Emese from Hungary - Betrayed by the family

© loriklaszlo- depositphotos.com

While the above lines have only illustrated the very typical East – European – German cases, recruitments can be very different ranging from false promises of a better life to use of force, exploitation of addictions and/or administration of drugs, or even abduction. 

Emese is a 19-year-old woman with sky blue eyes from Hungary. She timidly enters our JADWIGA office on a rainy autumn afternoon. She tries to avoid any conversation as she does not speak any other language but her mother tongue. However, her face brightens up when she hears a warm “Szia!” in Hungarian. Then, she corrects her posture, pulling herself together as if she was trying to meet some unspecified expectation. “How are you?” she was being asked. A small hesitation follows. “Thank you, I am doing great!”, answers a smiling Emese. A few days later, Emese was admitted to a psychiatric facility where she stayed for the next six months. In reality, Emese was not feeling great at all.

Emese’s nightmare, not unlike her life, had started many years ago, back when she was just six years old. Her mother had died, and she was left alone with her father. Her father was unemployed, spending most of his time at home. During this time, he was sexually abusing Emese as well as other girls. Eventually, he got remarried to a woman with two daughters of her own. When Emese thought she had finally gotten a mother and two sisters, she had made three new enemies. Thus, when Emese was 13 years old, she moved in with her grandmother. In comparison to her other family members, her grandmother was caring, doing everything she could for Emese. However, when Emese turned 17, her stepmother, supported by her daughters, had brought Emese to Germany where she dreamed of starting a better life. Once she arrived in Germany, Emese was forced by them into prostitution. To become docile, Emese was constantly drugged by one of her stepsisters with high-risk illegal drugs, leaving her defenceless. To avoid being caught by the police, Emese was moved from one brothel to another. However, after two years of suffering, the police identified Emese as a possible human trafficking victim and referred her back to JADWIGA for support. From the moment of her identification until her repatriation to Hungary, which took place about 7 months later, Emese had spent almost all her time being hospitalised in a psychiatric facility.

Emese was severely traumatised, unable to lead an independent life. She started her next journey fighting several physical battles with medical staff and ended it being one of the most cherished and supported patients of the section, not only by the medical staff but also by the other patients. During this time, no week had passed without a visit from a JADWIGA counsellor. When the time had come for Emese to begin her next journey, JADWIGA did everything possible to make it a pleasant one. In collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration and two partner NGOs from Hungary, the repatriation was organised by plane, with medical support from a doctor and social support from a social worker. After her arrival in Hungary, JADWIGA referred Emese to a specialised shelter for female victims of human trafficking needing psychiatric care. With the support of local workers, Emese now leads an independent life, full of her passions - photography, and of graduating formal education. Emese is now discovering the real joys of life and we are pleased to have played a part in it.