Photo by Ira Gelb Researcher Ana Froki has investigated the links between human trafficking and domestic violence. Download her research here, and get some insight from the testimony of victims below. – By Ana Froki Sex trafficking has between 600,000 …
Researcher Ana Froki has investigated the links between human trafficking and domestic violence. Download her research here, and get some insight from the testimony of victims below.
– By Ana Froki
Sex trafficking has between 600,000 and 4 millions victims a year. Because of different legal barriers, sex trafficking is closely associated with organized crime. Victims often do not search for support from legal systems, law enforcement authorities, or other officials.
The following testimonies are survival stories of three female victims of sex trafficking. Those stories highlight the whole range of human rights violations, including unwanted pregnancies, loss of reproductive capability due to rape, loss of material assets, orphaning, loss of ties to their communities and families, post-traumatic stress disorder, widowing, and ostracism and isolation for having been victims of sexual abuse.
Vikki, Mikka and Sonja are three crime victims that have illustrated similar patterns of treatment in court or with contact of civil lawsuits or other officials during the time of their exploitation. This demonstrates a lack of contextual and intersectional understanding in the criminal justice system.
Several years ago, crime victim Vikki stood in front of the courtroom as the family court judge said with anger in her voice, “You were on the run from police and foster care, more than 18 times convicted for pornography and prostitution! Don’t you see that only bad choices run over your entire life? Don’t you want to change that? Don’t you see that the whole juridical system tries to help you get on the right path?”
However, what the judge couldn’t see was the pain and helplessness of Vikki´s behaviour and the fact that even the attorney who was there to represent Vikki was hired by her pimp who was also responsible for her enslavement.
With an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, Vikki convinced the court that she was in love with the pimp and that’s how she disclosed what happened to her.
A woman from a small town in Kosovo, Mikka came to Germany in the company of Nicolaus, her husband. One late evening, she lost consciousness because her husband suddenly and unexpectedly hit her repeatedly in her head. He beat her breasts with his fists causing her nearly to suffocate. Fortunately, Mikka got medical help from the ambulance staff as someone outside of the apartment, a passer-by, called the police for help. As a result of several severe injuries, Mikka got questioned by the police and it appeared that Mikka turned out to be just like any other victim of domestic violence.
Heavily drunk, Nicolaus would even tell other people, inclusive of the police officer, when they came to rescue her from domestic violence that, “before she met me she was a prostitute.” Police would check this information out and Mikka was too afraid to tell anyone about her story as she was threatened to be killed or taken away from the police. Mikka testified, “I screamed and beg for him to stop, nobody would ever hear me, or nobody wanted to interfere. Everyone in the building behaved as nothing was going on. I felt very angry and disappointed. As I never been abroad before, I didn’t know where to turn to, whom to talk to.”
A young woman, Sonja, met the criminal judge in the case that was against Sonja. The judge couldn’t hide the contempt of her behaviour. The judge said, “I couldn’t be less sympathetic about your behaviour and the choice you have made!” He continued, “That’s just not excusable! You were leaving your child with your family for walking on the streets and hitting the road!?”
The judge didn’t even pay attention to the man across the table, the child’s father, Mr. Molnar, who was strikingly threatening towards Sonja in the courtroom. What the judge never learned was that Sonja was a victim of horrific sexual assault and sexual exploitation and that the child’s father was the brutal pimp called “Zero”. Sonja pleaded guilty and walked out the courtroom, right back into the hands of her pimp.
Those crime victims’ testimonies describe the occasions that take place each and every day, month, and year. As you read further into this work, you will explore the words of the people who have experienced horrific crimes. When victims of trafficking appear in court, they are barely recognized as victims of sexual exploitation or domestic violence. They appear in the courtroom in front of system staff or judges and come in contact with healthcare workers, police, or other forms of system personnel, but they are rarely recognized as the crime victims they are.
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