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Tanya

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, an estimated 3.6 million men, women and chidlren were living in modern slavery in Europe and Central Asia (GSI 2018). People are subjected to exploitation in forced labour, debt bondage and forced sexual exploitation. Government response in Europe is particularly strong with a number of regional bodies holding them account and monitoring responses, and while countries in Central Asia have taken steps to tack modern slavery, more needs to be done.  Tanya was trafficked from Ukraine after being offered a job in another country. Her brother was sick and in need of an operation and her family was poor. She was sold and forced into prostitution.

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Anya and Katerina

There are an estimated 509,000 people living in modern slavery in Turkey (GSI 2018). As a source, transit and destination location for immigration, human trafficking is prevalent in the country. Trafficking victims in Turkey are primarily from Central and South Asia, Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Syria. Women are mainly trafficked to Turkey as sex workers. Anya and Katerina were trafficked to Turkey by a woman named Olga who offered them a job. She took them to a café where they were taken by men to an apartment. That first night they were told to get dressed for work, taken to a hotel, and forced into prostitution.

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Katia

There are an estimated 509,000 people living in modern slavery in Turkey (GSI 2018). As a source, transit and destination location for immigration, human trafficking is prevalent in the country. Trafficking victims in Turkey are primarily from Central and South Asia, Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Syria. Women are mainly trafficked to Turkey as sex workers. Katia was trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation from Ukraine to Turkey. She was drugged and beaten and forced to sleep with men against her will on a daily basis.

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Oksana B

Forced labour accounts for 98 percent of cases of modern slavery in Russia. Made up of both Russian and foreign workers, particularly from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, these people are enslaved in the agricultural and construction sectors, in factories, private homes, forestry, automotive and fishing industries. Russia also stands as the second largest migrant receiving country in the world, and remains one of the top 5 destinations for Ukrainians seeking work. These migrant workers often rely on underground networks and intermediaries, not knowing exactly what work they are committing to. Increased unemployment, poverty and demands for cheap labour among Russian citizens, along with the flow of cross-border migration has created new pockets of vulnerability and opportunities for labour exploitation in the country.    Oksana, 46, was trafficked from Ukraine into forced labour in Russia 

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Oksana

Forced labour accounts for 98 percent of cases of modern slavery in Russia. Made up of both Russian and foreign workers, particularly from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, these people are enslaved in the agricultural and construction sectors, in factories, private homes, forestry, automotive and fishing industries. Russia also stands as the second largest migrant receiving country in the world, and remains one of the top 5 destinations for Ukrainians seeking work. These migrant workers often rely on underground networks and intermediaries, not knowing exactly what work they are committing to. Increased unemployment, poverty and demands for cheap labour among Russian citizens, along with the flow of cross-border migration has created new pockets of vulnerability and opportunities for labour exploitation in the country. Under pressure to make loan repayments, Oksana travelled from Ukraine with a friend to work at a wholesale market. After poor safety conditions led the women to request to be moved, they were taken to an abandoned stock base and ushered in to a small room filled with wooden pallets and dirty mattresses. Subjected to long-working hours and nightly sexual abuses, Oksana along with others eventually escaped, hitchhiking back to Ukraine.  

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Sonya

Sonya was trafficked from Ukraine into sex slavery in Britain in 2002, and enslaved for over two years. She was freed in 2004 by police and narrated her story the same year. Sonya’s name has been changed to protect her identity. The majority of those trafficked to the UK have been identified victims of sexual exploitation, followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation.

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Mariana

Mariana was trafficked into Germany from Ukraine in 1997 at the age of 16. She had accepted the offer of a job: the push for women to leave Ukraine and other old Soviet areas is powerful. They account for up to 90 percent of the unemployed and are usually the first fired. Traffickers abduct an estimated 35,000 women from Ukraine each year. Almost 50 countries serve as destination points throughout Europe and eastward. Germany is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for women trafficked from Ukraine and Russia, though victims also come from Africa (mainly Nigeria) and Asia (mainly Thailand). In the aftermath of her enslavement, Mariana still felt trapped. She couldn’t return to her Ukrainian village because her neighbors believed she had been a “prostitute in Germany,” and pimps were looking for her. She moved to her uncle’s house, then to a friend’s house, seemingly on a perpetual journey from slavery to freedom.

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Katya (Narrative 2)

“Katya” submitted this narrative as part of her application for a T-visa, which the US government has created to aid victims of trafficking. Some parts of the narrative have been redacted by her attorney and her name has been changed. In 2016, the Walk Free Foundation, Gallup, and Polaris undertook survey research to better understand the general awareness of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)’s hotline number among the American public, through the Gallup U.S. nightly public opinion survey. Ultimately, the results suggest that a relatively small proportion of the American public are informed about it, with only 6.7% indicating they know the NHTRC specifically and 12% aware that there is a hotline focused on human trafficking. This indicates that the 5,544 cases reported in 2015 is likely a small proportion of the actual prevalence of human trafficking in the United States. Another narrative by Katya is available in the archive.

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Katya (Narrative 1)

Twenty-year-old 'Katya' was trafficked from the Ukraine to the United States in 2004, and enslaved in a strip club in Detroit. She escaped in February 2005. The escape led to the arrest and conviction of her traffickers. In 2007 she told her story to a U.S. House of Representatives committee, using as assumed name, Katya, for her own protection. Another narrative by Katya can be found in the archive.