Like hundreds of others, Sara came to the UK to work for a wealthy family as a domestic worker. Instead she found herself trapped in the nightmare of domestic slavery. Hundreds of domestic workers from overseas find themselves in the UK working for employers that abuse them, afford them little or no pay and often lock them in the very homes they are working in. Currently, UK law stops migrant domestic workers from leaving these employers. The tied visa system in the UK means they have to remain with the employer they arrived with.
Born in Albania, Odeta was trafficked into Italy, where trafficking victims also arrive from Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, China, and South America. One NGO estimates that 48 percent of the prostitutes in Italy are from Eastern Europe. Many women are trafficked into richer Western European countries from the poorer Eastern countries, including Albania. The fall of communism in 1991 led to a rise in organized crime in Albania: in 2001 it was estimated 100,000 Albanian women and girls had been trafficked to Western European and other Balkan countries in the preceding ten years. More than 65 percent of Albanian sex-trafficking victims are minors at the time they are trafficked, and at least 50 percent of victims leave home under the false impression that they will be married or engaged to an Albanian or foreigner and live abroad. Another ten percent are kidnapped or forced into prostitution. The women and girls receive little or no pay for their work, and are commonly tortured if they do not comply.