It is a harsh reality of counter trafficking that prevention work is underfunded globally. Education lacks the emotive pull of more obvious intervention such as the rescue and restoration of young people trapped in commercial exploitation. It is said that prevention work is difficult to measure. How do you know that it works? This is one of the reasons we have an external research body monitoring the impact of Escape Magazine on schools with children who are the most at risk of trafficking.
Causes need to evidence themselves somewhere, it is just the way that things are. For us at Love146 we have always said that we are not actually about causes and issues, we are very much about people. Indeed, we are about that one person because that is where the rubber meets the road. It is of great importance for us when we know that just one person has been impacted and it is important that prevention can also be viewed in terms of the intervention it is making. Prevention continues to be the much needed fence at the top of the cliff stopping the next generation from falling off into the abyss which is commercial child exploitation.
Below is a letter received at the Escape office in Moldova in eastern Europe. The personal details have been changed to protect identity.
My name is Anna, and I am studying in 9th grade. I live only with my father but our relationship is very strained because of his frequent drunken feasts that are happening right here at home. I was compelled to hide away all my stuff, because otherwise he just sells it. Once, he came to me with a tempting offer – to travel abroad for work so I can earn some money and start my own life, he said. To work there it was not needed to know the language or job skills. I was close to agreeing to that. A week after his proposal, Natalia came to our school from a visiting team. She told us about the phenomenon of human trafficking and the dangers that beset young girls abroad. After a lecture she gifted us with nice Escape magazines. After reading Escape and hearing the advice of Natalia, I realized that my father’s proposal was a real trap. He continued to insist and even found people who could pay for everything. But I refused to go abroad. And I think this was the smartest decision in my life.
It is still difficult to live.
But I’m free.
Anna, 16 years old, High-school, Moldova