Like life itself, the story of Sara took an unprecedented turn in the past week since I wrote her story in my last blog posting– and this time there’s even a happy ending. Sara, confronted by our social worker, decided to finally tell her true story – and it is a story of pain and suffering but also of incredible strength and resilience – and also hope.
Sara was first trafficked to Italy in the late 1990s – as she described in her earlier story, she was ‘enrolled’ by a school friend who offered her opportunity to study and work Italy. But already before arriving to Italy, she underwent a dramatic trip for many months through different African countries with other Nigerian girls. While seeking the most convenient and safe way for trafficking, her tormentors raped her and other girls daily before finally flying them to Russia. In the meantime, Sara had to endure the violence of her traffickers, constant fear of being caught, uncertainty and an involuntary abortion. Seven months later, she was first trafficked into Eastern Europe and finally arrived to Italy with a debt of circa 30,000 euros. Forced into prostitution, she started drinking heavily – this was the only way she could endure her everyday fate.
However, couple year later, she finally repaid her debt – her happiness did not last long. Just as she became ‘free’, she was arrested by the police and sent back home to Nigeria. Determined to make a better life for herself in Italy, she asked her former madame for help to be trafficked back to Italy. This time she was given false paper and flew almost immediately to Italy, where again a debt awaited her. She went back to working in the street and later, after repaying her debt, tried to work illegally in various places. Finally, after years of abuse and fear, she met TAMPEP crew and now, after recounting her real story, actually stands a chance of legalizing her situation.
Thus, after many complications, Sara stands a chance for a better life for herself. We are all amazed here in the office with her determination and endurance. And yes, in spite of her initial attempt to falsify her story, we all recognize her enormous strength and the difficulties she had to face. This was also recognized by the public prosecutor who absolved Sara from her earlier expulsion order.
But what awaits Sara now? As other girls, who participate in ANTARES and EQUAL LIFE programs of TAMPEP, she probably will be able to start her life anew, look for a job, and get her residence permit. It is her own personal victory- victory over her traffickers and the years of pain they inflicted upon her; it is also TAMPEP’s victory – to bring her to tell the truth and, in this way, assist her with her life. There could be also another victory, if her traffickers will be brought to justice – and in turn, other lives can be saved.
Posted By Ewa Sobczynska
Posted Jul 27th, 2005