There are an estimated 145,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Italy (GSI 2018). 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.
C was raped by her father when she was thirteen years old. She left her abusive home life to live with her sister, where she met a boy and fell in love. When she tried to tell her father he did not accept it and she travelled to Italy illegally with another boy, however they were stopped by the police and she was taken to a centre run by nuns. After a while she returned to Albania where she again met the boy she had fallen in love with, however her father killed him, and she was arrested. After leaving prison C was smuggled to Italy where she was forced into prostitution until she was stopped by the police and deported back to Albania.
My name is C, and I am twenty-one years old. I have my parents, four sisters, and three brothers. My father is sixty years old, and my mother is fifty-five. When I was thirteen years old, my father raped me. It was at 2:00 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 of B. where I knew another boy. His name was N. Together we went to Italy. N. 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 of K. 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 the city of B. 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 courtesy of the Association for Albanian Girls and Women
The organisation’s True Stories of trafficking survivors can be found here