Human trafficking

A new human trafficking network has been discovered in Europe. Most of the persons exploited come from Romania and Bulgaria. In fact, in 2012 alone approximately 400 Romanian women with ages starting off from 15-16 years were identified as tragic victims of such rigorously organized networks which attract their victims by promising them advantageous jobs and then badly maltreat them and thus force them to become, depending on their age, either slave workers or prostitutes. Human trafficking defies the whole organizational and judiciary structure on which the EU relies and Romania is one of the countries most painfully affected. And the “beneficiaries” of these trafficking are not just some of the large Western states, but also geographically closer states such as Bosnia, Turkey etc. Along with Ukraine, Russia and R. of Moldova, Romania has the sad renown of being “a source of white slaves” intensely trafficked by well-organized mafia networks.

So well organized that such networks are discovered – when they can be – often on the basis of the deaths of some of their victims. Hence, only when the crime has reached its ultimate consequence. Police authorities everywhere recognize the difficulty of preventing this scourge and limit themselves to combating it, but do even this in a very belated stage. Because the appearances of legality are well defended; under the guise of “legal” companies the mafia recruits young women with ages that range from 15-16 to 40, under the pretext of offering them attractive jobs as bartenders, strippers, singers or club dancers. They are taken across the border, sometimes illegally, sometimes legally, but once they reach their destination all their documents are confiscated, they are locked-up, maltreated and thus forced either to work in slavery-like conditions or to prostitute themselves, also like slaves.

The finality of human trafficking whose victims are children is first of all prostitution and only secondly organ harvesting. Our officials, decisional factors and MPs of various stripes accuse each other over this issue for several days, after which the tragic condition of Romanian emigration continues unperturbed. This political behavior that can be exclusively summed up as “fiery statements” that are rapidly put out has become a tradition for Romania’s petty politics. We recall how, as early as ten years ago, the well-known Italian daily “La Republica” was revealing shocking information quoted by some press agencies too: back then in Italy there were 600 underage children engaged in prostitution. And these were not just teenagers, but also boys and girls with ages as low as below 10. Romania was listed among their countries of origin. Romania was also negatively nominated in a report concerning the treatment of underage children, a report authored by “Save the Children”. And, of course, such serious warnings increasingly grew. Romania was nominated as “a source of white slaves” by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which sought to identify and repatriate the victims of human trafficking. As early as 10 years ago, 22 per cent of the persons assisted by IOM were underage children and they had “similar counterparts” in “transit” countries or “consumer countries.” International police authorities discovered, throughout time, even networks of child traffickers that went as far as recruiting pregnant mothers. They were selected in a country, transited through another where the birth and document forgery were taking place, after which the newborns where taken to “consumer countries.” The human traffickers’ market also has a list of sale prices. Prices go up as the ages of the little girls go up for example. That’s how far the wretchedness of human traffickers goes at the start of the 21st Century. Poverty is considered the main cause of human trafficking.

This is so also because some of the most known “supplier states” are states that have the lowest income per capita. Romania is among these states although its economic potential is incomparably superior to this reality. If today “poverty chokes Romania” as Romanians complain, the sad reality does not have natural causes, it has political causes. The political leaders of the last 23 years have simply devastated Romania’s economy. Theft from public wealth has become a kind of national sport and that is why several court rulings that match the extent of the great thefts have appeared only in recent years. Of course, the responsibility for such delays belongs not just to the judiciary system, which is frequently politically dominated, but to Romania’s leaders. Leaders of allegedly different political stripes that are in fact part of the same category of “big profiteers.” Being confronted today by the mass-media with their own thefts, the big profiteers take refuge in “shocking” statements according to which joining the EU forces us to “align” ourselves to its realities.

Or that “the current economic crisis affects us all.” The first real opposition against such swindles should come from trade unions. But even these have largely fallen under the leadership of “union moguls” that place group and clan interests above the general interest. In these conditions, the educational system for example is collapsing. So that most young Romanians resort to “salvation through emigration,” without knowing what that entails. Just the other day a well-intended representative of the National Agency against Human Trafficking was pleading for those who look for jobs abroad to better inform themselves. They should consult, through information channels, the condition of those offering jobs abroad. They should not venture without information. It’s perfectly true, it’s just that young emigrants looking for work are mostly semi-illiterate unemployed persons. How and where should they find that information when appalling poverty forces them to leave? The school dropout rate reaches a percentage of 20 per cent in Romania today and many of these children with no access to education are the sons and daughters of those who have already emigrated in search for jobs. Political factors in Romania lately revert to their older practice of encouraging international adoptions, ignoring the fact that these, once legalized, risk following the path of children trafficking, as happened in previous years. Baroness Nicholson’s past warnings and criticism on this issue, far more realistic than the mentality of our leaders, are starting to be ignored although they came from an authentic EU representative.

Whether we like it or not, this is the truth and from it we have to start an energetic and responsible action of stopping human trafficking.

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