Today we traveled from the top of Romania to the South, the capital Bucharest, ahead of our Bulgaria road race to get to Thessoliniki in Greece on schedule.
We have become somewhat accustomed to random girls selling themselves at the side of the road, day and night, in most of the countries we have passed through. Often around petrol stations but also in laybys where they may be picked up by truckers. Today was no exception.
We had the privilege of stopping off at a Safe Home north of the city on route. It was one of those ‘call us when you reach this or that town, and we will give you verbal directions’ deliberately to avoid putting details on paper. Its secret, and needs to remain so as pimps always want to reclaim their invesments.
Today we arrive at the shelter and were met by the social worker and walked into the lounge where there were around 6 girls watching tv. We shook hands with them all, smiled and went to sit and have coffee in a side room while our host arrived to share stories. I dont know what we were expecting, this is a home after all and a family environment, the girls aren’t tucked away somewhere else.
Our host told us how they have been working with repatriated girls for 12 years, with many of them returning from Italy and Spain where they were trafficked and were rescued in police raids or escaped. They were all romanian, some seemed to be around 15, perhaps younger and the horror had already happened to them.
We asked about children being trafficked and were told that in his experience there were many of them. They often have girls coming in who have been trafficked for 2 or 3 years already and come home still only 13 years old.
That’s probably enough, we are still processing what we heard there and our feeling concerning it.