vulnerable people from becoming victims of human trafficking by giving at-risk children and young people the opportunity to break out of poverty and marginalisation and lead successful independent lives. Will you join us in preventing trafficking in Southeast Europe?
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* Name changed to protect anonymity.