The “Loverboy” method is one of the most common methods used by such “charming princes” like Andrei to recruit vulnerable women like Maria and force them into prostitution. For women like Maria, breaking free from the chain of human trafficking is always difficult. The barriers which arise are linked to fear of consequences, lack of trust in people, lack of prospects, lack of financial resources, lack of knowing a foreign language.
Maria was born in a small Romanian village. She grew up being the oldest sister of 3 girls aged between 5 and 11. Maria’s family was extremely poor. Her parents had always struggled to keep the children clean, send them to school and help them grow up into respectful young ladies. As they had no electricity, the children were learning at candle light. As they were living in a remote area, they were spending every day more than an hour to go to school by foot, walking through fields during heat, rain, mud, and snow. Although the needs of the family were countless, Maria remembers her early childhood as being the most beautiful time of her life.
When she turned 16, Maria did not only become a young lady, but also a young “mother.” A sudden death had taken away the soul of the family – Maria’s mother. From that moment on, Maria had to fill in this great gap which involved running the household, taking care of the two little sisters, preparing them for school, trying to figure out her own self and finding some coping mechanisms which could keep her strong and functional. Maria’s father had soon found one too – alcohol.
A few months after turning 18, Maria seemed to have met the prince charming she was dreaming of. A handsome, well mannered, well dressed and quite well-off young man - Andrei. Maria shortly fell in love with him. To support her and her family, Andrei proposed to Maria to travel to Germany for only two months. In Germany, Andrei seemed to have a good friend who could facilitate Maria the access to a well-paid job. With the money earned, Maria could then buy fire wood for the winter, change the windows, so that the wind could not blow in anymore, buy warm shoes for her sister and run the household until spring when she would go back to Germany again. Alongside prince charming, Maria left Romania. Her heart filled of joy; she was thankful for such a blessing.
After having arrived in Germany, Andrei and Maria went straight to Andrei’s friend. Andrei left from there without Maria. For the next months, Maria experienced the most terrible part of her life. She was forced into illegal prostitution and raped everyday by several clients. Her sole, already wounded, was now torn apart. On the one hand, there was the pain caused by the impossibility to protect herself, on the other hand, there was the pain caused by the longing for her family. Maria was rescued from this hell by the police. A few weeks later she was reunited with her family.
JADWIGA Counselling Centres, through specialised counsellors, help women like Maria getting their lives back into their hands and to never let them out again. Through our work, Marias can get specialised support not only after their identification and during their stay in Germany, but also after their return to their home country. We aim for Marias to be reintegrated smoothly into their families, if they wish so, and that Marias are protected from Andreis.