I was in Timisoara, Romania, a beautiful western city close to Belgrade for two days this past week documenting the critical work of GTR for their American partner Not For Sale. The NGOs help victims of human trafficking in Romania which is a center for the exploitation of young women in Europe. GTR runs a home in Timisoara where women can stay as long as they need to in a loving and supportive environment.
"Romania’s unique geographical position as a gateway between Europe and Asia makes it a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Victims of all ages are trafficked for prostitution, forced labor, organ trafficking, to be used as surrogate mothers, and into criminal rings used to steal, beg, etc. Children, women, and those of mental disabilities are particularly at-risk in Romania to be used in prostitution, pornography, as surrogate mothers, or drug trafficking.
When Romania joined the EU in 2007, border control became simplified, making it easier to traffic men, women, and children in and out of Romania. In 2009, the government restructured its lead anti-trafficking agency- leading to a significant negative impact on the progress towards combating human trafficking. No federal funding was provided, causing many NGO’s to close down or divert their focus elsewhere. Many argue Romania is left without a reliable government agency to provide direction, implement and protection for trafficking victims."
—Not For Sale