Pat Kennys Newstalk interview with trafficked Anna made harrowing listening on Tuesday morning this week. Anna (pseudonym) was a student who moved from Romania to London in 2010. She moved to London to experience life in a big city – and to find work. She had several types of jobs including book-keeping and one as a cleaner. All was well until one morning in March 2011, as she took the keys out of her bag to open the door, she as grabbed from behind and bundled into a waiting car. She recognised some of her assailants and realises now that they must have been watching her for some time.
Anna has documented her story in a new book “Slave”. Having been kidnapped she was subsequently trafficked into Ireland where she was moved around the country (keeping her disorientated and ensuring any possible rescue attempts by her family would be nigh on impossible) mainly between Galway and Belfast. She was forced into the sex slave industry and forced to sleep with (she estimates) thousands of men. She was forced to sleep with at least between 12 – 15 men a day, until sometimes she could barely walk.
When she was bundled into the car on that fateful day, the pimps took her bag, her mobile phone and anything that could identify her. She states that it would have been very easy for them to find out all about her once they had her mobile phone. They would have known for sure then how much contact she had with her family, who her family were, where she was from etc. After her escape she would discover that they had posted pornographic type images of her to her personal Facebook page. They also took her glasses, without which she is almost blind. They named her ‘the blind girl’. The same day they took her, they pushed her into prostitution.
Anyone who complained or tried to explain to the pimps that they were trafficked were beaten to within an inch of their life so she learned early on not to tell anyone she had been trafficked. However there were tell tale signs on her body. When the pimps beat girls like Anna, they are careful not to hit them in the face or on their hands but the scars and evidence will be on their bodies and on the head within the hair line.
During her time as a sex slave, Anna is adamant that most of the men knew she was kept there against her will. They would come to the flat in Galway, pay the pimp at the door and rape her. If she tried to explain that she had been trafficked or refused to perform any act, they would report her to the pimps and the pimps would then beat her.
She was moved between Galway and Belfast. Criminal elements in Belfast were using her to learn how the business model of the pimps in Galway worked. They also knew she had been trafficked. Anna was regularly drugged and forced to drink alcohol (as were the other sex slaves) to keep them under control. In her desperation to escape, she sometimes only slept 2 hours a day. She was watched by 3 -5 pimps a day so that escape would be almost impossible.
Thankfully one day when the pimps who were supposed to be guarding her got drunk, she did escape . She had no control over anything but she was ready to grab her chance after months in captivity. Human traffickers do not leave girls like Anna alive because they know too much. Anna was lucky to escape. Thanks to her bravery the human traffickers that kept her, and others like them, were caught by the police.
You are reading about a girl who was trafficked in Ireland, in Galway and Belfast. This is happening now – as you are reading this. Please watch out for girls like Anna, tell your partners to watch out for girls like Anna and please help us to keep raising awareness of sex slavery and human trafficking. You can donate any amount to help us by clicking our donate button to the right, we have no minimum amount. If ten cents is all you have to give, we only need 10 x 10 cents to make a euro and ten of those to make €10 – it all adds up. Please spread the story of Anna as far as you can so that we can try stop this industry in its tracks.