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2005 (Narrative date)

Born in Albania, Ada 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.

I am 21 years old. I have my parents, four sisters, and three brothers. My father is 60 years old, and my mother is 55. When I was 13 years old, my father raped me. It was at two at night. All the members of my family were in the house. I was terrified about what happened to me. From that moment I was afraid to stay at home, to look my father in the eyes. I was afraid to stay alone with him. I did not tell anyone what happened to me, even my mother.

After that, my attitude toward my family changed, and so did my behavior. After I finished middle school, I went to my sister’s home to stay there to help her because she had a lot of work to do. There I knew a boy and fell in love with him. I told my sister about that.

When I came back to my family, I told my father about that boy, but he did not listen to me at all. He treated me very badly. So one day, I decided to leave the house. I went to the city where I knew another boy. Together we went to Italy. He was stopped by the police and brought back to Albania, while I was accommodated at a center where nuns stayed. I was very satisfied there. I wrote a letter to my family and gave them the telephone number to call me. While I stayed at the center, I started learning Italian, and I also took a tailoring course. One day my family called me, but I was not in the center; I was at school. When I came back from school, I was told that my family had called me. I was so sad; I started to cry. After some days I decided to come back to Albania.

When my family found out that I was back in Albania, my brother came to the city to pick me up. I went with my brother to the village. Everybody from my family was so cold to me. They tried to find somebody for me to marry, but I did not agree. I still loved that boy I met at my sister’s village. My father told me that if I ever met him again I should kill him. It was the first day of May when this boy came to meet my parents and the family. My father was so angry that he killed him in the yard.

Both my father and me were put in prison. I was kept there only two weeks. When I got out of prison I did not go home. I met another guy from and asked him for help. We created a plan together. We went to Vlora where he sold me to another person. I stayed some days in a hotel in Vlora; then we went to Italy by speedboat.

First we were placed in Genova. Very soon I started to work on the street. One night when I went to work, another girl was in my place. I approached her and asked her who she was working for. She worked for the same person. I said nothing to her, but when I met him I picked a quarrel with him. From that time I moved to another place in Novare. I denounced him. I had no money, so I went on working in the street—not in Novare, but in another place not far from it. There I was stopped by the police and deported to Albania.

Narrative as told to the International Organization for Migration, with the Association of Albanian Girls and Women, 2005, in Tirena, Albania.