Women and Children for Sale

"Human Trafficking: Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights"

a report by Amnesty International UK
41 pp. (February 2006)

Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe

a report by Barbara Limanowska
United Nations Development Program, 336 pp. (March 2005)

"Used, Abused, Arrested and Deported: Extending Immigration Benefits to Protect the Victims of Trafficking and to Secure the Prosecution of Traffickers"

by Dina Francesca Haynes
Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 2 (May 2004)

Trafficking: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

—The Palermo Protocol to the UN Convention Against Transnational Crime, 2000


What Nita remembers about the day the Serb militia took her from her house in Pristina to a camp and raped her was that it was cold, and that snow was on the ground. She’s forgotten whether it was just before or just after Christmas in 1996, the year when fighting broke out between Serb forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army. Too many terrible things have happened to her in the last ten years; they have, she says, clouded her mind. In 1996 Nita was eighteen, married with an eight-month-old daughter, living close to her widowed father and her seven-year-old sister. The Serb militia who came for her took away the baby and the little girl, and led her husband, Milau, and her father off to another camp. Nita was repeatedly raped, along with seven other women, for four days, before being put into a car and thrown out near the Albanian border, joining thousands of terrified people fleeing the Serbs. In Tirana, there were people willing to give help to the refugees. During the next few weeks the man who took Nita into his apartment drove her from refugee camp to camp, so that she could search for her lost family. There was no trace of any one of them.

The man, says Nita, was kind to her; he took her to eat in restaurants. And when, one evening, he drove her to the seashore and told her that they were going for a ride on a speedboat, she went willingly. It was only when the boat pulled away from the shore and she saw that it was full of women and young girls that she grew frightened and began to struggle. Even then, she had no idea about what was happening to her: she was just terrified. The man punched her: she passed out. When she came to, she was in Italy, at the start of a journey that took her, several days later, to an apartment on the outskirts of Turin. From the other women held there, she learned that she had been trafficked, sold as a prostitute to a ring of Italian and Albanian pimps. “If you want to eat,” one of the women said to her, “you will have to work.”

For the next six years, working first in an apartment, a prisoner and never allowed to go out, and later on the streets, Nita provided sex every night, seven days a week, to at least ten men; sometimes it took place…

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