There are an estimated 17,000 people living in modern slavery in Lithuania and 145,000 in Italy (GSI 2018). Lithuanian people are trafficked within the country and abroad. Men and boys are exploited in forced criminal activity such as shoplifting, and women and girls in commercial sex. Italy is a destination, transit, and source country for women, children, and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Victims originate from Nigeria, Romania, Morocco, China, and other countries. Female victims are often subjected to sex trafficking in Italy after accepting promises of employment as dancers, singers, models, restaurant servers, or caregivers. Romanian and Albanian criminal groups force Eastern European women and girls into commercial sex. Loreta experienced physical abuse as a child in a children’s home. She turned to drugs at thirteen years old. The only visitor she had at the home was a man who claimed to be her Godfather. He promised she could live with him when she turned fifteen and could legally leave the home. But he had previously raped her and when she was forced to live with him, her drug abuse increase. Shortly after, Loreta was trafficked into prostitution by a woman claiming to be her sister. When she was seventeen, she was told that pimp wanted to sell her abroad. She was taken to Italy. She was eventually able to escape after seeking help from a Lithuanian man who called the police.
Observers estimate 40 percent of identified Lithuanian trafficking victims are women and girls subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Lithuanian women are also subjected to sex trafficking in Western Europe and Scandinavia. Having grown up in a state-run children’s home, Loreta was prostituted from age 15 to age 19 by a man who claimed to be her Godfather. After escaping her abusers, she lived at the Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Center in Lithuania for a year, where she was provided with holistic survivor-oriented services to help her regain control of her life.