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					      WEST Project
    Seminars, meetings,
      research, training
       and information




Regione Emilia-Romagna
Assessorato Politiche Sociali.
               Immigrazione.
            Progetto Giovani.
Cooperazione Internazionale.
  Direzione Generale Sanità
           e Politiche Sociali.
            Servizio Politiche
            per l’Accoglienza
    e l’Integrazione Sociale.

       European Regional
       Development Fund
               (E.R.D.F.)         Life stories
                                  by Giuseppe Magistrali

                                  Collaborators: Emi Amoruso, Alberta Anaclerio,
                                  Sandra Berno, Graziella Bonomi, Martina Colledani,
                                  Antonella De Gioia, Patrizia Di Berardino, Daniele Gigni,
                                  Francesca Merlini, Silvana Sannella, Elena Uber.




            Project Partners
          Regione Lombardia
              Regione Veneto
             Regione Marche
Provincia Autonoma di Trento
          Comune di Perugia
             Caritas di Udine
   Associazione On the Road
     di Martinsicuro (Teramo)
      Associazione Mountain
          Unlimited (Austria)
        Ministero del Lavoro e
           degli Affari Sociali
                 dell’Albania
Graphic by
TUTTIFRUTTI Ravenna

Printed by
Grafiche Morandi,Fusignano (Ra)
november 2004

Translated by
Simmetrie & Partners,Bologna
Preface



Trafficking in human beings for the purposes of exploitation is no longer, as noted, an episodic
phenomenon resulting from the tumultuous events of the nineties in the Balkan area: we are
facing a structural phenomenon that strikes again at not only the society of Eastern Europe but
also the social, economic, and organizational fabric of our societies, the perception of the other,
the relationships in local communities, the possibilities of living with people of different
cultures, religions, habits and expectations.
For this reason the decision to add, while drafting the program, the social measure 1.4, named
"spatial impact on immigration", for the CADSES area only, was according to me strategic and
long-sighted, and the Emilia-Romagna Region contributed to its definition I It was a qualifying
point, strongly desired by the Italian Ministry of Public Works, which, in the year 2000, in a
community program for transport networks, infrastructures and urban qualification, led to the
introduction, of a topic of social attention that does not neglect but analyzes the impact of
migratory flows on our territories. Thanks to this, the Emilia-Romagna Region has been able
to draw up, with the collaboration of an important partnership made up of the Regional
administrations, local bodies and NGOs, Project WEST, which deals with such themes as flows
and routes of the trafficking of women from Eastern Europe; trafficking of human beings that is
without a doubt the source of that territorial impact that is the fulcrum of the measure 1.4
described above.
The commitment taken on by the Emilia-Romagna region as Project Lead , and by all the
partners, is definitely onerous: we could also talk about it in terms of a huge bet, that of
promoting research in somewhat inaccessible sectors, connected as they are to criminal or
"hidden" phenomena, difficult to know and compare. Project WEST has come to life and been
reinforced by a strong collaboration among the Regional administrations, local bodies, NGOs;
it has seen the beginning of experimentation and pilot actions for frontier shelter, community
intervention, work with the clients (the other side of the prostitution phenomenon), and legal
protection. It has seen, finally, the creation of high level training courses for social workers and
forces of law and order, promoting innovative joint training courses aimed at creating a
dialogue between worlds that have difficulty finding a common language although involved in
complementary actions: the social protection and integration of people who are victims of
trafficking.

Vasco Errani
President of the Regional Council of Emilia-Romagna
Introduction



The signing of a European Constitution by 25 Countries, the new number after the
enlargement to the East of a few months ago, belongs to present history.
Deep changes that cannot prevent us from considering what has not changed at all.
The economic, social, cultural and political conditions at the beginning of 90's caused a strong
increase in the stream of women from Eastern Countries, women who are sexually exploited by
cruel criminal organisations. This situation has not substantially changed now. We can see the
same imbalances, the same poverty and lack of future prospects in which millions of women
and men continue to live.
Maybe yesterday, kidnapping and deception used to prevail, whereas today more and more
women coming to our Countries are aware they are going to prostitute themselves, sometimes
through a bargaining with criminal organisations, as this represents a way to escape that
condition of poverty and uncertainty in personal and family life. This is how the boundary
between freedom and need has become rather elusive.
The true change occurring today is inside criminal organisations , that beside drugs and arms
trafficking, manage the migratory flows including trafficking. Organisations learned to
cooperate, even often among ethnic groups usually fighting each other (Kosovar, Serb,
Albanian, Macedonian), and they also learned to share the work and the trafficking steps,
to exploit transnationality and to “ network”.
This situation forces the States to hurry in order to get over the juridical differences, as it is
indicated by the general policy judgement of the Council of the Ministry of July 19th, 2002 on
the struggle against the trafficking of human beings. It is necessary to co-ordinate laws and
regulations, to support and to strengthen judicial and police cooperation, to have a common
approach on what it is intended as the trafficking of human beings and on the consequent
penal sanctions.
States must urgently acquire these tools and must learn, even from criminal organisations,
to “network”.
It is furthermore necessary to work side by side in order to remove the causes of this hatred
phenomenon of trafficking: poverty, feminization of poverty, discrimination against women,
unemployment, that lack of access to economic, social and knowledge resources that make
women and minors the main victims. It is important to keep investing in international
cooperation and it is increasingly necessary to get a gender perspective on the development
of strategies and planning intervention policies for the immediate future.
Everybody must get involved in the struggle against exploitation and abuse: citizens,
organised forces and public administrations. The Emilia-Romagna Regional Administration
has been committed for many years to the project “Beyond the street”, which represents the
basis for a unique networking experience that has led to the West project. A complex and
modular project, at times even “difficult” which has its major strength in a qualified
partnership that is extremely determined to carry out all expected actions.
The Emilia-Romagna Regional Administration intends to keep working and investing, thus
adopting all these relevant indications that are emerging from this big West working group
and whose present research is evidence.

Gianluca Borghi
Councillor in charge of Social Policies of Emilia-Romagna Regional Administration
               Index

Life stories
                1. The research process and the structure of the report   pag.    9

                2. The meaning of the research
                   through life stories                                   pag.   11

                3. The characteristics of the girls interviewed           pag.   17

                4. Events in the country of origin
                   and the working out of the migratory plan              pag.   25

                5. The first contacts and the level of awareness          pag.   45

                6. The trip and entry into Italy                          pag.   59

                7. Recruitment, the characteristics
                   of the criminal organizations                          pag.   77

                8. The prostitution experience                            pag.   89

                9. Ways out and future plans                              pag. 121

               10. Some conclusions and work hypothesis                   pag. 147

                   Annex
                   The case of C. from care worker
                   to apartment prostitution                              pag. 151

                   Bibliography                                           pag. 171
                   Meetings and Seminars                                  pag. 174
                   Reviews and other pubblications                        pag. 175
                   Web sites                                              pag. 176
                              1. The research process
                                 and the structure of the report
Within the complex actions of Project West, research, the desire to shed more light on
the evolution of the phenomenon of prostitution and trafficking and the new scenarios
with which we are faced,plays a major role.
Together with the two transnational research projects on hidden prostitution and its
flows and routes,the Emilia-Romagna Region deemed it important to complete the pic-
ture by collecting autobiographical stories, life stories that add the voice, thoughts,
experiences,feelings,reflections,reconstructions,and events in the lives of the women
who are victims of trafficking.
This is believed to be an inescapable point of view when dealing with a real and thor-
ough investigation into the phenomenon.
Regional and local Project West partners contacted some women’s shelters that were
open to collaboration, demonstrated to them the goal and methods for conducting the
interviews,and gained the girls’willingness to participate (absolutely freely).
Beyond the territories included in the project’s partnership the research was widened,
for obvious reasons, to the Puglia Region.Therefore the subdivision of the 50 pro-
grammed life stories is as follows:

Emilia Romagna     >   10 interviews;
Veneto             >   8 interviews;
Udine              >   4 interviews;
Lombardia          >   6 interviews;
Perugia            >   4 interviews;
Marche-Abruzzo     >   8 interviews
Puglia             >   10 interviews

Girls in shelter programme and therefore under protection were exclusively included in
the project so that they could talk relatively calmly on“past”experiences even with a lit-
tle suffering.It therefore needs to be clarified that the stories collected regard a segment
of women who are victims of trafficking,who were subjected to particular forms of vio-
lence and coercion,and who,in most of the cases,reported their exploiters,thus obtain-
ing a permit to stay according to ex article. 18 of the Legislative Decree 286/98 and
their inclusion into the social protection programmes.
It is highly probable that the more serious cases emerge,while the situations that involve
more bargaining and consensus remain submerged.
This clarification obviously does not take meaning away from the research,also because
the Project W.E.S.T. deals explicitly with trafficking and enslavement of women from
Eastern Europe,more than with prostitution in its entirety.
The work was carried out by a group made up of 11 people (sociologists, pedagogues,
psychologists, social workers and assistants, educators) with special experience in the

                                                                                               9
     field of trafficking,social work,and research.Keeping in mind some of the concerns that
     arose during the project’s Technical-scientific Committee meetings, the interviewers
     were exclusively women, with the aim of making the women feel freer and easier in
     telling their stories. On the whole, apart from the strong emotional implications, the
     experience seems to represent a positive opportunity for the girls themselves,as attest-
     ed to in various interviews.(Only few were reluctant) or had difficulty in telling their sto-
     ries.The team of interviewers made use of an initial training programme and were con-
     stantly assisted by the head of research.
     The life stories were recorded and transcribed by the interviewers themselves so that
     none of the content would be lost.The final report, that obviously leaves a lot of space
     for direct testimonials, was drafted by the head of research with the support of the
     research group which received the first draft of the report, and made editorial sugges-
     tions and additions for the final draft.
     The structure of the final text evidently traces the directions of the research; it ranges
     from the analysis of the life,family and social context in the country of origin to the work-
     ing out of the migratory plan; from the journey to the arrival in Italy,and the recruitment
     phase; from the analysis of the criminal organizations involved to the prostitution expe-
     rience; from the detection of ways out to the social protection programmes.
     In the last chapter we tried to collect some starting points, some cues as hypotheses,
     paths for future work,even if we know how difficult it is to summarize such rich and artic-
     ulated stories that have extraordinary significance when read together.
     Particularly careful attention,motivated by the close link to the other two research proj-
     ects on flows and routes and hidden prostitution, was paid to these aspects of the phe-
     nomenon.In the annex to the report we include large extracts from an interview that we
     believe gives extremely significant information on prostitution in apartments.




10
                              2. The meaning of the research
                                 through life stories
“Remembering and recounting mean finding, giving and transmitting the meaning of
things, creating not only an individual memory; narration is born when one becomes
aware of a particular personal experience, happy or devastating, but intense, howev-
er, it is not only personal but, in the very moment that it is happening, it has a value and
meaning that transcend that individual and is therefore worth saving and transmitting,
or rather the personal experience demands it.
Each authentic story has its own need, imposes its narration on the narrator; narration
is an epic gesture that establishes a tie, a relationship between the narrator and the lis-
tener and hopefully will be told to others. Remembering in itself signifies establishing
connections, ties with others.”
                                                                               (Magris 97)

This extract by Claudio Magris tells us much about the significance of collecting 50 life
stories as a fundamental opportunity for deeper understanding.
The research makes sense, has a worth for the girls who chose to tell their stories, hav-
ing lived through,in many cases,an intense and important experience.

Karen Blixen talks of a story she listened to as a child.
“One night, a man who lived near a pond was woken by a loud noise. He went outside
into the darkness and towards the pond but, in the darkness, running here and there,
left and right, only guided by the sound, fell and tripped a number of times. until he
found a crack in the bank from which flowed water and fish. He got to work right away
to block it up and only when he had finished did he go back to bed.
The next morning, looking out the window, he was surprised to see that the pattern of
his footsteps on the ground made the shape of a stork.”

When the pattern of my life is completed,will I or others see a stork? Is it possible to see,
at the end,the route of every life,as a pattern that makes sense?
Intention and accidents are mixed together, but in the end there is a pattern with the
unity of a figure.
Then the pattern does not guide the direction of a life right from the beginning, but that
which a life leaves behind,without ever being able to predict or even imagine it.The stork
(that brings, transports, passes on) can only be seen at the end when the one who has
traced it with their life or other spectators, looking down from above, see the footsteps
traced on the ground.

“All pain is bearable if it is put into a story or someone tells a story about it”Blixen also
writes; and Hannah Arendt comments: “the story reveals the meaning of something
which would otherwise remain an intolerable sequence of events.”

                                                                                                11
     In her book“Tu che mi guardi,tu che mi racconti”Adriana Cavarero re-evokes the expe-
     riences of Ulysses.With the Phaeaces, Odysseus listens to a story told by a Greek bard
     and cries on hearing the story because not only are the narrated events painful, but he
     hadn’t understood their full meaning while he was living through them.
     As Alheit tells us,by learning about the unexplored,we pass from the unacknowledged
     to the acknowledged.The biographical process is immersion in the past in order to bet-
     ter understand the present.
     The stimulus to tell the story goes beyond the scope of daily inconsiderate normality: it
     interrupts routine,it forces the person to justify the sense of their existence.
     According to Michael Erben,subjectivity is the product of a number of social exchanges
     and a single personal life story.
     Certain the choice to recount a story requires in both the narrator and the listener great
     courage and it means facing serious dangers:“The angel said to Lot and his family: save
     yourself, do not look behind you and flee quickly, or you will die.” His wife turned around
     and became a statue of salt”. (Genesis,XIX,17-26)

     Nevertheless,the autobiographical bilocation of recounting a person who at the same
     is himself and not himself, allows for a creative distancing in the person who finds new
     interest and curiosity. If the narration does not fall into the intimate details, it can take
     on a social,collective nature.

     In the area of social research,starting with the 80s,one goes from the predominance of
     the objective” (the data) to the reawakening of attention to quality (there is an ever
     greater attention to seeking trustworthy information, interviews, biographies, autobi-
     ographies etc.).The explosion of subjectivity (typical of modern life) does not exclude
     however, as mentioned above, a collective dimension and the detection of generaliz-
     able elements of meaning.

     These are some of the presuppositions that guided our project.
     Social research,on a theme that is in constant evolution and with an evasive profile such
     is prostitution, is more than ever before an indispensable instrument for planning
     informed measures, correctly oriented and capable of going straight to the core of the
     situation,taking into account the various cultures at play (those of the girls,the clients,
     the rackets of exploiters, the public and private recovery organizations, the local com-
     munities).
     Centrality and novelty in the proposed research direction lie in the use of the technique
     life stories to gather everything possible on the existential journeys that lead to “the
     street” but that, fortunately, often show possible ways to get out and find protection
     aimed at autonomous recovery of the individuals.For reasons such as these,the research
     was conducted with girls involved in the shelter programmes.
     The epistemological point of view taken,was that of giving a chance to speak with orig-
     inal voice to those who have experienced this way of life, but who have also found the
     motivation and the chance to get out of it..

12
As Isabel Pisano says,“only they, through their stories, can offer us a detailed descrip-
tion of the human geography, seen from the most intimate and secret perspective”
(Pisano 2001)
The work will be closely connected to the other two research projects on hidden prosti-
tution (C. Donadel) and on the atlas of the routes through analyses of judicial acts
(E.Ciconte, P.P.Romani) carried out with Project W.E.S.T. Many of the cognitive objec-
tives cross over each other, awaiting reciprocal comparison and enrichment, starting
with the various points of view adopted.

                        Some significant previous research


    2000 Lorenza Maluccelli’s Research on women’s biographies (24 interviews of
women taking part in the protection programmes in Bologna,Rome,Turin,Martinsicu-
ro.The technique of restitution through “biograms”was used.
   In “Da vittime a cittadine (FromVictims to Citizens”AA.VV.Ediesse
    2000 Research on the protagonists and the relational models,headed by F.Carche-
di. 50 interviews of female prostitutes and 18 interviews of favoured witnesses in sev-
en Italian regions.
   In “I colori della notte (The Colours of the Night)”
   F.Carchedi et al., FrancoAngeli
   2001 Research on prostitution in Milan and the province,Bergamo and Brescia hea-
ded by Emanuella Abbatecola. 25 interviews of favoured witnesses and 19 interviews
with the girls.
In“Comprate e vendute (Bought and Sold)”edited by Maurizio Ambrosini,Franco Angeli.

The point of view that we find most trustworthy is that of the direct protagonists, with
the objective of gathering the significance rather more than the rigorous truth/objec-
tivity of the stories (besides which,qualitative research has cast some doubt on the illu-
sion of certain and objective data).
According to Niero “the most notable methodological aspect of this technique is that it
allows for a re-reading of the people’s experiences from a temporal viewpoint,through
the eyes of the person as protagonist.

                    Summary of the main research objectives

• The identity representation by the girl (their own images before; during; today with
  a future prospective).
• The context of life before the prostitution experience.
• The networks at play,characteristics and functioning of the various phases.
• The causes and methods of involvement in trafficking,the players involved.
• The methods,arrival routes and involvement.
• Organization of the exploitation networks.

                                                                                             13
     • The life conditions,the ties,the relationships,the places of the prostitution experience.
     • The way out,reintegration,future prospects.

                           The subdivision and the various phases

     The recounting of the girl’s own previous experience in trafficking/prostitution (her own
     family, the most meaningful ties, school and training courses, friendships, interests,
     dreams,eventual work and personal relationship experiences);
     • How the migratory plan matures and develops.

     In this phase some personal data was collected:
     -   present age;
     -   age at the moment of migration (specify if there was more than one moment);
     -   place of provenance and its characteristics;
     -   composition and characteristics of family nucleus;
     -   level of education;
     -   eventual professional experiences in nation of provenance

     The narration of“before”proved to be fundamental,although difficult for the girls,who
     were often willing to tell us their experiences in prostitution,but sometimes found it dif-
     ficult to “offer”us that other part of themselves.

     The working out of the migratory plan is crucial for various aspects:
     - Verification of the eventual prevalence of expulsive aspects with respect to the attrac-
       tion aspects (remember that the first can be emphasized in that they are more social-
       ly acceptable).
     - Do the social and economic states appear to be significant? Does there exist an alter-
       native research model of female life in terms of motivations?
     - Verify the level of initial awareness/consciousness (the theme of informational asym-
       metry comes back throughout the various phases of the recounting) and/or consen-
       sus/deceit established.

     Some authors emphasize a continuum of “exploitation opportunity “that connotes and
     feeds the trafficking.(Bragagnolo,Donadel)
     - First analyses of the operating relational networks in the country of origin (whether
       on the friends-relations side or the criminal organizations side).
     - Verification of role,involvement,the family’s knowledge.
     - The landing place from the country of origin and that of immigration; the passage
       from immigrant to prostitute.

     And it turned out to be very important to use the stories as a means to understanding:
     - the distances,the stages and the modalities of expatriation and entry.

14
(see regarding the convergence of the routes assumed by Enzo Ciconte and Pierpao-
lo Romano “Le nuove schiavitù, il traffico di esseri umani nell’Italia del XXI secolo”
(“the new slaveries, the trafficking of human beings in the Italy of the XXI century”)
Editori Riuniti 2002).
- Whether or not it is a case of smuggling (abetting illegal entry or trafficking (true traf-
  ficking with a real privation of personal freedom).Whether various organizations have
  supervised the two aspects or just one.(As observed by Cespi,there is probably a noti-
  ceable correlation between methods for entry and those for staying).
- The type of negotiating that was done to leave the country, what information, what
  services,what costs and how were they paid?
- Involvement in the world of prostitution.
- The experience undergone.
- Relations in Italy and with the country of origin.
  In this part of the story it proved to be fundamental to understand what the forms of
  coercion /or vice versa,consensus,subjection and control,and deceit were.What were
  the levels of violence undergone at a sexual, physical, psychological level (function-
  al or systematic violence?); what were the mechanisms for building dependency?
  What were the relationships with the exploiters,with colleagues,with the clients,and
  with people outside the world of prostitution.
- Furthermore it was important to collect information on site; in some cases the girls
  prostituted themselves not just in the streets but also in closed places.
- How did the desire to get out of the prostitution racket mature and how was it
  expressed?; what resources were brought into play?
- The channels of communication and the request for help.
- The role of the clients.
- The relationships with the various institutions.
- The jumping off point for seeking shelter and the girls’ own experience of the new
  context.
- The point of view on the adequacy of the proposals for help.
- Future plans.

In this regard a comparison was made with the hypothesis put forward by Maluccelli on
the risk of structuring new forms of dependency on the social assistance networks.




                                                                                                15
                              3. The characteristics
                                 of the girls interviewed
Rumania, from a small town; 6 siblings, 17 year old; elementary level education; par-
ents separated, of Romany origin; from peasant family with disastrous economic con-
ditions; only 10 days on the street.
Albania,from a medium sized town in the south; 24 years old,arrived at age 16; father
an engineer,mother a teacher; studies interrupted after 2 years of high school; two sib-
lings; a small son.
Albania, from a town near Durazzo; 26 years old (in Italy for 7); 6 siblings; journalist
father in disgrace because of his criticism of Hoxha and then blue collar worker; moth-
er worker in the port of Durazzo; education level: interrupted high schools.
Slovakia,from a small town; 19 years old,arrived in Italy at 18 years old; orphan,8 sib-
lings; a reconstituted family; educational level,middle school.
Rumania,in Italy at 21 years old; the experience of prostitution at 25.(apartment); fam-
ily of modest means,parents separated; father a driver; a son at 17 years old; 3 siblings;
technical diploma; matrimony following at 27 years old.
Albania, from a town 500 Km fromTirana; 27 years old; 19 on arrival in Italy; student
of languages; four siblings,father a driver,mother retired from white collar work.
Bulgaria, from a small town; 22 years old, 5 siblings; father a mason and the only one
working (the real father left); married at 13 years; a son of 4 years old.
Albania, from a small town near Valona; 17 years old when she arrived in Italy; only
daughter,orphan on the side of both parents; middle school education.
Ukraine, 31 years old, in Italy since 1 year; 1 son of 9; divorced; 2 siblings; major fam-
ily debts (they had a store).
Rumania,from a town of medium-large size; 18 years old; 3 siblings; father a blue col-
lar worker,mother pastry chef; middle school level technical studies.
Albania,from a rural town; 18 years old; 6 siblings; reconstituted family: the real father
was another; parents farmers with serious financial problems; a matrimony at 16 years
and a son; no education.
Rumania,21 years old; 6 siblings; orphan on father’s side; university student.
Rumania, 24 years old; 2 siblings; father a mason, mother a ceramicist; technical
schools; only 10 days on the street.
Rumania, from a town near a city of medium size; 16 years old, arrived in Italy at 15,
passed only one night on the street; 2 siblings; the mother left when she was little; lives
with the grandmother,the father,an uncle and the brother; serious financial and unem-
ployment problems; abuse in the family; the brother, the only positive reference point
in prison; middle school education.
                                                                                              17
     Bulgaria,from Sofia; 21 years old; 3 siblings (1 sister with handicap); financial difficul-
     ties,father a hotel porter; high school education.
     Ukraine,from a small town; the mother left with the other brother and the father raised
     her until 15 when he married another woman; married had a son at 18 years old; left
     the alcoholic husband to come to Italy (the son stayed behind with the mother-in-law);
     middle school education.
     Rumania,from a small town; 18 years old; 5 siblings; middle school education.
     Bulgaria,from a small town; 20 years old; 2 siblings; middle school education.
     Rumania, 26 years old, three years in Italy; orphan on father’s side; 3 siblings; mother
     first blue collar worker now retired; diploma from technical institute.
     Rumania,from a small rural centre in the south of the country; 26 years old; married at
     14, divorced with 3 children (alcoholic husband); 10 siblings (1 with handicap); father
     works in refinery, also alcoholic; marked violence in the family of origin; elementary
     school education.
     Rumania, from a small town in the east; 21 years old; 2 siblings; the mother left the
     father and took the family far away; high school studies interrupted.
     Rumania,from a small town in the interior; 19 years old; 6 siblings; father a mechanic;
     the girl lived with her aunt; huge financial problems; professional schools.
     Rumania, from a city of medium size; 24 years old; 2 siblings; father and mother first
     blue collar workers and now retired; professional business schools.
     Rumania, from a city of medium size; 18 years old; was still a minor when she arrived
     in Italy; 2 siblings; mother cook’s assistant; father a farm worker,now unemployed and
     alcoholic; marked conjugal and family conflicts finishing in separation when the chil-
     dren were already grown; professional agricultural school.
     Albania,from a small town in the central south; 29 years old,8 years in Italy; 5 children;
     very poor family; elementary school education.
     Rumania, from a small town; 19 years old; 4 siblings; mother and father blue collar
     workers,father retired; two years of high school then stops studies for a course in mod-
     elling; prostitution in an apartment.
     Albania,from a small town of 3000 inhabitants; 27 years old,in Italy since age 22; father
     vice mayor; 4 siblings; grammar school up to age 16.
     Albania,from the capital; 27 years old,in Italy since age 15; 3 siblings; a year of gram-
     mar school studies then stopped because the father sent her to work in a factory.
     Moldavia, from a farming town; 22 years old, in Italy since age 18; 3 siblings; middle
     school education.
     Moldavia, from a small town; 27 years, in Italy at age 21; 2 siblings; high school stud-
     ies up to age 15.

18
Moldavia,from the capital; 33 years old,at age 29 in Italy; 2 siblings; orphan on father‘s
side,mother a blue collar worker; professional training and work as a mason; a first mar-
riage and a second union with a son of 8 years,both ended.
ExYugoslavia-Serbia,from a small Serbian town; 23 years old,in Italy since age 18 (in
‘98 during the Balkan war); grew up in a boarding school,ran away at 16 to look for her
family; elementary school education.
Rumania, from a medium sized city; 28 years old, in Italy for two months; 5 siblings;
orphan on the side of both parents; work experience in a factory and as a dancer in a
night club; middle school education.
Moldavia, from a small town near the capital; 25 years old, in Italy since age 18; three
siblings; the father lost his job when the business closed at the beginning of the 90s;
began university studies (two years of pedagogy).
Moldavia,from a small city; 23 years old,in Italy since age 20; 5 siblings; mother direc-
tor of a nursery school, father unemployed; high school then course for seamstresses
and pattern makers.
Georgia,from the capital; 22 years old,in Italy at age 20; 2 siblings.
Moldavia, from a small city; 25 years old; 5 siblings; parents first blue collar workers
then farmers; 2 children from a matrimony procured with violence.
Rumania,from a city; 19 years old; father military and mother from well-to-do family;
great conflicts in the nucleus; was sexually abused by a family friend when she was 7
years old.
Rumania, from a big city; 23 years old, in Italy since age 19; parents separated and
father alcoholic (after living with the mother the girl chose to live with the father); 3 sib-
lings; a co-habitation experience in her native country; professional training course.
Rumania, from a rural town; 22 years old; 2 siblings; parents retired; an experience as
blue collar worker; middle school education.
Rumania, from a small city; 23 years old; 2 siblings; family separation situation, alco-
holic father; quit university in the second year.
Albania,from a small town; 18 years old,in Italy since age 11; orphan on mother’s side,
father unemployed; 4 siblings.
Ukraine, 28 years old, in Italy for a few months; 3 siblings; father and mother retired;
divorced from a violent husband,a daughter of age 6; technical and accountancy cours-
es;.prostitution in an apartment.
Rumania,from a country town; 20 years old,in Italy since age 18; 6 siblings; extreme-
ly difficult financial conditions in the family; technical mechanical education; prostitu-
tion in an apartment.
Albania,from a minor centre; 24 years old,in Italy a 20; 6 siblings from two unions; mar-
ried with two children; father a mason,mother a travelling vendor; elementary education.

                                                                                                 19
     Rumania, from the capital; 26 years old; 5 siblings; mother died and father paralysed;
     family of origin Romany; a son,separated from her companion; elementary education.
     Albania,from a town in the south; 25 years old,since age 15 in Italy; a well-to-do fam-
     ily; 4 siblings, parents with university degrees; started high school but interrupted
     because she was kidnapped.
     Moldavia, from a country town; 27 years old, 2 years in Italy; 3 siblings; 5 years of fac-
     tory work; middle school education.
     Bulgaria, from a medium sized city; 21 years old, began to prostitute herself at age
     eleven; two siblings; parents separated,mother a teacher and father an electrician.
     Bulgaria,from a mountain town; 24 years old,in Italy at age 23; married for three years;
     2 siblings; father state employee; mother was employee but lost job after the collapse
     of communism; technical secondary studies interrupted.

      table 1                                                               The nationalities
     Rumania                       21
     Albania                       11
     Moldavia                       7
     Bulgaria                       5
     Ukraine                        3
     Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia           1
     Slovakia                       1
     Georgia                        1
     Total                         50


     Although the selection of the girls for interviews, as we have said, does not cover any
     type of statistical representation,the eye is grabbed by the high incidence of Rumanian
     and Moldavian women who together make up more than half of the participants in the
     research.The presence of Albanian women appears to be in a net decline because,as we
     shall see later,they represent the group with the most “seniority”in Italy.
     Another aspect to note is the absence of Russian women and the limited number of peo-
     ple coming from the other republics of the ex-Soviet Union (only three Ukrainians and
     one Georgian).These groups seem to confirm a lesser involvement in the phenomena
     of trafficking and a greater trend towards establishing,for the greater part,relationships
     based on consensus and negotiation.
     Furthermore,from the stories a dramatic social-economic crisis emerges,and is partic-
     ularly marked in Rumania and Moldavia.




20
table 2                 Nationalities and age groups at the moment of the interview
                         < 14 yrs 14-17 yrs 18-21 yrs 22-25 yrs > 25 yrs      Tot.
Rumania                                2         9         5        5         21
Albania                                          2         2        7         11
Moldavia                                         1         4        2          7
Bulgaria                                         3         2                   5
Ukraine                                          1                  2          3
Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia                                       1                   1
Slovakia                                         1                             1
Georgia                                                    1                   1
Total                                  2        17        15       16         50

table 3                              Nationalities and age groups on arrival in Italy
                          < 14 yrs 14-17 yrs 18-21 yrs 22-25 yrs > 25 yrs     Tot.
Rumania                               3         11        4         3          21
Albania                      1        3          5        1         1          11
Moldavia                              1          4        2                     7
Bulgaria                                         3        2                     5
Ukraine                                         1                   2           3
Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia                            1                              1
Slovakia                                         1                              1
Georgia                                          1                              1
Total                        1        7         27        9         6          50

table 4                    Nationalities and duration of the prostitution experience
                          <3 mths 3-6 mths 6-12 mths 1-3 yrs > 3 yrs          Tot.
Rumania                      4         1         7          4         1        17
Albania                                          2                    9        11
Moldavia                                         1          2         3         6
Bulgaria                                         3          1         1         5
Ukraine                      1                   2                              3
Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia                                                  1         1
Slovakia                                         1                              1
Georgia                                                     1                   1
Totali                       5         1        16          7        15        44


Although only two people were minors when interviewed, this number rises to 8 in
regard to the moment of entry in Italy; in this passage, young girls and young women
(under 21 years) make up 75% while the percentage falls to just under 40% at the
moment of the interview. Both the Rumanian and the Albanian girls were particular-
ly young; the Albanian girls often endure extremely long periods of prostitution; the
range > of 3 years becomes in fact 7 ,8 years,with alternating phases,for some of the
women interviewed.

                                                                                        21
     In some situations,the prostitution experience is very brief,the decisive and immediate
     refusal by the girls and very positive circumstances quickly lead to integration in social
     shelter programmes (although this regards little more than 10% of the cases).
     When this does not happen, they must endure half of the experience on the street or in
     closed places from six months to a year (about 40% of the cases), time to solidify the
     desire to get out of the prostitution racket,and,in a large part of the cases,to report the
     exploiters to the law.The experiences lasting longer,from over a year to over three year
     are also very consistent (50%).

     table 5                    Nationalities, n° components and family nucleus situation
                                <4 pers. 4-6 pers. > 6 pers.    Separation/        Own
                                                               single parents    children
     Rumania                       1        11         7              9              2
     Albania                                 7         4              4              4
     Moldavia                                4         2                             2
     Bulgaria                                4         1              2              1
     Ukraine                                 3                        1              3
     Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia          1
     Slovakia                                1
     Georgia                                 1
     Total                         2        31        14             16             12

     The family nuclei of origin are numerous or very numerous (30% in this last case), but
     the most significant data regards the marked instability: there are numerous situations
     of separation or divorce, of marked internal conflict, of death or disappearance of one
     or both parents.Various girls have marriage or cohabitation experiences behind them
     and 12 have children who are with the grandparents.

     table 6                  Nationalities and professional conditions of parents / Father
                                  unem     retired manual/ farmer shopkeeper/ employee teacher/
                                  ployed           labourer         vendor             professional
     Rumania                        3         5       6       1                  1
     Albania                        1                 2       1                  1          2
     Moldavia                       2                         2       1
     Bulgaria                                         3                          1
     Ukraine                                  1
     Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia
     Slovakia
     Georgia
     Total                           6        6        11        4         1        3         2




22
table 7                  Nationalities and professional conditions of parents / Mother
                            unem ployed/ retired manual/ farmer shopkeeper/ employee teacher/
                            homemaker            labourer         vendor             professional
Rumania                         3           2       3       1
Albania                                     1       1       1       1                     1
Moldavia                                                    2                             1
Bulgaria                        2                                                         1
Ukraine                                     1                       1
Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia
Slovakia
Georgia
Total                             5         4       4         4          2                  3

From a labour and social point of view,the nuclei of origin appear to be of modest means
and ,as we shall see further on,often the life conditions are extremely hard.The collapse
of the communist system has left fragile economic contexts without a minimal level of
guarantee and social protection that existed before. Unemployment and underem-
ployment are frequently found,and the purchasing power of salaries is very weak.

table 8                                           Nationalities and places of provenance
                       Town/agricultural zone   Town    City of medium size Big city
Rumania                         7                 3              3                2
Albania                         4                 4              1                1
Moldavia                        2                 4
Bulgaria                        2                 1              1                1
Ukraine                                           1
Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia                              1
Slovakia                         1
Georgia                                                                                1
Total                           16                14                 5                 5


A significant change in the characteristics of the women involved in the trafficking and
exploitation of prostitution can be seen in the places of provenance: very few come from
capitals or from other big cities.The vast majority (75%) come from farming villages or
from small peripheral towns,where the level of information and awareness on the risks
of illegal immigration is lower.




                                                                                                    23
     table 9                                              Nationalities and educational level
                                   None    Elementary   Medium interrupted High School Degree
                                                                High School or professional
                                                                               Diploma
     Rumania                                   3          4          5             7
     Albania                        2          2          1          5
     Moldavia                                                        2
     Bulgaria                       2
     Ukraine                                              2          1          1
     Ex-Yugoslavia-Serbia                      1
     Slovakia                                             1
     Georgia                                                         1
     Total                          4          6          8         14          8

     Almost a half of the girls have not gone beyond middle school level; there is a marked
     cultural backwardness that partly coincides with the provenance from agricultural cen-
     tres or mountain town. It should be noted however that 20% have a high school diplo-
     ma (in most cases from a technical or professional institute) and some have enrolled for
     the first years of University.The migratory experience at a young age has led a number
     of them to quit high school. Many of the girls express, in their stories, the desire to con-
     tinue their education.




24
                             4. Events in the country of origin
                                and the working out of the migratory plan
                                                               The ashes of the socialist system
The economic conditions, a real “social dissolution”of the countries of origin are giv-
en by the girls interviewed as the main reason for the decision to leave.Often the fam-
ily situations are characterized by great instability,separation,or divorce.The Ruman-
ian women in particular indicate the seriousness of the situation; unemployment,the
loss of a social role often lead the head of the family to a serious personal crisis, with
ruinous descents into alcoholism.When the home has crumbled, there is a need to
construct and reconstruct oneself in other places as this Rumanian girl says.

One sister died when she was little, in a fire… the house burnt down… the house
where all of us lived. Now we live in an old and ugly house. For this I am now here to
work to make home, because I don’t want my sister to come here, like I came here the
first time because they told me I was coming for work and then I end up on the street…
...my papa lives in another place, in that city with his mother…
...It’s four or five years they’ve been separated…
...my father drank a lot, stole things from our home because my mama had ten
hectares where we grew corn meal , he stole corn meal, beans, to sell them for drink.
                                                                      (E.S., Rumania)

...yes, it’s a disaster… before with communism our money was worth something…
then there was nothing left… I don’t know… never food to eat… my god… when I
remember… my parents got up at four in the morning and I went to the grocery store
or the food store to buy a litre of milk … or bread… even for bread there were prob-
lems… they have label…
   Therefore you had a ration …
...yes …but bread you find… you didn’t find meat… these other things… you went,
stayed there 3-4 hours and when you got there…already finished… (she laughs)… they
always come back home upset… look, I was there long time and don’t… now you find
everything, many things, like here… but you don’t have money …another problem!
                                                                    (Cri., Rumania)


                                                  We were better off when we were worse off
The perception of “we were better off when we were worse off”is very wide spread
and colours the memories preceding ’89 with regret, as it is clear with this young
Moldavian girl.

  But what things changed after communism?
Yes , yes, yes, I have tried to understand but then I understood that not even our peo-

                                                                                             25
     ple know what they want, because coating on one person is for a long time but a pres-
     ident in every five years does nothing, then another comes and does everything from
     the start again. The people don’t know what they want. I can tell you that the people
     have nothing to live on.
        So you remember that your family has always had economic difficulties?
     Yes.
        But you were able to study?
     Yes, because I always chose courses that paid me and also they give me work, it is
     only for this that I go to work there because it was not what I want to do, what I would
     like to do.
        What would you have liked to do?
     I would have always liked to be just like my mother, be a teacher, study pedagogy.
        Was your mother from a wealthy family then? How is it that she was able to study?
     Before communism it all was different, I remember when I was little and went to nurs-
     ery school, she was my teacher, I remember even when we were a bit older we had
     everything, the money was there every month and people worked in the winter as
     well as the summer. Now the nursery school only goes in the summer because in the
     winter there is not heating. The parents cannot even go out to look for work because
     the children are at home. There are only a few who work for the state, others have got
     themselves a bit of land but you have to bring water from the river and it also depends
     on what the weather is like. You can work really hard and then maybe you get noth-
     ing. Most of all there are grapes in our country. Then my parents have a bit of land for
     growing tomatoes, potatoes and onions.
                                                                             (El., Moldavia)

     The experiences are often those of a true and proper despoliation, at least from the
     material and safety point of view. Even fruit trees fall...

        And what job do your parents do?
     From when we are separated from Russia, the lands have been separated also. My
     parents worked then in Russia for a company when we wanted to be free, they have
     given us land, two three hectares, to who had worked more time in the factories. My
     parents had worked 25 years in this factory and therefore have received one quota of
     7 hectares of land.
        Since when has there been this change?
     From ‘92, it seems to me.
        Therefore you remember well,and you were better off after the end of communism?
     No, we were better off with the communism. Now all the land has been divided up but
     they do not have the money to pay the tractor drivers. There are people who have
     received the land but they do not have the money to make it work and it remains uncul-
     tivated. In these years I have seen so much poverty, we have nothing left: department
     stores closed, they have raised the prices. Before it was better because there were com-
     panies that worked with fruit: peaches, grapes, cherries and you got paid every month.

26
   Therefore there are also sources of wealth in Moldavia?
Yes, before, yes. Now all the trees have been cut down because before with your
wages you could buy the firewood for the winter. Now instead with the wages you
cannot buy also the firewood and therefore the fruit trees have been cut, stolen in the
night. Everything is gone, the land is left like that. Those people who can buy a house
and some animals, like sheep and pigs, they are able to live, like my parents who have
sheep. I instead have married after the division of land and we had nothing, nothing.
You cannot sell anything, or raise one cow, one pig, with what? My mother has land
and puts a hectare of maize, a hectare of sunflower, a hectare of grain, then it has fifty
sheep and they have something for themselves. Then my mother goes out to sell
them, alone. They give you a table and you sell the meat by the kilo, with the scales.
Because there are cities that do not have cattle and therefore if you sell you go home
with money, otherwise you go home with the meat and eat it.
   Did your siblings help you then?
I went to work with them too when they needed help and my brother stayed with my
children. I found work from May to July, then nothing.With the money that I earned I
bought some chickens, I raised them and I went to sell them in winter, to buy sugar,
rice, so we can eat, to pay for the light.
                                                                        (Li., Moldavia)


                                                                          The hot springs of Tiblisi
Proud statements of love and attachment to their land are not lacking despite the crit-
ical phases that the Eastern countries are going through.

Because people do not know where Georgia is. Georgia is very rich and the people
are very intelligent, they are very mature, I can say. I am so sorry that nobody knows
it, the fault of our former president, fortunately people have got rid of him. If you
heard, in December, Shevernadze, he was called, in the Russian revolution, was in
my town, we sent him away without shedding blood. Now we have the best presi-
dent, younger person, truly mature. He is married, has an American wife...
    What were the problems with the president you had before?
He sold everything for not very much money and he did not think about anything, he
closed all the factories and everything. But in Georgia if there is a good president, and
does his mission as he should, we would not have to be here, they would have to come
there from Italy. In my country everything costs very little: a kilo of bread it costs 20
cent, it costs just nothing, because we do not have to buy from Italy the fruit, noth-
ing! We have everything, everything, also the water... It is beautiful, the climate is
like in Rome... I live in the capital Tiblisi, it means hot, because the history says that
the king went hunting to kill, in the forest, when he killed a beautiful bird, he went to
look for it and saw this beautiful, beautiful bird, it has been cooked in the water and
he found the boiling water hot because in Tiblisi it was all like that, before, it was not
a city, there was a forest, and he found natural hot water. For this he made a great

                                                                                              27
            city and gave it this name that means something hot, because he found that in that
            place, natural hot water. Light water, light, when you use the shampoo and it does
            not go away ever, therefore we have the natural water. Tiblisi is called this because
            the water is not actually boiling hot but hot enough... Tiblisi
                                                                                  (Ma., Georgia)


The crises of the “Albanian financial institutions”
            Some stories of Albanian girls bring us back to the economic crisis suffered by their
            country some years ago, in particular, the bankruptcy of some banks and financial
            institutions that financially ruined a great number of people in 1997.

            I do not know well, but I believe that were some private banks that took money pro-
            posing a way to earn double, the people trusted them and invested therefore their
            money. At the beginning the investments worked but, when they reached a large sum,
            the owners ran off and the people, who had sold also their houses in order to make
            these investments, were left with nothing because the bank failed. Then there was
            trouble because Albania did not have the war in the change of the system, but it had
            it after. When it changed from Communism to democracy, other countries of the east
            had trouble, instead Albania not that time, after.
                                                                                   (E., Albania)

            The social-economic decline, at the social protection level after the collapse of com-
            munism is continually felt.
              My mother retired, before she worked in an office, at the time of communism.
              Your father?
            My papa was a driver, he had a decent economic situation, before communism, after
            when the democracy came in, my papa lost his job, my mother also, and therefore my
            mother after retired with half a pension practically, not the 100, because she wasn’t
            old enough, we lost money to the financial institutions, and therefore that little mon-
            ey that allowed me to study, therefore it was not enough, the university I could not
            continue because of economic conditions, work was even harder, you could only be
            a waitress in the evenings, because it was risky,... some of evenings you go out walk-
            ing calmly...
                                                                                   (An., Albania)

            I have worked in a store, with the shoes... dresses... the other things... but... with this
            economy of Rumania... little money... also in order to eat... You cannot think about
            making a life for yourself... I do not know... to have a house of your own... a car of
            your own... not even money for clothes... what can you do with 50 euros a month? I
            worked 12 hours a day... from 8 in morning to 8 in the evening...
                                                                                    (Cr., Rumania)


  28
    Therefore with the political changes of the beginnings of the 90s, things got worse
    for you, is that right?
At least to me it seems therefore. Before all those that worked had one wage, even if
little but it was enough, now not there is job, the factories have closed.
    Therefore the situation has gotten worse with the end of communism?
Ours was not Communism. I would define it is socialism. In the rebuilding for exam-
ple, now there is work, but only for few people. The others were all fired.
    What job did your father do? Does he still work?
No, my father is dead, he died ten years ago. He worked as an electrician. My moth-
er worked for years in a factory where they made irons. she still works there because
an Italian bought it. She is still a couple of years away from retirement.
    How much does a person make in a factory like that?
my mother gets 42 euros of wages a month.
    And what can you buy with this money in Moldavia?
Little, it just about pays for the electric bill, which is now very expensive, because I
don’t know if you have heard, there’s a small part of Moldavia that is on the border
with the Ukraine, where there is electrical power plant, there is a big river that pro-
duces energy. In ’92-’93, the Russian army wanted to take over this town to have
control of the electrical energy.”
                                                                        (Sv., Moldavia)


                                         Even the points of reference in the family are shaky
Another story of a Slovakian girl with marked problems with the language, clarified
for us,the difficult research into her own origins and the framework of the family con-
text, common to many of the girls interviewed.

There is one who is married to this woman for the first time, then he has three children,
then I was born and he left me, I grew up with my mother’s side of the family. And then
when I was 16, I said to my mother that… “Excuse me mother, but I want to know my
father” - my mother answers that it is not easy, - come with me we have to talk - I said -
okay… We sat down and she told me then - “Listen, he was already married with a
woman, with three children, that are now grown up bigger than you, and then you were
born, he told me that he didn’t want you, so decided to leave you“, alone with me. I said
okay, and then what happened… then she said,… “Listen. He is dead. He died, when
you were just a little baby, two and a half years.“... I said okay, where can I find… she
told me the address, where they lived all these other siblings of mine. I went, and I talked
to these brothers… And he said to me listen, what do you want? We can’t give you any
money. And why? I was quite upset. I said “listen, I don’t want to money, I don’t want
anything, I only want to know where my father is.” And he said to me that this town where
I live, said it made the cemetery. He is there, that we can go there, he said that I can pray
for his mother, and we went... And I pray… And I didn’t feel anything. And then I left.
                                                                          (Alb., Slovakia)

                                                                                                29
            I was born into quite a nice family, fairly happy, I have a younger sister, but when I
            was 10 or 11 years old, my mother left my father for another man, and so she took us
            with her to another place where I didn’t know anybody.
            She was always away with him, her love, her boyfriend, and I was always with my lit-
            tle sister and I had to be a sister and a mother to her and everything else. My sister
            was seven years younger than me. I loved my father a lot, and I suffered a lot; my
            mother never let us see him, he wasn’t allowed to come near us, and then she start-
            ed getting threatened by her new boyfriend. My mother took us far away from
            there…
                                                                                  (El., Rumania)


            The advanced disintegration of the family framework leads many girls to have to
            reinvent themselves and find a new life context, as a Ukrainian girl testifies in her
            life story.

               Why were you thrown out of the house?
            Because he got to know another woman, she had two children, and she said.“ Either
            me or your daughter“, I can’t believe that by himself he would decide to throw out his
            daughter; I don’t know what that woman did to him.
            I asked, “And now where do I go?“
            I went to school, up to the tenth year. When I finished, I went to live with my friend,
            who went to school with me, and her parents; they said to her that this was not nor-
            mal, (the fact that my father had thrown me out of the house); I asked my father to
            come to school to talk to me and asked my father, why he was behaving like this, that
            he always been so good with me. I know what happened, but I couldn’t believe behav-
            iour like this. He didn’t answer, and then he left. In the end, I went to live with my
            friend, and I went to work…
                                                                                    (Iri., UKraine)


A condition of great subjection
            The story of an Albanian girl who came to Italy eight years ago,testifies in a lucid way
            on the framework of dependency and female subjection that often becomes an
            inevitable part of the running away process.

            Imagine me with three older brothers… When I was 10 years old, I was a little girl,
            it wasn’t as though they gave me… But after 10, I remember that even though I was
            little, I had to clean the house because I was a girl… My mother was sorry about it…
            Yes, at times even she was severe, because there were also the boys in the house who
            when they saw that my mother was working, they got mad, they wanted me to do all
            of it, because my mother was sick with rheumatism, and therefore… I don’t know…
            there was… I don’t know, maybe I am wrong, I felt hared,… I felt that they hated

  30
me, I didn’t feel loved in that family. Because I was a woman, and told to be quiet,
because the men have to be the ones to give orders, although I didn’t know anything
about Italy, all these human rights, I already understood that there was something
wrong, I didn’t like it, I never accepted it, I only obeyed, at times, I wasn’t able to obey
and got beat up by my brothers, by my father, by my mother, above all, by my broth-
ers. And that’s how I grew up in this kind of life, and the more things went ahead, the
heavier the situation became, because I... when you’re a child it’s heavy for you... the
beatings don’t bother you so much but then you grow and grow and grow and the
words get really heavy, the beatings, because… and then I was 18 - 19 years old,
had finished school and wasn’t allowed to go out by myself…maybe get to know a
boy, have a private life of my own, I didn’t have the right to…everything I did I had
to ask permission to do from them... I wanted to work because I was 19... I want to
dress nicely too, I wanted to eat… Dress better… That is, I felt useless staying at
home with nothing to do, one thing… Wasting time, and with a little bit of effort on
my brothers’ part, I started to waitress, it was quite hard to be a waitress in those days
In Albania, because people thought the waitress was not a good girl, but considering
that we were poor… They closed their eyes and let me be a waitress…
                                                                            (Ag., Albania)

The banal quest for autonomy and finding a job seems to infringe on an ancient code
of the family hierarchy.

The wages were…in the bar, the last job was a lot less, although for me it was enough
to go out, that I made something, to pass the time of day, to learn to something, that
I met people, that I started to learn things, to grow, the things that I’d missed out on
up until now. So when I went home I said to my brother and my mother, I speak for
myself, my brother got mad, he humiliated me… You don’t go out… Who do you
think you are?... you can’t go looking for work by yourself, aren’t you ashamed of your-
self? That really got to me, it was like he’d cut off my arms, I had an appointment with
that guy, because he said to me to come tomorrow I give you an answer. Because my
brother acted like that, I didn’t go, I shut myself in the house and I didn’t do anything.
                                                                           (Ag., Albania)


                                                                               Violence in the family
Violence in the family seems to be a very wide-spread condition as these numerous
stories testify.

Whenever my father got his wages he went out with his friends and came back home
drunk like a crazy person and screaming “everybody out.“ My mother always slept
outdoors, which is where the misery gets thrown out.
  Do you mean where the garbage gets thrown, outside of the house?
Yes, yes that’s where she slept. She stayed outside even when it was cold, when it

                                                                                               31
             snowed, because when he drank he was mean like a dog, as they say, rabid. With me
             he was a bit nicer and said, “Make me something to eat.“ So when he slept, I called
             my mother and said, “Mama come inside, because he’s sleeping.“
             …Yes, she was always running to my grandmother’s home. My mother’s mother,
             but she lived a little bit far away, so not everybody could go there. In the evening we
             hid under the roof space, in the attic. So we waited until he came home in the evening,
             because my mother has too good heart, she only thinks about forgiving him. When
             we saw that he was in a bad way, we would run away to my grandmother’s. And we
             stayed for three days or a week. Then he would come in asking forgiveness and I would
             say, “Mama, let’s go home.” And so we go home, and he’d be good for a couple of
             days. After another time… And this time, my mother said again. “Your father nev-
             er changes. Send money home, so we can get passports and go to Spain and work so
             I can have the peaceful life. I’m sick of this life.”
                                                                                     (Vir.,Rumania)

             The distance from home as well, for work or for study often exposes the girls to sexu-
             al molestation in countries where this kind of behaviour seems to be perfectly nor-
             mal, as a Rumanian girl, who was a guest during her high school period, testifies.

             Then, when we were in the second year of high school, I was having problems with
             her father. I found him in my bed. A month before I finished the school year, her
             father retired. I slept in the mornings, he got into my bed, and started to touch me,
             undress me. I was scared, I didn’t know how to get out of the bed because I was
             undressed. There was nobody home, he started to tell me that he loved me, but he’d
             been watching me all winter, did he come to see if I was okay or not okay. He was an
             older person of 64, let’s say that I might expect problems like that from boy of my age,
             but from a person of that age, I expected nothing of the sort.
                 How did you react?
             I jumped out of the bed, I got myself dressed, I started to cry. He said to me, “I don’t
             want to hurt you, I only want to tell you I love you, that I need you, but I don’t get
             along with my wife very well since you’ve been here.” I said to him, “This is your
             problem, not mine.” And on that day I left and never went back. I got my things
             together and left.
                                                                                     (El., Rumania)


If he’s violent, you pay the fine
             The problems for the numerous nuclei proved to be still more acute, as we can see by
             this story by a Rumanian girl. Her attempt to defend herself by turning to the law
             seems paradoxical.

             …yes I have other friends, some of them were poor and some of them were richer,
             my mother said to me that we were always crying because the others ate better than

  32
we did. They’d come in size and the sweet things in my mother kept us in the house
crying because she had nothing to give us to eat. And that’s the way it was until we
grew up and were able to go to work for ourselves. if not, nobody gave us anything…
Not everybody’s parents could work. Mine kept me but they couldn’t keep me the way
richer parents could with clothes, good food… …
   What was your relationship with your siblings like?
With my siblings really well, we love each other a lot. We were so badly off before,
but we loved each other a lot. Instead my father wasn’t so good, often drunk, he hit
my mother… It was awful with my father. And this is why I decided to come here
because I couldn’t stay there any more… Because he drank too much and told me
to get out of the house even if it was snowing…we couldn’t live like that, even my
sisters when they got married left. I thought staying with the little ones would be bet-
ter, but it wasn’t better.
   Go on… When you hear from your mother and your siblings do they tell you that
   it’s the same…
They say that it’s the same. Even my mother says she can’t stand it anymore but what
can she do? She says that maybe with a bigger house… But there’s nothing to be
done, the others can’t make it there, the other sisters are married… Now I’m going
to talk to him. Last week, he hit my older brother. He made a mark here and there,
because he’d been drinking… There’s nothing to be done about it. It’s just the way
he is… My mother is 38 years old, but she has the face of a 60 or 50-year-old, because
she has suffered so much..
   In Rumania, when things like that happen, that a husband hits a wife, does the
   law help? Can you report them, for example, will someone help, if you ask?
We didn’t ask. They are the mother and father of children, out of shame we didn’t ask.
Even if you ask, I don’t think they interfere with the family… there have been many
cases, many many, one of the neighbours has suffered a lot with her husband, and
with her children; she went to police, and reported them, and they were fined. He
paid it with her help, she went to work in the country to pay the fine. Nothing, they
don’t do anything for you.
                                                                        (Na., Rumania)


                                                            Insidious aspects of the workplace
Even precarious working opportunities, at times turn out to be dangerous: various
stories tell us of abuse undergone in the workplace, of exploitation and negotiated
payment that was never made.

I work in the fields, in the water, for this reason I have pain in my hands, you see: if
you look closely, you can see that I have swollen. hands, and my feet too, because I
have worked a lot in the fields gathering corn, vegetables too…
A year in six months, even now they haven’t given me the money, and my mother
says. “Why don’t you telephone and make them give you the money?“ and I did this

                                                                                           33
            heavy job, I would get up at four in the morning and go to sleep at one or two, and
            after two hours. She came and woke me up and said “hurry up, quick now, to work”
            me by myself; while they slept…
                                                                                 (E., Rumania)


The contrast with exhibited wealth
            In these contexts, the presence of groups of people who display wealth, sporty cars
            etc.… make up a powerful source of attraction for girls who refuse the economic
            restrictions of most people.The contact is made by getting them to accept gifts of var-
            ious kinds and also money.

            Gifts for me, yes. Okay, it’s not as though they’ve given the gifts, they’ve given me
            money and said go buy yourself something, whatever you want, and I bought myself
            some clothes. Because I really needed some. And there was something I had seen for
            a long time and I said to myself, I want that to be mine, and in the end, I bought it. It’s
            nothing, and these people that I met last year in March. Then I found out what they
            did, where all this money came from, the cars, then they made us some propositions.
            The first time they made a proposition, I said no.
                                                                                   (Nic., Rumania)


Forgetting the past, and one’s own country
            In many interviews, there is marked refusal to think about past experiences, and the
            desire to turn their backs on past situations is radical.

            I can say that I’m sorry to have been born in Albania, because if I had been born In
            Italy, I wouldn’t have had all this torture… because in Italy, there’s a law, there’s a
            state… It doesn’t allow people to do these things. Instead, in Albania, I ran away
            from them, from those people who kidnapped me, and I went to the police in Alba-
            nia, no? I asked them for help, I asked them for help, they laughed in my face, they
            raped me, and they sold me somewhere else…
                                                                                   (Ad., Albania)

            Six stories from Albanian women dating back seven years ago testified the levels of
            insecurity and sexual violence undergone in their native country, that seemed very
            hard to run away from. A sort of programmed initiation, propaedeutic for the start of
            prostitution.

            Once in Durazzo, I was waiting for a bus, it was nearly evening, I was going home, I
            had just got a few things, I had to get home… Along comes a Mercedes, a black Mer-
            cedes…It stops near me and someone says: “Ah, aren’t you beautiful.” and all this
            stuff. “Thanks, just the same…”, I told him, no?… I moved ahead a little, to try and

  34
get away to keep the distance, right after, another car stopped, everyone in it drunk,
and they wanted to do something awful to me, so this one guy says: “Do you want to
stay there, so that those people can hurt you?“ he said, no?, or come with me, I’ll take
your home, I’ll give you a ride home.“ no?, like this… I was scared, in shock, no?…At
the same time, one of his friends comes along, he takes me and throws me in the car
by force, that is, how heavy am I? Hardly 50 kilos! There were various episodes,
that… I was in the car, they took me to a bunker… They’re not like the Italian
bunkers, not that I’ve never seen those Italian ones…but anyway, there are these
bunkers that when there’s a war on you have to go underground... Those bunkers,
that’s what I’m saying, I don’t know… Like those that we see in television in
Afghanistan, the people all go down into, no? In a hole in one of those, they raped
me…I came outside after, well, after they raped me, they hit me and they raped me
again, could have been… 7,8 people, they all took a turn and then there, they let
me go…
                                                                         (Ad., Albania)

A framework of threats,which we cannot undermine,both for the shame of telling the
story to the family, or the untrustworthiness of the local police. In some cases, black-
mail was used involving the family.

He went to the place where my little brother was with his friends, my brother didn’t
see him because he was at his back, this guy does like this, pointing the pistol at my
brother, he had brought a gun, but say like this: “if you don’t come I’m going to kill
your brother.” He said pointing the gun, I was really scared.
                                                                      (Ad., Albania)

There is no lack of situations where violence erupts within the family circle, leaving
deep wounds.

Once, when I was thrown out of Italy, I arrived back in Albania, there is my uncle, all
criminals, a crazy person this guy, and he says to me: “ah, you have dishonoured our
race!!”, here and there…but it’s not as though I had to account for myself to him,
even though he was my uncle, it should have been my father to yell at me and hit
me... Anyway, this guy had also been imprisoned quite a few years in Albania, he
was a little bit crazy, believe me, anyway. He took me and he hit me with all of his
strength, he took me and he hit me, no?, right there in the middle of all these peo-
ple, but the people knew that he was my uncle, and they couldn’t interfere, to say
no?, and then the police came, but they didn’t care at all…as if I would ask them for
help after what they did to me those other times… So he takes me to his house, and
there… He rapes me too! They could all go to hell, everyone of them! This I am nev-
er going to forget…
                                                                        (Ad. Albania)


                                                                                           35
     The story of a young Rumanian girl who was sexually abused by a friend of the fam-
     ily at seven years old, indicates to what extent she was damaged by the event.

     No, no I was with him again . I don’t know, I drank a lot, I wanted to be with this old-
     er guy. I wanted to hurt him, make him feel the way I felt when I was raped. I hated
     men, I hate them now. Fortunately now I have a boyfriend who respects me, he lis-
     tens to me, he talks to me. I am a little bit older than him.
        Is this the first time you’ve been with the boy of your own age?
     Yes, before I used to drink a lot, I was always going out, I spent a lot of money, I had
     rented an apartment with a friend and then she got married, and then she got
     divorced. Then I started to talk about going to Italy. Then another boyfriend of mine
     introduced me to these men who took me to Italy. They told me that I had to marry
     an Italian . And I said to them: “Okay.“
        What do you mean “Okay!”?
     Because I stayed any longer in Rumania . I was going to start using cocaine; I wasn’t
     well, I was thin thin thin, you could see my bones. I didn’t eat, or I ate and then vom-
     ited, I drank a lot, I smoked a lot. Little by little , I was destroying myself.
                                                                               (An., Rumania)

     In the old relationships, hangovers of violence and abuse of power persist in the
     mutated social frameworks of reference.

     … It’s a small town, in the country; I lived in one of the wards. I had always lived
     there and I got married. In my town at 18 years old, there’s a custom, I don’t know
     how to explain it, but the men kidnap you to marry you. I was in the field, playing In
     the snow, I was young, I was 18 years old, and this boy, six years older than me, had
     seen me and had fallen In love with me right away, and so with his other friends, in
     the evening, they grabbed me and took me to his house and from there it is said that
     if you go to the house of a boy, you are married, you can’t do anything about it. I cried
     a lot because I wanted to run away , and he always came after me, he wanted me…
         So you lived with your family at that time?
     Yes, with my parents and my four siblings, I am the oldest. One is 22, another 16 and
     the other two are twins , and now they are 14 years old. I never went out, never to
     the discotheque, never anywhere because my father was quite severe and didn’t let
     me go. And so he took me, one morning I was able to escape , but my father told me
     that I had to go back , because he was ashamed, when he went to town, for what hap-
     pened. He was a bit severe. I stayed there, I had two children, a boy who is now 7
     years old and a little girl who is 5.
                                                                           (Li., Moldavia)




36
In other cases,running away from home is determined by the desire to run away from a
procured marriage.Even in sentimental relationships,there often appear conditions in
the life context that have become extremely problematic in the country of origin.

   Were you engaged?
Yes, I had a particular kind of relationship, more than a relationship . It was a support
so that I wouldn’t get bothered. Because., after communism, girls were being raped,
taken by force, and because I didn’t have a brother I had a special kind of support,
that is, I made a choice: either I went with him, or I didn’t know what would happen
to me…
   How long were you with him?
Five years, when I came to Italy, I did not tell him about it, also because he was already
married among other things, and it was rather a forced relationship, you can’t call it
a relationship because it was forced, and once I left, I was free. I found a way to get
away from everybody, that is, I thought I had found a way to get away from every-
body.
                                                                           (An., Albania)


                                                                       Getting used to dishonesty
When it is not possible to escape, one ends up by accepting even a compulsory union
hoping that things will change over time.

… I don’t know, I did six years of school, nearly seven I did, and then my mother…
So that you don’t have to stay in Albania, said, go with your sister to Greece, your sis-
ter, and after a year that I was with my sister…
   Is your sister older than you?
Yes, yes, older, but she is not my real sister, you see, she’s my father’s daughter, and
he’s with my mother now
   A stepsister therefore…
… And my mother trusted her, she’s older, she has her there, she lets her study if she
wants to, she said, then… Then she did some things that… were not too good, she
sold me... To the gypsies, she sold me , and so... I had to stay with the gypsies, and
so I married a gypsy and, and I was there for nearly 10 years.
   Therefore they made you marry a gypsy?
Yes, the guy I had two children with... He wasn’t doing the things than that he was
doing later. He was good, kind, he worked, everything was fine, but after two years
everything changed with him, I didn’t recognize him any more as a person, because
he started to use his hands, to hit me, to work with drugs, he sold drugs, he did things
that scared me, I told myself I was going to get into trouble, then he went to prison,
anyway, I was pregnant with my first child, he wasn’t even there, the baby…
   How old were you?
When I had my first child I was 17, and then he got out after the baby was already

                                                                                             37
            born, it was a month, two months went by, and then he was in prison again. I was…
            It didn’t go very well for me then, because I was… He always spoke badly of me, and
            he included my child in it, he got out of prison, and he beat me, he didn’t let me see
            my family, because he was afraid I would leave, I would see my siblings there in front
            of me and I wasn’t even allowed to say hello, six years passed like that, then… I had
            my daughter, no, first I was pregnant , but I decided not to keep the baby, because…
            I told him that if things went on like that then it was not good, I told him, and then he
            wanted another child, and… Then he went to prison , and I had an abortion, then he
            came out of prison, and it was a huge mess because… He broke my arm… I still
            have the mark on my arm, for a month and a half, I had a broken arm, then I had my
            daughter…

            At a certain point, the father told me that he wasn’t gonna help me anymore
            because... Well… for him, I was like a daughter, and the terrible thing was that the
            father and the mother were good people, because they always defended me, and
            because they knew I was right…
                                                                                  (Es., Albania)


The force of family scripts
            In some cases, there seems to be a perverse family script, where many members of
            the family nucleus are involved,as is demonstrated by the story of the Bulgarian girl,
            from which emerges the role of recruitment and exploitation by the older sister.

            After eight months (after she’d left), she telephoned and said she was in Italy, that
            she worked in a discotheque as a waitress.
            After a little while , she phoned saying that I could come to Italy too to work as a wait-
            ress. I thought about it. After a few days, she phoned again, and I said yes. She sent
            me money, and I got my passport…
            She said there was no problem. That evening, I got dressed normally and went to
            work, but she gave me one of her dresses. I didn’t like it, I was embarrassed, it was
            too low cut, too short. I felt naked, but I thought that here in Italy, in the discotheque
            you dressed like that. In our country, you wear a black skirt and a white blouse.
            I said to her, how can I take orders, if I don’t understand the drinks and what they
            want, but she continued to say that there was no problem. She took me into the street,
            and told me that I was to work there. What you mean here? I asked, what job? As a
            prostitute. I told her I didn’t want to work like that. She explained everything to me,
            what I had to do and how much I had to ask.
                                                                                      (Ma., Bulgaria)




  38
The young age for some marriages, more or less chosen or procured, becomes a crit-
ical element of some weight.

Yes, it is normal, in the town I come from it’s normal to get married young because
when you’re 20 or 25 you’re already old.
   How is it that you got married? Was the man who became your husband from your
   town?
He was a man from my town, the best of all of them, he never went to the discotheque,
he was good, I couldn’t stand my father anymore I wanted a person who didn’t drink.
So I was with him for 6,7 years. Later , I saw him going out with other girls, he went
to the discotheque with his friends, I had to stay at home with the children…

… Never without wine, at first he always used to listen to me, but now never, always
drunk, when there was no wine left he sent the boy to buy some, even if it was night
time , because the stores are always open in Rumania, even at night they sell drink;
in the stores where you buy food! That’s how Rumania is! My mother would say to
me, “V. do you want to die so young?” That was around five years ago , and she told
me to leave him. “He is my husband and I forgive him.” But then he left me. He did-
n’t get married, he only lived with her, my cousin for me was almost a sister. My moth-
er had told me “Watch out. That girl is going to steal your husband. Men are no good.”
Now he lives with my cousin…
                                                                       (Vir., Rumania)

Violence is something that leaves a deep mark on the girls before they’ve even arrived
in Italy, bringing anything but choices to maternity and marriage, as the story of a
Moldavian girl testifies.

Wounded, yes, I was taken for ride, this guy. He raped me, I got married by force, I
gave birth to a son and in the end he did this to me. People said to me, but I didn’t
believe them. I felt that he was treating me badly, he kept saying he was jealous, but
I had no idea that he was going to do this thing to me. I did trust him a little.
    You didn’t like him, but you trusted him.
Yes, I trusted him, or I got ideas in my head. I said: he raped me, when he didn’t love
me he didn’t do this thing. I put this idea in my head to keep on going. I told myself
this lie. I wanted to keep on going ahead for my son alone. I wanted him to grow up
with a father, the things that I never had in life I wanted to give to my son. But when
I found him in bed with another girl, he told me to get out of the house and I didn’t go.
I stood there like a cow with two horns and said “I’m not going.” He said to me: “S.
get out.” I said: “No, I’m not getting out.” In the end, he jumped out of bed, I had long
hair, he grabbed me by the hair, and he threw me out. Afterward he came outside
with her and he said: “Now I’m coming after you.” I say: “When you come I’m run-
ning away.”… He took her out and then came home right away. He closed the door
and said to me: “You, what are you doing here?” Then I said: “I’ve come back to get

                                                                                            39
           some stuff for the boy, I’m going to your sister’s house tonight where I want to stay,
           that’s why I’m here.”
              How old was C. when this happened?
           C. was three years old, two and a half, three. Really he was drunk. I was so angry
           when I found him in bed I said listen, and never went to see you again, you ruined my
           life. You could have found a slut to marry, why did you marry me, why did you ruin
           my life, what can I do? I can’t look people in the eye, you’ve all taken me for a ride.
           Even my mother said awful things to me, even my father. I got married young, I was
           raped, and I knew my mother was right sometimes. Her with her communist men-
           tality would say to me sometimes, you are a slut, in the sense that I got married too
           young. I didn’t say anything, and my father said it I was scared, it offended me. If
           your parents offend you, what can you say about people. As I said before, you can’t
           walk along the street with your head held high, you have to keep your head down.
              Did it happen often that the girls were raped?
           Yes, it happened often. Often we heard about men taking girls and raping them,
           young girls on the street, when they were walking alone. You are afraid to go out
           walking, you couldn’t go out walking the way you can walk here in the night time.
              Isn’t there a law prosecuting men who do that?
           Know, look at our country and its laws. Now I don’t know what it’s like I have been in
           Italy since 99, but before no.
           Even when you went out and reported them to the police, the police told you were
           married, what can they do for you. Either you are rich and have a lot of money, and
           you can fix things by paying money, but if you are poor as I was, raped, to go and
           report somebody, they don’t do anything. They tell you that if you want their help you
           have to pay them this amount of money than they will help you, otherwise no it’s your
           problem, you figure it out.
                                                                                 (Ste.,Moldavia)


Seeking new opportunities
           In other situations however, the migratory plan matures as a simple search for better
           life prospects or less dramatic ones, however, there are a limited number of stories of
           this kind.

              You were telling me how it was that you decided to leave.
           Yes, I was talking with this girl who lived in a condominium with me, about to pay: “I
           don’t know if my parents will be able to still pay for me this year… If I could do some
           kind of night job… Like a waitress in a pub…I have to do something!” This girl knew
           a Moldavian boy who has been working here in Italy for four or five years. She told
           me she had spoken to him and may be we could go there. “But how can I go to Italy,
           I don’t even have enough money to stay here!” and she said: “But no, I spoke with
           him and he said there is no problem, that you can help him.” She was two years old-
           er than me. I didn’t trust her. “How are we going to go to Italy?”; “With the regular

  40
tourist visa.” I asked to see it to understand better and I was already excited about
the idea of leaving. So he came to our place, we talked, and he told us that he can
only help us with the tourist visa he could as he knew the agencies that issued them.
He would lend us the money which we could pay back when we got to Italy. I didn’t
even have a passport; I only have an identity card. In fact he told me that if I paid a
hundred dollars I could have a passport in a day, there was no problem. There you
earn lots of money, you’ll even be able to send money home. And you don’t have to
stay long. You can stay three months and then come home. It’s no problem.
   What kind of image did you have of Italy?
Beautiful image, five years ago I had no idea that a girl could end up on the street, we
didn’t know about these things. Now it’s everywhere, in the newspapers, on televi-
sion, there are programs a special day for this kind of information. Now you hear
everyone talking about it. I didn’t tell my parents anything, I only told my sister, it
seemed right that at least one of them should know. At the time, the sky seemed the,
he was married, he had two boys. I don’t know his wife but I know his sons because
they work at the theatre, with the lights and when we used to go I would see him, but
I didn’t directly know him but I remembered him.
   You also went to the theatre?
I had a normal life, I really liked acting, I also liked working with children, to enter-
tain them.
   But were the university taxes so high? How much were they with respect to a salary?
A thousand dollars a year; my mother makes one hundred dollars a month. They paid
the first taxes for me but with a lot of effort. My sister helped me too because in the
summer she worked in Moscow, in a Turkish company. My parents pushed me, I
would never have felt like asking them because I could see that it was not the same
as when I was small. My father thought it was right that I studied and I was the hap-
piest person in the world when I went to university. My first mistake was not asking
them how much we would have to pay him back for the Visa, he only told me how
much the passport cost. They are done in a government office, while the Visa is done
by a private agency that organizes buses that come with tourists and drop them off;
it’s a rip off in the end because really they come here to work. The only girls on the
bus were me and my friend. He told us that everything would be ready in a month
and then we would be able to leave. I was afraid to tell my parents, I had hinted to
my mother and she told me not even to think about it! I told her that I could take a
year off from University but she told me absolutely not. However I was convinced by
then, I didn’t know what to think in that moment… I had no idea that it would hurt
them so much. I figured I would stay three months. It was November when we spoke
and on the first of December we left. The visa was good for 30 days, that is, you have
30 days to leave from the day it is issued. One Saturday I had gone back home to my
parents place because I also wanted some food and, that evening the guy telephoned
at home to tell me that we would be leaving. I had a problem, how to leave taking
food with me, having to throw it away, I justified everything…I went out with my
friends on Saturday night, I went out and I haven’t been back. They didn’t know what

                                                                                            41
     had happened to me, at first they thought I had gone to my grandmother’s, who was
     still alive then, and where I often went. That morning my father, they told me later,
     went to my grandmother’s but didn’t find me there. I had gone directly to the capi-
     tal. My father telephoned but they told him I hadn’t come back. Right away they
     reported me missing to the police, they thought something had happened to me, that
     somebody had hurt me. I could not phone home because I knew that my mother would
     start crying and then I wouldn’t leave. We arrived in Italy the first of December and
     we had left three, four days earlier. I hadn’t brought clothes or anything. He had
     everything with him, even my passport. I never thought of asking him for it, it seemed
     rude to ask him for it because he had paid for it. We left at nine in the morning and
     we arrived in Italy at four in the afternoon; we ate something when we stopped. He
     paid for everything, we didn’t even ask him why he was doing all this. We just went
     with it! He had guaranteed us that he would help find work because we didn’t know
     the language; a job like cleaning or waitressing . I thought it was very nice that he
     wanted to help us.
                                                                            (Ol., Moldavia)

     The quest for new opportunities has an even greater value if in the country of origin,
     they are considered to be on the fringe because they have gipsy origins..

     … And then one day and old boyfriend of my cousin came over, a younger cousin,
     who lives in Rumania, he was travelling around and not to come and ask me to come
     over here. He went to my house and then he said “do you want to come to Italy?” And
     so I had called my cousin earlier, to call Italy, and then he told me this thing about
     coming to Italy, and I said “Why not!” And I want to come to Italy to help my broth-
     ers and to make… To buy a house, to be with daughter, and to buy a bigger house
     to be altogether. And after three days I left.
     …Even a woman like that… an old woman looks at the gypsies, they swear at her,
     when you are a gypsy, you are like that, you talk dirty, you steal, you make trouble,…
     I’m not ashamed to be a gypsy, I like it… I like the way the Gypsies are, … When
     they look at you with that ugly look. all of the neighbours where I live, all of them…
     Because my mother is dead and I worked (cared) for my father making the food,
     cleaning the house, and they all told me “How do you do it? How do you do every-
     thing?” they told me, “You are good.”
                                                                              (Ja., Rumania)

     And together with the quest for new life possibilities there is also a kind of pride in
     belonging to that despised community,in possessing those deep roots but also being
     part of something.

     Because all of us gypsies are brothers and sisters (makes the sign of union with her
     hands) and if you are Rumanian I help you because we have a good heart.

42
   Therefore there is a great group spirit…
Yes yes. Among us when somebody has no money or nothing to eat, a neighbour…
I give you money, I bring you food.
   Therefore it is not just family members that help each other, but also if the neigh-
   bour needs help…
Yes, if they need money, if they need some kind of help and they don’t have the room
to sleep in and are sleeping outside, we help them. That’s how we are. The gypsies
in my parts of the world are like that. We don’t care if you are like this. If you are like
this, you are like this…


                                           The prostitution experience in the native country
In some cases (limited) previous experiences of prostitution in the native country
occurred.

I used to go to the discotheque, and four guys raped me, and so I was ashamed for my
parents, I was also afraid that they would beat me and so I ran away. I know they were
taking me to the street, I risked coming to the street. The one who raped me was my
boyfriend, but he sold me to another guy and that one took me to Italy. I didn’t want
to stay but I had to because I was ashamed to go home, to my parents. After those
guys sold me to another guy, the other guy beat me and he had a son who was 20
years old. I ran away with his son, to get married. I spent two weeks with his son.
Then his son took me back to his father and put me on the street, and afterward my
mother came and took me home. After two weeks I ran away again and I went to work
in the street. I was in the street for two weeks and then those others sold me to anoth-
er guy and they brought me to Italy.
                                                                        (An., Rumania)

Other stories show the complex deterioration in certain national contexts as the sto-
ry of this Rumanian girl testifies.

I was born in the city, and then I went to live with my grandparents in the country,
then to go to high school I went to another city, which, even now, has a bad reputa-
tion, the police are always talking about it on the television, because there is a traf-
fic of meat, people, drugs, cars, weapons,… It is a city with an absolutely bad repu-
tation, and nobody does anything, they are all connected, even the police are cor-
rupt. And then near there, there are some little villages that seem like paradise, very
big houses and beautiful ones that belong to all these guys who keep girls there. But
in all these villages, this is what they do, and they are rich, frighteningly rich. There-
fore it is a nucleus, and I know a lot of the guys who are there now.
                                                                          (El., Rumania)



                                                                                              43
The fragility of the marriages
            In some Eastern countries, the laws governing matrimony and divorce seem to be
            managed in a particular and hasty way, as the story of a Moldavian girl testifies.

            We went to court and we went inside with my mother. When they saw me in court
            they said: “What has happened to this woman?” I didn’t say anything, my mother
            said: “What has happened. She was beaten “Who did this” “Her husband, he beat
            her and she ran away.” The secretary says: “And what do you want to do?” “I want
            to get a divorce.” “Very well.” We went there and the judge said, “To get a divorce I
            want him to come here too.” But because I knew that he was not going to give me a
            divorce I said: “He’s not at home, he beat me and then left. I have a son, I’m afraid
            that one day he’s going to come and kill me, I want a divorce.” And he says to me
            “Listen, when you want a divorce really quickly in half an hour then you have to pay
            ten thousand euro. In our money that’s one hundred and fifty thousand…that’s a lot
            of money. My mother said, I don’t have ten thousand, I only have eight. He said, eight
            will be fine. My mother paid this money and I got my divorce. He said: “After 10 min-
            utes you can go and get it” and so I got my divorce. This was my only choice. With
            the help of my mother, because I had gotten into my head to make my son happy by
            letting him grow up with the father. I went home with my mother and he was eating.
            I was a little bit afraid but I also felt free, and I had my mother at my side.
                                                                                    (Ste., Moldavia)


Escaping the war
            In some cases the need to flee comes from the dissolution of war,as we see in the sto-
            ry of this Serbian girl.

               When did you come here?
            Four, five years ago, when the war was on, in ‘98.
               But what do you remember of the war?
            I grew up with the war, there was the war, bombs were falling, it was terrible! All the
            houses were bombed, you couldn’t sleep, everything shook! It was really terrible,
            you didn’t know where to run to. When you’re sleeping and you hear shooting, you
            can feel the glass breaking and you don’t know what to do; it is really terrible! After-
            wards there was a bomb that fell near where I lived with that boyfriend, it was huge,
            longer than 2 meters. I know because I saw it, fortunately it did not explode! It was
            grey and red, made of metal. It was really huge!
                                                                           (Sla., ex-Yugoslavia)




  44
                             5. The first contacts
                                and the level of awareness
Often in casual encounters,even with people one doesn’t know,the proposal to leave
one’s country to look for better conditions comes up; proposals that at times meet with
innocent forms of immediate adhesion, as in the case of this Rumanian girl.

I got to know a girl on the bus, Flori, who asked me “Where are you going?” And I say
“I am going to work.” And she said to me “I know an Italian” and I say “What does
he want from me?”, “He can give you a job, a real job that gives you lots of money,
lots of money without having to work really hard…” And I with my little girl mind
said yes, great, I’m coming… After, I went with this Italian and I told him “Okay,
what kind of job are you giving me?”, “A job where you can live like a real lady, not
like those people who go to work in the fields,” “I like working in the fields, to send
money home to my mother,” “Yes, yes don’t worry.” I went to the hotel, I was there
for two or three weeks. He said to me “Get your birth certificate” and then he went
to Italy and he told me “I’m sending you money, then come with my friend and get
your passport done and you come too to Italy. I need to go back because my visa is
about to expire, therefore I have to return to Italy but I’m coming back.”
                                                                       (E., Rumania)


                                                                  The proposal of a normal job
From the interviews we gathered a strong element of deceit; numerous girls state
that they came to Italy with the firm conviction that they could count on a “nor-
mal”job.

I was aware that I was coming for work, to send money home to my mother, because
I was here to work, to help my family. No, because in Rumania they say that in Italy
people have a good life, there’s lots of work, lots of money, nobody says what type of
work you have to do here; even my cousin and his sister who is married in Germany
said that Italy was a good place, lots of work.
                                                                       (E., Rumania)

Phantom “employment”agencies credit themselves with being safe sources for find-
ing occasional work in the West; not always however do such good intentions appear
to be convincing to the girls themselves.

  Is it so easy to go from Moldavia to Rumania?
Yes, because we are neighbours, now all you need is an identity card. Then I got to
know some people, a friend I worked with, we started up a friendship, we would see
each other after work, she introduced me to her boyfriend who told me that he knew

                                                                                          45
            some people who needed somebody for a job. I wasn’t able to find anything. Then
            she introduced me to her boyfriend who told me that there was an agency that was
            looking for people to work in a store.
                As a sales girl?
            It depends, whether it’s a food store or clothing store. Only that there was a long wait,
            he told me. While I was waiting he called me to introduce me to some people, one
            seemed to me to be a bit strange so I didn’t conclude anything. They told me to wait
            a little longer. I was hoping to find a house to rent with my sister and her husband,
            but I needed to find a job.
                What seemed strange about it to you?
            It seemed to me, while we were talking, that none of it was true, that it was all false.
            Or maybe it was just that by then I had lost all hope, I don’t know. My friend called
            me because she had to talk to me so then I went to their house, there was a party, the
            others were there all drunk, while I was with my friend, they started fighting and stab-
            bing each other. Her, her boyfriend and another guy.
                                                                                    (El., Moldavia)

The illusion of trafficking linked only to kidnapping

            The stories that relate to the experiences of some years ago illustrate the illusory ten-
            dency to distinguish between kidnapping and free choice of coming to Italy.

            We were talking among friends that many girls ended up in Italy, but I didn’t know
            that they came… Because we were talking about the girls who had been kidnapped,
            we didn’t talk about the fact that they were tricked by some guy who pretended to be
            in love, therefore this was a superficial thing… I was superficial… There everything,
            even now, is superficial, you can’t understand thoroughly why the girls end up… That
            is… I already knew about this world from the outside but I was already in it and there-
            fore when I was in it, I didn’t realize that it was actually this world…
                                                                                     (Ag., Albania)

            Sometimes the kidnapping is an outcome that is taken for granted in situations where
            there is poverty in the family.The story of a young Albanian girl refers to an episode
            that took place in 1999.

            There was a neighbour of ours who from the time I was little was always… You
            know… Hanging around. It was in a moment when my mother, my father, every-
            body was out of the house, there was just me and my little brother, the youngest one,
            they came to the house to get me, they said that my mother had sent them, that I
            needed to come for a couple of minutes… They are close to the house, but I knew
            that my mother was at the market, I didn’t go, I understood that there was some-
            thing, but they didn’t let me, they took me, I went because they were threatening to
            beat me, I went, they put me in a car and I arrived in Tirana, they took me to Tirana…

  46
… They told me not to worry, that we were going there to work, but what kind of
work I asked, because I already knew… I heard things on the way here, about the
girls they were bringing, - “No, don’t worry we’re not going to put you out to work
on the street, we wouldn’t do those things-, “But you have to let me go, I have a
child“, “Eh, yes — he said — forget it“, but I didn’t know that my cousin was involved
in this whole story, my cousin who lives in B., I didn’t know, when I came to Italy
then…they brought me in the rubber boat, they took me directly to B., in a house,
with the rubber boat as far as Bari, after Bari I came… A taxi that worked with the
rubber boat, and they took us to the station, we caught the train and they took us to
B. directly, we went to a house…They already knew, all of the family, they pretended
that they didn’t know, they knew not to say anything, but they knew everything,
because the person who left was from their town, and I pretended not to understand,
to see how… In fact, I see the girls getting dressed, I say, “Where are you going?”
“To work“, but they didn’t tell me what work, they left me alone the first day… To
stay at home; then the second day I went to buy clothes, to go out, I said “Are these
the clothes that I put on?” I hardly ever put on pants, and short skirts, because gyp-
sies are used to putting on the long skirts and long dresses, and for me it was a diffi-
cult change, so I said “I can’t... I’m ashamed…”, “You don’t have to be ashamed to
put on these clothes”, “But I’m not putting them on“, and he gave me a slap, the per-
son who brought me, I said “How dare you slap me s, I’m not putting on these
clothes“, I repeated it again because I didn’t understand why I had to put on these
clothes, I was fine the way I was, and he said “You haven’t understood then, you have
to go to work, I said. I said, why would I bring you here?” “But not this job” I said,
because I was trying to get free, to go out so I could run away, but they understood
that I had something on my mind, and another girl was protecting me, I said “Okay“,
I put on my clothes, they made me go out, they were always behind me, walking
around because they were afraid, I didn’t do anything because clients came, I pre-
tended to go to the parking lot, I stayed five minutes and then left, and they said “And
why haven’t you taken any money”; then in the night they came and said “Why
haven’t you made any money“, and I “Because they didn’t want to”, I said, “Then
you don’t want to work”, they beat me, put me in cold water. Nothing, then the sec-
ond day they put me in cold water again, then the second day I made a little bit of
money, they said “Why do the other girls make more money and you don’t, what’s
wrong with you?”. “What do I have to do with it? If they didn’t want to come with
me“, “But you sent them away, they went with you and you sent them away“, I said
“It’s not true“, there was a girl near me who was their spy, she told them everything,
and for her… She was their spy and they beat me, then I went to work nearly two
weeks with them…
                                                                       (Esm., Albania)




                                                                                           47
Kidnapped at a wedding reception
           Another story related to an experience of some years ago tells us of the kidnapping,
           that took place at a wedding,of a 15-year-old belonging to a family of good economic
           and cultural standing.

           Yes, I was taken away during a wedding reception, by force. A distant cousin of mine
           was getting married. Two sisters came up to me, a bit older than me, but I knew, and
           they told me to follow them to the back behind where the party was being held. There
           was a brother, a husband of one of the girls and their accomplice and they took me
           away. I screamed, I did everything I could but they didn’t hear me, because there was
           lots of noise.
              Were your parents also at the party?
           Yes, there were my mother, my grandmother, my sister with her husband and my
           brother who was little. My father was in Greece for a few days.
              Did you understand right away what was happening?
           No, but I didn’t like the situation. I was taken to a small town, to a farmhouse, then
           to Valona. There were six people in all, then others still because then you become
           merchandise, a piece of furniture. For five hundred thousand lira, a million, you are
           sold and sold again, any way they get their money back right away when you do what
           you have to do. They told me when I arrived here, and then I put it all together. My
           parents understood right away and reported the incident. I had tried to get in touch
           with them through a guy I had met in Bari who was a journalist. I sent him to tell my
           parents. He went but asked for money from my relatives for information about me.
           You loose faith, you don’t trust anyone anymore, not even after.
                                                                                    (Mi., Albania)

           And forced repatriation certainly does not represent an answer in this dramatic event.

           Interpol came to get me, in Trieste, and they took me to Albania. They left me with
           an aunt in Durazzo, where I was supposed to be safe. I stayed with this aunt for two
           days and then I went home to my family, where I was for another two days. Then they
           took me again and kidnapped me again, in fact, the same people who had taken me
           away, it sounds like a joke, but they lived near my house. It didn’t take much for them
           to know that I was back because the rumour spread quickly. They took me by break-
           ing down the door of my house: there was me and my mother and because we didn’t
           want to open the door, they broke it down. My mother was shocked, she is still trying
           to recover her health.
                                                                                    (Mi., Albania)




  48
                                                                   Running away from the family
The doubts concerning the possible risks on the “trip”at times vanish due to the fam-
ily’s rigid opposition, as testified to by the fighting among siblings recounted to us by
a young Albanian girl.

“Where were you yesterday?”. He wants me to sit down, “Where were you yester-
day?”. “I went out!”. “Where??”. “Ehm… To my friend’s“, I told him, to my best
friend’s where I always go. “Did your mother give you permission???”. “No!”, I said,
I was barely able to answer, when he gave me a slap that was so hard I saw all black,
he started to beat me, and I got really mad and started to beat him back, to break
something because it hurt me, he… That is, it was the worst beating I’d ever had in
my whole life, I still had my lips… Because I still had a fever, I still had it… The fever
blisters started to bleed, he did… He kept hitting me, kicking me and hitting me with
his fists, in that moment that he was hitting me I swore inside of myself, I said I’m
leaving with him, I said I don’t care what he does to me, enough, I’m going, getting
out of this hell, enough, I’m leaving, I couldn’t stand it anymore, I was… It hurt…
I felt humiliated… It wasn’t the blows that hurt, but… The gesture… I was 21
years old and I was still getting beaten…
                                                                            (Ag., Albania)


                                                                              Doubt makes inroads
In some cases however, there is a growing awareness of the risks involved in work
proposed in Italy; the Albanian girls speak off their fears in this sense, of six, seven
years ago.Then the resistance is won in a rather mysterious way and not a totally
credible one.

He told me that we had to go to Italy, because his brother was having problems. I told
him that may be dead, but certainly not alive would I ever go. In fact we were already
starting to hear about prostitution, about what happened to the girls. Then once we
talked about it with my mother and she was so clear in her words that it made an
impression on me: “I can understand the girls that fall for it at the beginning but I
could never forgive my daughter if she went today.” Therefore it was spoken of as a
problem, however…
   But what did you know?
That the girls were taken away, tricked into it sometimes, that they were kidnapped.
These words persecuted me for years. Then I don’t know what happened, I know that
I had nothing to eat for three days, and already I was very thin. Then I remember that
I ate some soup and, I don’t know, maybe I slept, I don’t remember anything. I know
that I found myself in bed but in another house and they told me that we were in
Naples. I don’t remember anything, not even the trip.
                                                                           (E., Albania)


                                                                                             49
            At times the awareness makes inroads accompanied by the idea of the possibility of
            brief experiences that might change completely, from an economic viewpoint, the
            horizons of one’s own life.

            She said to me “I was there…”; she had her own car…two or three apartments
            bought with her money in the city… I thought “She’s doing well” , and even if she is
            risking her life but… She’s done something… But I didn’t think of doing that kind
            of job for long because I didn’t like it… I thought “stay for a short time and after
            change“, and… I’m changing now… After… A little while…
                                                                                (Cr., Rumania)


The role of the boyfriend
            From some of the stories emerges a framework of an evolution from an initial con-
            sensus determined by sentimental and emotional involvement and a growing state
            of repression,and that becomes more and more difficult to escape from.It is emblem-
            atic with regard to the story of a young Albanian girl who describes the junctures of
            this disturbing transformation.

            He lived with his friend and they also had their girlfriends, let’s say quote unquote.
            Then when we went there a week passed, 10 days, I saw the girls going to work, but
            I never understood what they did, even though the way they dressed was different,
            but, I was saying to myself maybe every country has its way of dressing…Yes, dress-
            ing in a miniskirt, I didn’t think about it also because at home the word prostitution
            did not even exist. Until finally he started to talk about it, saying that the girls do this
            job, they’ve been doing it for a year, they’re going to do it for another year, when they
            have enough money they’ll go home, then… A small business, something, then we
            can live there, not live here. Anyway, he managed to convince me with these words.
            But when we started to talk about it, we said this thing would only last two years, time
            to make some money because there was no other alternative. We made a lot of mon-
            ey. Anyway, he was able to convince me. I started to work too. I was there in Berg-
            amo for 6, 7 months. Then the police was doing its job, and they didn’t let us work
            and then a lot of other things. Then from there we moved to other places that I can’t
            remember any more. We changed workplaces, from Bergamo we went to Florence,
            to Reggio Emilia until we found a place in Pavia, in Vigevano. We stopped there.
            That’s how it works. You stop, you go where you like, until the police start bothering
            you, you stay there.
               What does bother you mean?
            Well when they catch you, they take you to the station, you don’t work for the whole
            day, or they also send you home, they give you expatriation papers, they send you
            home. These are problems with the police. More tolerant, not completely uncaring,
            I don’t say that they’ve never come, but it was different, because if they had some-
            thing to do, fingerprints or some other thing, they did it in the day, but the day after

  50
they didn’t come there to get you to take you to the station and then leave you in the
evening as they do in other places. But in the meantime the two agreed months were
almost up. Once the two months were up then I spoke: “Enough. This is what we said.
I made some money there, can we do something? Let’s decide what we should do.
Let’s go home, do the house, there’s enough money for the moment, then we can
work and see what’s in the future.” Instead in that moment he attacked me there, I
remember, he started hitting me with his hands. And then the threats began. Because
I didn’t want to work anymore. Because then the talk changed, it wasn’t the talk of
two people who are a couple. Because he threatened me, both me, and my family if
I did anything, if I didn’t work anymore and he was always hitting me. The police fol-
lowed me because…, he asked me how, why... He had seen the marks, they took a
picture of them, but I didn’t say anything in front of…And they asked me why I did-
n’t speak. He threatened to hurt me, and to hurt my family.
   Your family?
Yes, he already knew where I lived, where my parents lived, it was no effort for him
to find me even if I tried to run away he could do something. Then he began to beat
me, and ask for a tariff, for money, because he wanted a certain amount of money
every day, so that I continued to work, but I wasn’t working anymore, when we were
fighting, I went to work but I didn’t work anymore, because I didn’t feel up to it, we
had made a different agreement. Then came more threats, he started beating me
again, he put his tariff on it, if I didn’t make money…
   You were supposed to bring home the amount of money that he asked you to?
Yes, there were problems, he kept on hitting me. From that moment there I under-
stood that this was not love, that it never had been, I understood that it never had
been. But once I was inside the racket, I was inside it and then, at the time, there was
no social protection the way there is today. I would have left right away… Now that
love that I felt has turned to hatred for me. Hatred for him, hatred for myself also,
because they realize that,… To feel hatred for yourselves means, means a lot, I don’t
know if you have ever felt self hatred, you can’t live anymore, you think about every-
thing in a different way, you say, this is enough I don’t want to live like this anymore,
I can’t see anything, it’s finished. Many times, many times I’ve thought, why not in
the meantime… You find yourself in a situation with nothing, without a future, with-
out any hope, thinking about nothing, I could only think now I’m inside the racket I
don’t want my parents in it too, because unfortunately they do things to people… In
my country there’s a certain kind of pride, it still exists, so that if you do some little
thing, it isn’t that they forgive you, they say OK we’ll solve the problem somehow,
because there is this pride that is even bigger, it’s true. I know this girl a friend of mine
and she tried to escape, she left, a client helped her.
   Was she an Albanian girl?
An Albanian girl who worked near me at Vigevano, who had the courage, because I
didn’t haven’t it, I didn’t have the courage, she had the courage and said I’ll try it, it
will happen. Within a week they had brought her sister to work in her place.
                                                                             (Lu., Albania)

                                                                                                51
The threat of neighbours and acquaintances
           At times the contact takes place in an unsuspicious way,with acquaintances or neigh-
           bours being the ones to set the trap.

           In Albania it’s the custom, for example, to help your neighbour, let’s say that you’re
           a neighbour, I come to your house if you have to make some tomato preserves and
           you say to me: “Would you give me a hand?”, so that when you finish doing it you
           give some to me… I had gone there, to this person’s house, to give her hand, she
           had a brother too, but he didn’t live with her, he lived 100 meters away; so I go to
           her house, I help her, she goes out, I don’t know where, she says: “I’ll be back right
           away“, she said, ok?, I was in the kitchen helping, so… Anyway she went out, and
           her brother arrives, ok?, I can even say his name... Now that… He is called Luli this
           guy, anyway, this guy arrives and says:” “But why don’t you like me looking at you,
           don’t stop…” This and that… “Now, it’s not that I don’t like you, but I don’t want
           to come in your car with you, we see each other, we say hello and that’s that… That’s
           the end of it” I told him, “Yes” he said, and started to hit me, his sister never came
           back, and then his brother-in-law arrived, the husband of his sister, and with force,
           they threw me into a van, and took me into one of those zones… In the province of
           Durazzo province… With this beach with a lot of trees, where a lot of couples go at
           night, but normal people go there too, you know? They take me there and they hit
           me badly… I will never forget the way they hit me that night there! They really hit
           me badly, they sold me, then, to another person, these guys here… And from there
           I arrived in Italy…
                                                                                   (Ad., Albania)

           Recently the level of awareness,as well as the risk of ending up on the street,appears
           also in cases of very young girls,as the story of a 15-year-old Rumanian girl testifies.
           However a sense of ineluctability becomes apparent in what they’re experiencing,
           once they have decided to come to Italy and come into contact with people who guar-
           antee their entry.

             When you saw that they had sold you and they had proposed to you to come to
             Italy, weren’t you suspicious or afraid?
           Yes, but I thought that they wouldn’t hurt me (I just didn’t want them to hurt me).
             You knew about the prostitution?
           Yes, I knew.
             How?
           Other girls had gone and I knew they were working in Italy, Spain and other countries
           with prostitution.
             Were you afraid that this could also happen to you?
           Yes, when they made me get my passport.
             And you didn’t decide to leave?
           Yes, but they had got me my passport and I got the idea that something could hap-

  52
pen to me, but I couldn’t do anything about it, I was afraid. If they had found me they
would have killed me. I thought, I’m 15 years old and I can’t work in another coun-
try (a normal job) and that it could happen that they make me work as a prostitute.
   Were you afraid of him?
No, he treated me well, but I knew about some of the things that happened here in
Italy.
   How?
From newspapers, television.
   And the stories of the other girls?
Yes.
   At that point you left anyway?
Yes.
   He got you your passport and told you that you had to give him the money back?
Yes, he told me that I would pay him back when I was working.
   How much money?
A thousand euro and something.
                                                                        (Ni., Rumania)


                                                                         Clear proposals too but…
There is no lack of (although they are limited) situations in which the proposal to
prostitute oneself is explicitly accompanied by a prospective of dividing half of the
earnings.

Eh, yes. I told you that even if I didn’t go to school anymore, if I didn’t do anything the
way I’d done before, I didn’t think about any of this. But then when they made the
proposal I told them no, they said to me “Very well, I don’t need an answer right away,
think about it. But think that E. has already accepted if you want to go with her.” And
then we discovered that even she had said no and he had said “Think that N. has
already accepted.” Nothing, at the end I asked exactly what I had to do here. He
explained to me, he said “You will prostitute yourself, you will make money and it will
all be half and half. Don’t worry, everything will be done with protection, with a con-
dom.”
   Did he tell you where you would be prostituting yourself, in the street or in an
   apartment?
No, they told me that “there are some apartments” however there were some girls at
home who told us the same thing, they showed us the apartments of the girls that
were already there.
   Photos?
They showed us the apartments of these girls in Rumania, ok? That were already
there, that had sent money to them to set up these apartments, ok? To rope us in , ok?
                                                                         (Nic., Rumania)


                                                                                              53
     All told, even these “contracts”that appear to be consensual, show themselves very
     quickly to have a high level of violence and coercion and to be less advantageous than
     thought at first.

     Yes, yes the night… We went home now, and then he explained it to us… He
     explained a little bit how things are, what we were supposed to do, and that night I
     went through what I’d gone through the first time. I had sex against my will.
        He made you?
     Yes, he said to me “If it isn’t now, it will be tomorrow, or it will be the day after tomor-
     row, anyway you will be mine,” so that even if I defended myself I wasn’t able to…
     keep him away any more and at the end I did it because anyway I had no choice. And
     even If I wanted to leave, where could I go? My documents weren’t there anymore.
        If you had had a chance in that situation would you have run away?
     Yes. I didn’t know the language, I didn’t know anything. Then they took me to Rapal-
     lo and I started to prostitute myself. I was in Rapallo for about a month and a half and
     then they brought me here. There, there weren’t those newspapers with pictures, just
     announcements and that’s all.
                                                                                (Nic., Rumania)

     From that I understood that these were the explanations and then it wasn’t as though
     I worked about hard to make money because it was really… I fought with the girls
     in the house because I didn’t want to answer the telephone and… At the beginning
     I was afraid of this D. also because of what happened the first night and then because
     if I didn’t make enough money he attacked verbally, and put your brothers in the mid-
     dle of it, your sisters, your mother and everybody…nothing, and then I arrived here.
     But here I really didn’t do anything, less than… Then when I was at Rapallo I didn’t
     want to do anything.
         Therefore the reality was a bit different than what you knew…
     Yes, it was very different. And with the money, no, they had said that it would all be
     fifty and fifty. At the end if I made a thousand euro that meant that he took 500, but
     of that 500 that was left, I had to pay my expenses, the house, the advertisements
     and everything else and in the end it wasn’t 50%.
         Therefore in your half were included all the expenses while he took fifty percent net.
         What was the relationship with the clients like? For example, the first client when
         you came to Italy…
     I have to say that I was shaking all over because… I was a bit ashamed that I didn’t
     know what to do, that you didn’t know what you were supposed to do…
         Therefore it was a relationship without words, there was nothing.
     But what words, they just gave you money, got undressed, did everything, got
     dressed and went away. Yes at times there were clients who were a little nicer and
     joked with you, who asked you why you did this job, there were even clients who treat-
     ed you really like…
                                                                           (Nic., Rumania)

54
                                                                 From the frying pan into the fire
In many situations the attempt to run away from particularly precarious situations
ends up in a classic case of going from the frying pan into the fire; apropos of this we
have the story of a Moldavian girl.

I went out with him, with my son. I could hear the neighbours, I could hear them talk-
ing badly about me, really badly. They were saying: “Look she was married when she
was young, she was raped, she got married, now she has a son, his father drinks, how
can she raise a son by herself. She can’t do it alone, the father doesn’t give her mon-
ey because either he drinks or he spends it to finish the house, her mother isn’t well,
the pension is small, how can she raise him?” And hearing all these people talking
badly, I said, “What am I going to do me with my son?”, I got these fantasies in my
head when I was with my ex-husband, of giving things to him, and now by myself
what can I do, I say “I can’t make it”. So when I was going out with my brother, once
in the city, I got to know a girl. I was in the bar having a tea, there we don’t drink cof-
fee, and I was thinking, and she was sitting at the table and said to me, “May I?”,
“What is your name, where do you live” in the same city as me. “Because your face
is a little, you’re tired, what is it?” I say: “Nothing“. And so we got to know each oth-
er, I knew this girl who was called A., she says to me: “Come on, come to my house,
I’ll come to your house.” She also had a son and so we started up a real friendship.
    Was she alone?
Yes, she lived with her brother. She says to me: “Listen, I saw that you have a son and
live at home with your parents.” A friendship started up with this girl who was too
good and told me these things. I say: “Look, I don’t know what to do, there’s no work
here, I can’t find work,” I was also looking for work at that time. “I don’t want to
depend on them, ask bread from my father,” so I go to work and I earn for me and my
son. At home we have a place to sleep, the house is big.
    Was the house yours?
Yes, the house is ours, my father built it. He drank but he also worked. I was looking
for a job but I wasn’t able to find one because there is no work in our town, you can’t
find it, when you find work in a little factory, it’s a whole family, they don’t take you;
the bigger factories have been closed from the time of Gorbachev,… Everything is
closed in this moment. She says to me: “If you’re looking for work and you don’t want
to depend on your parents I will make you a proposal.” I say: “Very well.” She says to
me: “I have been working for years in Italy in a restaurant, I earn 500 dollars a month.
    Had she been in Italy?
Yes, she told me. I wash dishes in a restaurant and they give me a place where I sleep,
there’s a bed and I don’t pay rent. I eat there too. They need girls, but young girls.
Don’t you want to go?” I asked: “For how long?” “Five or six months but not more.”
I didn’t answer her right away, I say: “I’ll think about it.” I went home and told my
brother this thing. My brother says to me: “Listen, for the tourist visa you don’t have
any money, or for going to Italy or to get your tourist visa or to pay for the trip, you
don’t have all this money.” I say: “Yes, really, I don’t have it, but I’ll tell her tomor-

                                                                                              55
     row.” I arrived there in the second day at home where I lived and said: “I agree with
     you, I was thinking that I could stay five or six months, make a little bit of money and
     with this money I can live there, it’s a lot. But I don’t have the money for the tourist
     visa or for the trip. “She says to me: “Don’t worry about it, we’ll fix everything, we’ll
     get you a tourist visa…”
                                                                            (Ste., Moldavia)

     And then the morning after I was crying, I was desperate and I didn’t know… I did-
     n’t know the area, I didn’t know how to speak Italian, I was afraid and then I got the
     telephone code wrong, the pin, and then I didn’t call anybody, and then his friend went
     off to work, and when he came back from work I started crying again. “My friend does-
     n’t want to stay here, she doesn’t want to stay here” then… He was Albanian too,
     then she spoke to him in Albanian and then this Albanian guy left me alone in the house
     but I was afraid to leave because I didn’t know the area, I didn’t speak Italian, what
     could I do? And then I waited, and waited and waited, I went outside to smoke a cig-
     arette and this friend of his spoke with… He saw me crying and after he spoke to this
     girl and she said to me “Why are you crying, why are you crying” and I told her about
     everything that had happened (she speaks very softly and we cannot understand
     clearly what she’s saying) and we went outside and walked around with a friend of his
     and I smoked a cigarette after cigarette. And then this Albanian came back and I told
     him that I wanted to go home to my friend’s house and he said to me: ”Yes, yes, I will
     take you, I will take you” and after “Tomorrow — he told me — I’ll bring a guy who’ll
     do the document” and he took me to this man who was an old man. Then he spoke
     with this old guy who was Italian, who told me “I want your passport”; he left me with
     this old guy and this old guy took me to a hotel and I said to him: “But why are you tak-
     ing me to a hotel?” But I said this in my language (she laughs) and he said to me…
     He saw that I was afraid and said “What’s going on, what’s happened?” “Why did you
     bring me here?” And he said to me… “To make love with me” and I said “Why?” And
     then he saw that I had started to cry… And then he said “I don’t want to force you to
     make love, if you don’t want to it doesn’t matter” I continued to cry “I want to go home
     to my friend, I want to go to the house of this friend of mine” and then we went and he
     bought me something to eat, this old guy bought me cigarettes and then I said “I want
     to go to Arezzo, I want to go to Arezzo” and then he bought me a ticket, he took me to
     the bus and he said to me “Look, this bus will take you to Arezzo.”
        Therefore he had bought you?
     Yes, and I said “It isn’t true, it isn’t true, how? He didn’t pay anything.” I was scared,
     I had started to cry, and then this Albanian guy left me alone with this Rumanian girl
     and this Rumanian girl told me about working in the street and I said to her “What,
     working in the street? Why?” “Look I understood that this Albanian guy this Ruman-
     ian guy who brought you here to Italy, this Albanian guy bought you,” “It’s not true,
     it’s not true” and she said to me “I’ll help you run away from this Albanian guy” and
     I asked her for help to go to my friend’s house, she said “Yes, yes, I’ll help you, I’ll help
     you,” and then she took me to her house, where she lived with other Albanians. She

56
worked in the street. She told me “Look, let’s do this, I’ll help you, and you work for
me,” and I said “No, I don’t want to, because you didn’t tell me before that it was
working in the street, you told me that it was a normal job.” And then I went with her,
to her house, and I escaped. And then this Albanian guy came to her house, where
she lived. At this time an Albanian friend of hers came to her house and started mak-
ing trouble. “Why did you bring this girl here, I don’t want problems with these Alba-
nians.” And then I went with her, I went outside and went with her. She didn’t want
to take me to my friend’s house but I stayed with her. I was with her for a day and
then I found some... Strength, and she left me alone at home and I went outside to
smoke a cigarette and I saw a Rumanian guy. I had seen him at my friend’s house;
he was drunk, when I saw him I said “Great God, thank you, thank you” for having
brought this guy to me, and he said, he didn’t recognize me and he said to me “How
do you know me?”, I said “I know you from the house of so-and-so…” “Ah…yes,
you arrived two weeks ago,” “Yes, yes.” And then he took me to the house of this
friend and when she saw me she was nervous because that Rumanian girl had told
her that this Albanian guy had bought me and then made trouble with them. And they
said “No, no, it’s not true because we went to the Carabinieri, I reported him because
I hadn’t seen you for a week. Because when I was with him, Carabinieri telephoned
and he told me “You gave my telephone number to a girl?” “Then why did the Cara-
binieri call me?”, “How do I know, I don’t know anything.” And then we were all right
for two weeks. I said “I don’t want to stay home, I want to work” and he said “As you
like — he told me – do you want to work in a nightclub?” I was a little bit afraid, afraid
for what had happened the first time. And then we went, he spoke with a friend and
we went to this nightclub. I saw how the nightclub was, I said “I don’t want to stay
here” because they had to go topless and I was ashamed, I was ashamed to be with
the clients at the table, I didn’t speak any Italian. I started to cry, in that night club
there were a lot of Rumanian girls and they told me “Don’t worry, have something to
drink and then talk to the clients and so on and so” and he came at midnight, he said
to me “How’s this job going?” He came with the Rumanian friend of mine who had
come to visit me, and when I saw her, I said “I want to go home now, I want to go
home”, he said “Yes, yes, I’ll take you home, wait till the end of the program.” And
then he came and took me home at three o’clock.
   Therefore the other girls who were there told you to drink in order to be able to work
Yes, to make money. “But what do I care about money, I want to go home,“ “Don’t
worry“. It wasn’t like that at first, not that I ever thought that night club was normal,
but not that you had to strip, … No... Normal clothes, yes, like miniskirt and the
client calls you or for… You go to the client’s place for a drink but I was ashamed.
Then everyone said to me to go over and talk with clients, “I’m ashamed, I’m
ashamed“, “,, but then how are you going to make money“, “I don’t want to do it in
this way, I want to go home, I want to go home“. And then I went home, I started to
cry in the car, I said “I don’t want to go to this nightclub, I want to go home” and he
said to me “Little by little, little by little, you will learn, like this…”
                                                                            (Ja., Rumania)

                                                                                             57
                             6. The trip
                                and entry into Italy
The separation from the family is total, often the leap is irreversible; the previous life
suddenly seems very faraway.

   When did you call your parents?
After nearly 10 days. Because he said to me “Wait a little bit longer, we’ll fix every-
thing quickly“, or because I didn’t have enough courage to face it. Because know-
ing how difficult it was for my parents to help me study, or yes, because in the end my
mother above all really fought for me to go to University in Tirana, all my relatives
said it, “No, there’s no reason for a girl to go so far away”, I know it, how important it
was to my mother, to my father, the fact that I did all the examinations and every-
thing you had to do to get accepted into university. At university you have to pass a
test. Otherwise you can’t go, you are out. And me without paying, not knowing any-
body, what it was like in that period. My parents wanted to do it, university was impor-
tant for me too, it was important to me to study.
                                                                           (An., Albania)


                                             Even minors enter the country with no problem
In some cases the trip to Italy does not prove to be particularly complex or insidious.
Entry from Rumania seems to be rather easy.

I left in a small bus with 10 people. The journey lasted two days… It was a little bit
cold, really cold, it was already winter. The journey went well, at the border they did-
n’t say anything to me, they looked at the passport and my picture and then they went
away; even I was a little bit scared because I was 17 years old, I was a minor, I knew
that I could only travel with the work contract, according to my mother and my cousin,
he looked at my passport (where it was written that I was a minor) and said to me:
“Go on, get out of here!”… I don’t know!
    So the date of birth on your passport was correct and nobody gave you trouble
    because of the fact that you were a minor?
Because they wanted to give me a false passport but I said “I don’t want a false one:
why a false one? Where am I going? I’m going to Italy to work, I don’t want a false
one, I wanted good one and I wanted a legal passport.
    But at the border they let you go through although you were a minor, and the
    police didn’t ask you anything, they didn’t ask to see an authorization from your
    parents?
No. Nothing.
    What road did you take to come to Italy?
I don’t know, I think it was through Austria.

                                                                                             59
               Do you remember in which Italian place you arrived?
            I don’t remember, may be… Ve… Venice?
               And fromVenice you came toVerona and even here in Italy and nobody comment-
               ed on the fact that you were a minor?
            No, nothing, and in fact even I was a little bit scared that someone would say “Now
            go home because you are a minor”, understand, even the other girls in the bus said
            to me “Eh, you’re a minor, and wait and see at the border, they’re going to send you
            home” and I was really scared, my heart was beating really fast and I said to myself
            “Now where do I go, what am I going to do.“
                                                                                  (E., Rumania)


At times it is more complicated
            Other stories refer instead to more complicated journeys, made up of long waiting
            times before departure and risks of being intercepted and stopped by the police. At
            times the journey takes place inside closed vans that don’t allow the girls to see where
            they are going. On arrival they are told clearly that they have been sold and what they
            have to do.
            The story of a Moldavian girl is particularly significant.

            We left home on the 31st of August 2002. We left in the car with a man who was driv-
            ing and we slept in the capital at his house, all five of us. We got our international
            passports and we waited for a week for the Visa, it was a tourist visa as far as Hun-
            gary. For seven days. Then we changed apartments because we needed to wait
            another week. There, there were eight of us and there were another two men who
            spoke Russian. They told us that they were going to leave us there because not every-
            body could stay, the reason being that the police would have been suspicious,
            because they took us out for work. Later they took us to another apartment that was
            empty, but they were fixing it. There they locked us in and came every day to bring
            us something to eat. We asked when we would be leaving and he started to talk on
            the phone, in another language. He told me he was Greek and that we couldn’t go
            out because if they saw us they would call the police and so it was better if we listened
            to him. We stayed there for two weeks until they came to get us with the taxi; he was
            Albanian, not Greek. We went for a ride outside with him and he took us to the cine-
            ma to take our minds off what was coming, as if everything were normal. We had
            thought of trying to escape but how, we were on the fourth floor. However, we decid-
            ed that there was nothing to be done about it, and that if we tried to run away they
            had all the documents and our home addresses and if somebody asked for money we
            didn’t have any. Most of all I stayed for the children. Then they got us to take a bus
            with 15 people, men too, old people and children, so we calmed down a bit. The
            Albanian talked to the driver telling him that we all had documents and we went into
            Hungary. All 15 of us were taken to a house because we knew that from there we had
            to go on foot. First five went and then they told us the day after that they had arrived

  60
in Italy. The following week we went because they told us that the police were check-
ing the border. One was Moldavian, the others who brought us stayed in Moldavia.
We left in the closed van, with no seats, 10 people on the floor and they told us to stay
quiet, quiet so that we wouldn’t be sent back by the police. Then they stopped sud-
denly and they made us get out quickly because they told us that the police were fol-
lowing us. One guy even broke his leg because a wheel ran over it because he got
behind. We descended into a canal and found ourselves in a cornfield, it was night
time and we were following an Italian who spoke Moldavian and a Rumanian. In the
corn field we ran holding each others’ hands so that we wouldn’t lose each other in
the dark. Then we passed a wheat field, cut and, once we arrived on the road, we
found another van waiting for us. We got in and after a couple of hours of driving we
had to continue on foot along the border. They told us not to cough, not to make any
kind of noise. Once we arrived in a cornfield he called and they told him that there
were police around. We stayed there for an hour and then we stopped under a bridge.
We were all wet, tired and cold. There were many mosquitoes and we stayed there
until morning. Then they loaded us into a van and we arrived in Italy on Friday after-
noon of the 22nd of September.
   Therefore it lasted 24 hours?
Yes, and then passed through all the cities, he made some get off in Milan, others in
Padua and in Bologna. They told us to get out and went to get to Albanians, I believe
they had our photos. They made us get into the car and we went to MacDonalds to eat.
   You didn’t have luggage?
No, nothing, no documents, no nothing. Then they made us take a taxi and took us
to Rimini, to the home of one of these, it was rented. There was a room with three
beds, kitchen, bathroom and corridor. In all there were three Albanians; the owner
of the house was approximately 33 and spoke a little Russian, a little Moldavian
because he had said that he had been for a while in Moldavia. The other was his broth-
er, older, he was 38 years old and the third 25 years old, like me. Then he started to
explain to us that we had come to work in the street. We had never heard of this kind
of work, what did it mean? He told us that they would buy us some clothes, that they
would show us all the other Moldavian girls like us. We would have to prostitute our-
selves on the streets with clients as the other girls did. The youngest told us that he
had paid for one of us and that he would’ve taken one of us and that he had chosen
me. He told me that I was for him and all the money that I made I was supposed to
give to him. My other friends stayed with the two brothers. We tried to tell them that
we were there for work, that they had promised us a job. They answered that they
had taken us for ride and that they had sold us for _ 3000 each. We looked at each
other and then started looking around for a way out, desperate, we started to cry and
the Albanian, without hitting us, made us understand that we had to give our money
to them. I felt terrible and I knew that I couldn’t go anywhere because they had
already told us that they would have found our addresses and our children and our
family members.
                                                                       (Li., Moldavia)

                                                                                            61
     There is also an analogous story of extraordinary interest by a Rumanian girl; the pas-
     sage takes place by way of the border with exYugoslavia, on foot through the moun-
     tains with the help of Rumanian passeurs ; first in Albania and then here in Italy, in
     rubber boat across the Otranto canal.
     At times the junctures of the journey are functional to the buying and selling the girls
     who are initiated into prostitution even before the final landing point, often in terri-
     ble conditions.

     We came from Timishoara by car to another village where, on foot, after two hours
     we arrived in Yugoslavia, by way of the mountains. But that night we weren’t able to
     pass through because there were other people going there and they said that they had
     heard pistol shots, they were shooting, and they didn’t know if it was animals or what
     and so we went back. We slept in a hotel and the second night we tried to pass over.
     It wasn’t the same Yugoslavians that took us, but they paid Rumanians to take us to
     the other side of the border. They knew them, they were waiting for us. They had
     already been doing this job of taking illegal travellers over the border for many years.
        TheYugoslavians stayed in Rumania?
     They went to Yugoslavia by bus. They spoke a little Rumanian. Once in Yugoslavia
     the Rumanians went back but they left us the Yugoslavian guy who took us to his
     house. We stayed there that night in the second day he told us he was taking us to
     buy clothes; obviously it was a lie because instead he took us to an apartment in Bel-
     grade where they were another nine girls who had been taken there to do this job too.
        Nine girls plus you!
     Yes. There was an apartment where they kept you to sell you to the Albanians or
     Yugoslavians. They came there to buy the girls to make them work in the night clubs.
        The girls there were all Rumanians?
     No, Moldavians , Russians, Rumanians, many Czechoslovakians, all the Eastern
     countries, neighbours. The most beautiful girls, with the biggest busts, taken to work
     in the nightclubs, while the less beautiful girls were sold to work in Italy. Me with this
     girl M. and another Rumanian were sent to Italy because an Albanian had bought us
     and had to come and get us except that he didn’t, and we stayed there another nine
     days. They kept saying to us: “Tomorrow Italy“, instead he didn’t come. So they
     decided that they’ d sell us to another guy. The man who sold us, who sold the girls
     like it was a market, was called P. and it was a taxi driver who worked for him and he
     took us with the bus to Podgoriza, another small town. Eight hours on the bus. They
     told us to be quiet, to not let understand that we were Rumanians for fear that the
     others would hear us and they would call the police. They told us, whenever it checks,
     to pretend to be sleeping because they didn’t ask anything from the people who were
     sleeping. There was one check, we pretended to sleep and nobody asked us anything.
     That Yugoslavian was on our same bus but not near us and we had to pretend not to
     know him. The girl that I was with knew Yugoslavian, she could tell him, instead she
     pretended. In Podgoriza, I don’t remember the name well, another man was waiting
     for us who had bought us from the taxi driver of P. and he took us with him. Howev-

62
er he didn’t know that we didn’t have a passport and, after he had paid, wanted to
take us back, only that the other was already gone and he couldn’t find him. There-
fore we stayed with him; we stayed with him for three days after which he took us to
another place, and new owners. It’s always like that. The guy that we were with
worked as a bodyguard and a night club. He took us there, we were there for a week
and then he put us to work in the night club, not for dancing but for going with the
men. There were already dancers there. We went with the men for money and very
little of it was given to us.
…It was September because we left Rumania around the 17th of August. They took
us to Scutari to a hotel and the owner, told us that his name was P. S.. He was a very
powerful Albanian and he had a lot of money and in the hotel he had many body-
guards and also police that were a little corrupt and came there to be with the girls
and do what they wanted. We were there for two weeks maybe, I don’t remember
well, but a lot of days because he kept trying to sell us to somebody who would take
us to Italy.
    It was just you two?
No, many. I had started to speak a little Italian because I had always liked to learn
languages. In that hotel not only he lived there, but also other Albanian owners of
girls, but not to sell, to keep them with them. I spoke Italian with the Albanians
because it was easier, to understand and I also translated for the other girls. They
were going to sell us for $ 2000. Once they sold me but they brought me back right
away because they didn’t like me, because I said that I was scared, and they thought
I was crazy. They had trouble selling me. One day the police arrived in the hotel and
we had to run away. My purse with my Rumanian identity card inside was left in the
hotel and they took me to another house, separating me from my friend. M. had
already been sold and we didn’t know any more about her, there was just me and A.,
the one we had picked up in Yugoslavia. In that house we stayed in two days and
many men came, but they preferred the Moldavian or Russian girls to the Rumanian
ones, they said “Rumania, Mafia“. That night 10 men came to bed with me, with no
condoms, they left everything inside, I was very scared. One of them slapped me
because I didn’t want to do it, I closed my legs. That night 13 times I had to have sex-
ual relations. I felt awful, I was dirty, I didn’t even have time to wash myself before I
had to be with another, because they called each other on the telephone and talked
among themselves.
    Did these men pay?
No, they paid nothing, it was for friendship. Then we ate and went to sleep in anoth-
er apartment in a house; it must have been three o’clock, I was very tired, I could hard-
ly stay on my feet. The day after they took us out of it, to eat, that night they left me
alone. The next day, an Albanian guy arrived, H. friend of P.S.. I already knew him,
and he took us to his city on the sea, far from Scutari. We were there for three days,
sleeping outside, in the field, on blankets, me and another two Russian or Moldavian
girls. There was a restaurant nearby, they got us ready and they brought us some fish,
good food and in exchange we went to bed with them; we did everything without con-

                                                                                            63
     doms because they wanted it that way. We hadn’t even washed ourselves. H. then
     went away and left us with the other two Albanians, all in agreement, like a chain, a
     big mafia. One night two Germans also came, probably tourists, who had paid those
     in the restaurant to be with us. After three days they took us again to Scutari where I
     saw A. again, because they took us to a smaller house where we found the new own-
     er who would take us to Italy; and that’s what happened. We were not supposed to
     say that we were Rumanians, but Moldavians, the Albanians didn’t know the differ-
     ence. The Russians were more in demand because they said they were less stupid, or
     that they were prettier, taller, so they earned more.
     They thought Rumania was equal to the Mafia. The new owner was called D. and I
     believe he paid $ 2000 per girl. He had three male cousins and a female cousin. One
     cousin was in Italy and the other three in Albania. I was for D. Adriana was for his
     cousins. With us there were also a Russian girl, young,15 years old, a Rumanian
     girl, Gypsy, and a Moldavian girl that was for his other cousin. We were there for a
     while because they were trying to get us into Italy through Valona. First the Ruman-
     ian girl, the Gypsy, went,. The Moldavian girl, before she came there, had been for
     six months with an Albanian who belonged to the Mafia. She didn’t work for him, she
     was his girlfriend, and she didn’t want to go to Italy to do this job. One evening the
     guy arrived at the house of these evil Albanians, they started fighting and somebody
     took us outside so that we wouldn’t see what was happening. In fact D. or his cousin
     shot the guy; in their car was a bullet hole. They killed him because they didn’t want
     to give the girl back. The one who was killed was the only one who didn’t go around
     armed because he was very good at Karate but, evidently, it wasn’t enough against
     these guys.

     …then the cousin who was taking the girls to Italy arrived in that same night I left
     with him for Valona, me, him and another Albanian guy. We spent one night In the
     Lona because, the following night, we were taking the rubber boat to Italy that was
     leaving at three in the morning to arrive between five and six in Brindisi. The police
     saw that I was getting out of the car to get into another and they followed us to the
     house where we were hiding. One of them had to pay the police I don’t know how
     many dollars for a girl and there were no problems. We kept on going and we arrived
     at the departure point for the rubber boat and there were many Albanians with many
     more girls. At three in the morning five rubber boats arrived. They paid and we were
     given a number; each rubber boat had about 40 places I believe. We left and I was
     really scared because I don’t know how to swim and it was dark. It was the first time
     that I had been at sea, the water was salty, the waves rose up. The rubber boats
     stopped near each other for about 10 minutes because a police boat was passing,
     after it had passed we began to move again. We arrived in Brindisi but when we got
     out they hadn’t left us on land not at 100 meters from the beach so that they with the
     rubber boat could escape again. I did not know how to swim and I was really scared;
     they helped me holding my hands and making me move my legs but I could not move.
     I don’t know how I did it, the water was up to my neck, my feet did not touch the

64
ground. I was so scared! We were only wearing the clothes we had on and we had to
run for the woods with wet clothes, for nearly half an hour, to an abandoned house,
or the church where we waited for vans to take us to Bari. We got changed, made our-
selves pretty, to be able to walk the streets of Bari. Nobody could get their cellphone
to work and the vans arrived late. They left us in Bari, where we took a private taxi to
a place they had indicated to us, because I was illegal and afraid they would stop us
at a roadblock. This guy had a permit to stay, I don’t know if it was real or fake. He
took us to the station in Bari to go to Rome, after many hours we found an Italian wait-
ing for us, his name was D. He took us to Civitavecchia to get the boat to go to Sar-
dinia, to Olbia.
                                                                      (An., Rumania)


                                                                            From Valona to Puglia
From Albania the classic route is obviously that of the Otranto Canal, from Valona to
the Pugliesi coast.

No, my parents… practically I came to Italy and I didn’t tell my parents anything!
   How did the trip go?
I came by rubber boat from Valona. I left from Valona and disembarked at Lecce.
When I left, the war ( in Kosovo) had begun and in a certain sense I had to escape.
   Can you give me a detailed story?
We stayed for a week in Valona because the sea was not good, then one night a man
came and said “We have to leave with the rubber boat”, we left at night, there were
about 15 to 20 people, I don’t remember very well…
We left in the winter and it was around five or six in the evening, 3 1/2 hours with the
rubber boat so that we arrived here at around 10, during the day we travelled to Milan.
   15, 20 people, adults, children?
I don’t remember well… yes.
   Was your boyfriend also there?
Yes.
   Did you pay?
No, he paid for everything, I didn’t have any money, he thought of everything for the
journey.
   How long did it last?
3 1/2 hours with the rubber boat because the sea was quite smooth; then when we
arrived we saw the police there and we had to take a long route for which we walked
for almost eight hours, going around those places.
   Did you know anybody?
I knew the people because I had been in the house in Valona before leaving. I was
afraid because you are nothing, you leave like that and you don’t know where you are
going to arrive… another world. I knew that we were going to arrive in Lecce and
that from there walking many hours we came to the town and from there to the city

                                                                                           65
          of Lecce, we arrived in the town and there were two Italians that we had met by
          chance, because usually there are the so-called taxis that wait for people from the
          rubber boat, pick them up from where they disembark and take them to various sta-
          tions, in the various centres so they can continue their journey. As we had lost our way
          a little on the journey we were unable to find a part of the group, and those taxis, so
          we paid these two Italians to take us to Lecce. After I took the train to Milan.
                                                                                   (An., Albania)


From Rumania up to 2000
          While today entrance from Rumania proves to be extremely easy, with no need for a
          visa, the situation was different up until 1999/2000, as this story testifies. The pas-
          sage takes place through Hungary, Austria, to Italy; at the border the group is made
          to get out and go through the woods; so it also happens at the Julian border that allows
          for arrival inTrieste.

          It was four years ago, the summer of 2000. I left, the passage through customs was
          easy, in fact there were no problems.
             Did somebody give you a passport?
          No, I got my passport. The man came with me and did my passport and paid Lit
          300.000. The passport was legal.
             With what kind of permits did you enter? For tourism?
          No because I entered illegally.
             But concretely speaking, how did you enter?
          We went by car to a city near the border of Rumania, near Timishoara and there we
          met with 10 other people because they were entering into bigger group, they did not
          want to risk for a few people and we were left there for a night, we put on dirty clothes
          for entering; we had three cars, the drivers, a guide and a person and three or four
          girls, the rest were men, everyone wanted to enter.
             And did you know somebody among these 10 people?
          Yes, I knew a girl and one of the drivers. And then we got to know the others. Then
          we left. We passed through the first customs in Rumania with no problems, they paid,
          and we went through with passports and into Hungary and then we continued with-
          out problems and then at the other customs they stopped us first with the cars and we
          went through by way of the woods.
             That is to say, at customs you went through by way of the woods?
          Yes, with a guide we went through the woods. And then we passed through the woods
          in Italy, in Trieste where the passage proved to be the most difficult because it was
          mountain, it was a very long road, but because it was summer it was not a really big
          problem. Because we had some problems with an older man who nearly had a heart
          attack.
              From departure atTimishoara toTrieste how many days passed?
          Well from Rumania we left on Friday and we travelled continuously and on Saturday

  66
we were in Italy...But, I was with this guy and with another two people in the car, it
was an easy trip.
   Were you afraid to pass through customs?
First we passed one that took us five to 10 minutes, it was really quick, then the sec-
ond from Hungary to Austria and it was a bit more difficult because there was a road
and some guards were there; then from Austria to Italy it was a little bit more diffi-
cult… if we had encountered checks, we would all have been sent back and the guide
arrested…then in the road we had no problems.
   Nobody stopped you either in Austria, or in Hungary?
No, no. We arrived in Italy, there was a big corn field that we crossed and a huge
cemetery… We crossed the cemetery and arrived at a wall and came to a highway
where little by little cars picked us up. Little by little we got into the cars and… we
were in Italy. Then we divided up because there were those who wanted to go to
Rome, to Padua, to Treviso, therefore the cars split up.
   Did he know where he was supposed to go?
Yes it was all programmed in my opinion. I only knew that I had to get to Rome where
they had to take me to this guy there, to the wife of the guy that had been arrested,
the thing was certain, I had spoken with them, I wasn’t afraid… I had spoken with
his parents and therefore I was certain, I wasn’t afraid because they were mature peo-
ple and then there were also women even though it was the women who hurt me the
most. Therefore we arrived near Desenzano, again in the car, me, this guy and anoth-
er two girls and there I understood that the guy with whom I had come was taking
advantage of the fact that the other guy had stayed in Rumania, there was not a good
relationship between the two of them, therefore this guy who said he was his friend
in fact was not… then I was afraid, I did not know where I was, now I would know,
but then I did not know the area, nothing and nobody, then this guy here came to me
and talk to me and said “I bought you for the great sum of Lit 3 million and you have
to pay me back“.
                                                                          (El., Rumania)


                                       The journey and the nightmare of a fierce initiation
Here we report large sections of a story by a Moldavian girl,a lucid testimonial of how
a journey becomes a tool to bend the will of the girls in order to avoid unknown sur-
prises once at the destination. Rumania,Serbia,Montenegro,Albania,… before the
arrival In Italy, a great deal of sexual violence is perpetrated.

I left home; he (the son) was six years old; he went at seven because I didn’t take him
to school because I had no money to buy school things. He lost a year of school,
because you have to buy those things by yourself. I told my brother and he said to
me: “Very well, I agree with you“. However I say: “Do this favour for me, look after
my son, don’t treat him badly“. My brother says to me: “I am here“, my brother loves
my son, “Make sure that nobody treats him badly or hurts him”. I got some of my stuff

                                                                                           67
     ready and left the house at six in the evening, my son took me by the hand and said:
     “Mommy, where are you going, do you want to leave me?” He saw me with the bag,
     “And I said to him: No, Mommy’s not leaving you, she’s coming back.“ (she cries) I
     said: “Mommy’s coming back, C.” He looked at me and said: “You want to leave
     me?”, “No, no, look, Mommy loves you“ . And so I kept going straight on… “ I’m
     going to do what a friend of mine proposed for work, I’ll make some money and come
     back home“. And that night I went to the house of this girl and she really threw me
     off. When I went into the house there were at least six other girls, another six girls
     young girls. I looked at them and said “What are you doing here?” They say: “We are
     leaving for Italy.” I was a little shocked. And one says to me: “And you know where
     we’re going?” I say: “Yes, they told me, in Italy to work in a restaurant“. And these
     three girls say to me: “She told us that too“. We left the house of this girl at nine that
     evening, we left in three cars. For the whole journey I was thinking of my son, what
     he would think of the mother, that he said that I wanted to leave him, I got the idea
     in my head that I had to go ahead and raise my son. We arrived at the border with
     Rumania.
        Still in the car?
     Yes, still in the car.
        Were the men driving?
     Yes, men, I didn’t know anything. At the border with Rumania three more cars arrived
     and they took us… She (the intermediary) did not help me live on this earth and at
     the border with Rumania she sold me. Six girls, me among them, seven girls sold by
     her for money. None of us knew about it. She took money for us and in Rumania three
     more cars picked us up.
        And she didn’t come?
     She didn’t come, she said that she was coming and in the end she didn’t come, in
     Rumania she said: “I can’t come, I have to go back“. She left us in the shit. “But don’t
     worry, once you’re in Italy, everything will be fine, don’t worry, everything will be set
     up for you, the job in the restaurant, a place to live, everything.” In Rumania these
     three cars took us to a village, to a house. In this house there were another three girls,
     locked up, and they put us in there too, in a small room. The girl said that they had
     been there for two weeks because they could not cross the border between Rumania
     and Yugoslavia. And we were there for a week. They brought us food, but they did
     not let me go out, I kept asking and they told me they would take me with a tourist
     visa. “Why are we here, why are you keeping me in the house?” The other girls who
     were in the house told me: “We have been here for nearly a month, they promised us
     to that we would have a tourist visa. And who could we ask. “What job are you going
     to do in Italy?”, “Washing dishes” everybody. Once said to… the others said wash-
     ing dishes. They had said the same thing to everybody. We stayed there for a week.
     Then a van arrived, a small long white truck and a car. It was at night and they said:
     “Come on girls we’re leaving for Yugoslavia. And after Yugoslavia you will see there’s
     a bus to go to Italy“. We got into this little truck, the things they said that I thought
     were true but turned out to be a lie. They took me to the mountains between

68
Yugoslavia and Rumania. By way of the mountains and you passes in Yugoslavia.
By night we crossed the mountains, we walked for two hours, a man gave me a big
pack of cigarettes so I wouldn’t be going empty-handed. From there, it’s at the bor-
der that they make checks. And to cross between Rumania and Yugoslavia in the
mountains you have to run, the girls lost their shoes, I lost mine too, and we arrived
with bleeding legs, we were in bad shape. We crossed into Yugoslavia, there anoth-
er five or six cars came, but they were big cars, they took me to a house. In this house
there were two women and three men and they put me with five, six girls and half
undressed me. We get there and they say to me and the other five girls: “Come on in.”
We went inside and look at each other. What’s happening here, why this thing. One
of the women there knew how to speak Russian and said to me: “Nothing is hap-
pening, we are just doing a check. “And what kind of check?” “Undress to your waist.
With your breast bare.” We look at each other: “Why?” She says: “You have to do this.
We say: “All right“. I was thinking that she said to see if we were healthy, if we had
been beaten and could not go to work in Italy, that maybe they don’t take you in the
restaurant, and we lose money. They were clever. Now I understand, before I did-
n’t. We undressed halfway, she checked us out, and said all right, all right, all right.
We left. We were in Yugoslavia two weeks in a country house. Separated: 10 girls in
one part, 10 girls in another part. We were two weeks in that hell, one of the girls was
taken by some men. They did what they wanted with them, they chose. And I asked:
“Why are they doing this?” And they answered: “If not, when you arrive Italy to do
your restaurant job, you have to pay for all the things you ate here. “Didn’t you say
you were bringing a tourist visa? And in the end I have to pay for all of this.” I did not
understand anything. And they said: “This is your tourist visa, you go illegally“. That’s
what they said. And you don’t know what to do. You can’t escape, they get you, alive
you don’t escape, they kill you. We kept quiet. I went through this racket of rape in
Yugoslavia too. Two men got me. I said to myself “Better to kill myself“. They get
you, they take you, and they take you back. We were sold all of us, they sold us like
cattle, like animals, they treated us all like animals. After, when they had done what
they wanted with the girls, after two weeks like that, the girls counted days, saying:
“Get ready we are leaving“. A woman came with the man. A very beautiful woman
with curly blond hair, blue eyes, too beautiful.
   What language did she speak?
They said she was Yugoslavian but she also spoke Russian very well. She had my
passport. She gave me a piece of paper and she put a … on this piece of paper. And
they go “This is your Visa in Yugoslavia, when the police stop you, and they ask you,
show it to them and they won’t do anything to you. Now we are leaving for Italy.” In
the end even this was a lie. From Serbia, from Yugoslavia they took me to Montene-
gro. They put me in an apartment, they were also women who treated me badly,
where we were. They were days when they gave me food to eat and they said “The
women have to pay when they want to eat.” And they began to bring men. They
brought these men and we always asked “When is this thing going to finish, when are
we going to Italy.” They told us “You’ll go, soon you’ll go to Italy.” They didn’t want

                                                                                             69
     to tell us the way things where, that we would go to Italy and be prostitutes. They
     always spoke as though we were going to Italy to do a normal job. However all this
     travelling that we girls did, they have to pay for and seeing as how we girls did not
     have any money they take and exploit our bodies. In Montenegro we stayed for two
     weeks, maybe a bit longer. And one night some people came and said get ready we’re
     leaving for Italy. All right. From all day via to Rumania toward Italy, from Romania
     for Yugoslavia, Serbia for Italy, from Serbia to Montenegro for Italy, when we got
     there at the end, today we go back. They said to me “You can’t go back, at least alive”
        These women said that?
     Yes, and the men too. “You won’t get there alive. They will kill you, they won’t let you
     get away.” They’ll follow you, keeps tabs on you, you’ll have to stay in the house for
     so long that you’ll be under their control. You can’t go anywhere. From Montenegro
     they took us in a car, it must have been two in the morning, they took us to a river, a
     big river. And these Yugoslavians were laughing, and talking with the Russian. One
     of these girls where we’d been knew Yugoslavian and said” Now you’re going to
     Italy.” They loaded all the girls on to a rubber boat to leave from Montenegro. They
     talked on a cell phone to other people. These were Albanians. Now that I know Alban-
     ian, when this Yugoslavian spoke to other people, these were Albanians because he
     spoke in the Albanian language. I also learned Albanian in all these years because I
     was in the middle of all these Albanians. And we left in this rubber boat. We were two
     hours on the river. And at that the right moment the rubber boat stopped in the mid-
     dle of the river and the guy piloting it said: “Now I’m going to choose one of you to
     screw, when she says no“, he said in Russian, he spoke too well. “When it’s no, I can
     drown you all where you are here, I don’t give a damn“. And we were all sitting, all
     nervous, all in agreement. One of us chosen by this bastard, no shame, without any-
     thing we go with him or he drowns us. We were all in agreement. All the girls were
     afraid. When one said no, the girls said “Go on“, we were all in agreement. And we
     held each others’ hands, one next to the other. He looked at us, looked at us again
     and at the end with his finger chose me. He says to me: “You come here“. I looked at
     the girls and the girls said: “Do it for us. Don’t be ashamed, do it for us.” And I went.
     He undressed me right in front of all the other girls, he screwed me, without condoms,
     without anything. After he says to me: “You are really good, that’s how you do it. If
     you weren’t so good, I was going to drown you and your friends in this water“. After
     he left me and the girls all came near me, I started to cry, I was afraid, I said I was
     afraid maybe he gave me some disease, the girls said to me: “Come on now, we are
     near you, don’t worry, we won’t leave you“. I say: “Why does everything happened
     only to me“, this trip to Italy, if I had known it was going to be like this, I wouldn’t have
     gone, I would’ve stayed at home. I would have eaten bread and salt, with water but
     I would have stayed at home.” The girls stayed close to me, all the girls. One started
     to entertain me, the other to make me laugh, I started to talk with the girls and let’s
     say I forgot about this thing. We saw the lights in the distance and said: Italy, — he
     says: “yes, yes Italy”. Wait until you get to Italy. We’ve reached Albania. Skodra.
     When we reached Albania, the police, the cars, the people with kalashnikov. When

70
we saw this we were shocked. The rubber boat stopped and when we got out of it they
counted us, how many girls we were, if we had lost one. Like criminals, there was an
armed person on one side and another armed person on the other side. The Albani-
ans, these shitty Albanians, and you can’t say anything else. Even the Albanian
police, they have all been paid. When we got in the car we were sold again, they had
taken money for us again, and they took us to a house in Skodra where we were for a
long time, but the Albanian men came there too, they took the girls and did what they
wanted with them. After these Albanian men came and bought the girls too. I was
bought by the people with whom I came to Italy. And after they make you understand
that you are going to Italy to be a prostitute. They make you understand it but you
don’t have any choice, they tell you that. If you escape we will kill you. And we will
kill you. They held a gun to my head…They took me to a hotel. Only one night I was
with her, after they separated us. They brought man to both of us without us know-
ing. Even when I didn’t do anything, they made me understand, they gave you a
punch, they held a gun to your head, they told you that they would kill you, they made
you understand. They really made you understand. I put up with this hell even in
Albania.
    How long were you in this hotel?
I was there for three weeks, a month, it was a very long time.
    Always in the hotel?
    Could you never go out?
No, I was watched, there was always an armed person, I couldn’t go out, even when
you went to do pee, they were always behind you, watching you. After one night a
person who had bought me told me this, that they discovered that they had bought
me and said to get ready because that night we were leaving. That’s how it went, I
got my things that I had there, the things that I brought from home had disappeared,
they had taken them all. He asked me about my passport, my documents. I said: “I
have them“. He says to me: “Give them to me and I’ll keep them.” I looked at him, I
said: “Why?” He says to me: “Go on its better like that.” And he also took my pass-
port, he took my document. That evening, around 11, we left for Slora.
    Still Albania?
Yes, still Albania, where they were getting the rubber boat ready.
    For Valona.
Yes, for Valona, to leave for Italy. He told me that that evening we were going to Italy.
I looked at him and said: “How? Who? What?” He says: “This.” The rubber boat all…,
since I’d seen it I watched the sea and looked at the rubber boat and said in my lan-
guage: “I’m afraid“. He says to me: “No“. There were 40 of us, maybe even more.
    40 people? All women?
Women, men, even Albanian girls, foreigners that they took to Italy to prostitute
themselves. There was a rubber boat full of these people. There was also a woman
with two small children. We got into this rubber boat and left for Italy. Mama, how
afraid I was, all dark, this sea, the rubber boat rose, I closed my eyes, at times some-
body screamed and these Albanians closed their mouth. We crossed that sea in that

                                                                                            71
            rubber boat, they spoke the language of the pilot, and the children screamed, we were
            all there, when the rubber boat bucked, and water sloshed in. It was really… After
            they yelled, if you don’t be quiet we’ll throw you in the sea, they said terrible things.
            We were quiet, everybody sitting still, I needed to do pee really badly, I did there in
            the rubber boat because I couldn’t hold it. it was a hell. I said: “Oh, my God, why?” I
            couldn’t wait, I don’t know what I was thinking in those moments. When we were
            crossing from Albania to Italy you could see the lights of Italy, but they were a bit far
            away, and when I saw the lights I always asked: “Italy?” They said to me: “Yes, yes
            Italy“. I became a crazy person, and he said to me, they showed that I was crazy. I
            didn’t realize it, I didn’t know what to say. I kept asking: “Italy?” And they said to me:
            “Italia, Italia”. And I saw these lights far away and thought maybe we were close
            instead we were far, there was a bit of road ahead. When we got close to Italy we were
            near Brindisi, when we got out I didn’t know what Brindisi was. We got out of the rub-
            ber boat with the water up to here. I didn’t know how to swim. My pimp grabbed me,
            took my hand so as not to lose me. We got out of the rubber boat in a hurry, out of the
            water, and they made us run, do this, I passed all this hell, I was arriving in Italy to
            work for my son, to make a bit of money and finally go home, I went through all this.
            These people made me know that the police took you home, and I was thinking I went
            through this whole journey, they told the lies, the other lie that I was crazy and I believe
            that, I came here to make a bit of money, to send to my son, so life could be better
            because I was divorced from an idiot, that’s what I thought, I went through a crisis. I
            was even afraid that the police would get me and send me home. This Albanian had
            my passport, I had no documents, nothing, I asked him to give me my passport and
            he said: “No, I’ll give it to you later.”
                                                                                        (S., Moldavia)


Paying duty to the police
            Analogous and just as rough and interesting is the story of another Moldavian girl.
            During the journey, other than violence by the traffickers, it is not unusual to have to
            pay some kind of duty to the police, in this case to the Albanian police.

            End of August 1999. We had an easy departure, no problems, as far as the south of
            Rumania, Timishoara, with the bus as far as Bucharest. We travelled with the guy,
            from Belorussia, with whom we spoke Russian, because Russian is spoken in all the
            republics. He must have been 35. Then in Bucharest we were with a Rumanian who
            they spoke to separately, watching us, and mostly me. Then this Rumanian took us
            to the station and we caught a train; there I understood the situation, when they told
            me they didn’t want to take me. I asked why and he told me that I was too old.
               And from this you guessed something…
            Certainly I understood why. What does age have to do with a normal job.
               And what did you think?
            I still had a bit of hope, I hoped I was mistaken. We had travelled in the train all night

  72
and we arrived in Timishoara early in the morning. A car came with two other Ruma-
nians, it was a small van, closed behind. They loaded us in and told us to be quiet,
not to make sound. I asked why and he told me we were not to be found by the police
because otherwise they would put us in jail. They took us to a place where there were
no houses, there was nothing, with no food or drink and we were there for a couple of
hours and, when it was dark they took us to a half built house and locked us in there
for a long time, in a room that was really disgusting, there was dirt instead of a floor.
    Was it still you three?
Yes, they came in the night to check on us and they told us that we were waiting for
other people before we left. In the night they brought a girl, then another two, then
another six, like that until five in the morning approximately, when they loaded us on
to a boat. When we arrived it was dark, we couldn’t see anything, and we hadn’t seen
that the house was near the river. I understood after that this was the border with
Yugoslavia. They loaded us all on to a boat, all stretched out, one on top of the oth-
er, the poor girl on the bottom which was wet. There were many of us, around 10 peo-
ple in a metal boat.
It took around half an hour. When we arrived there were four or five cars waiting. It
was still dark but even in the darkness it had all been organized: everyone had their
girls to load on. I understood after that they sold us from hand to hand, and it was all
already planned. They loaded us into the car in five; we passed through Belgrade and
they took us to the house of an old woman. There were two Albanians this time. They
let us have a shower, we ate and slept a little. There were two jerks who tried to have
sex with us. We stayed there seven or eight hours; then they took us to the station and
there were already others waiting. We travelled all night in a bus, with this guy who
saw that we were afraid. He had five foreign girls with him, therefore he was obvi-
ous; he warned us in the case of checks, not to speak to him, to pretend not know him.
We arrived in… I don’t know the name of the villages because we travelled all night.
However we arrived in the morning early and they took us, after an hour or more, in
the car, to Montenegro.
    Were you still with the girls with whom you had left?
Yes, they took us to a house full of girls. It was a family, husband-and-wife… We
were very tired and we slept. In the morning they brought us clothes to get dressed
and make up.
    Why, didn’t you have your purse?
Yes, but they were clothes for the people who were coming to buy us, to choose the
girls to go to work on the street and for this reason we had to be beautiful, they told
us. They were two people and one was a real pig. They were Albanian. One chose us
and they took us to Albania.
    Do you know how much they paid for you?
No, I asked because I really felt like an object and I wanted to know what I was worth
but they told me that every girl had her price, that it depended. A more beautiful girl
is more expensive, an uglier one… we got into the car again and went to the border
with Albania. There were mountains and woods. A man arrived, older, around 40,

                                                                                            73
     who acted as a guide. He told us not to talk and we had to run. I didn’t know that in
     that moment we were crossing the border. I remember that everyone was running,
     that they got us into a car and we took off. We stopped after around 50 km, in the vil-
     lage. Can you believe that, I studied Albania in school, but I never realized that we
     were in Albania, I imagined that we were going from Yugoslavia to Italy. We stopped
     in a village where there were police, they talked with the driver and indicated the girl
     who was 19. They told her to be a good girl and go with that guy, so as not to pay
     money. The poor girl grabbed onto me and, so as not to make trouble, the driver made
     a sign to me to go with them, so as not to make trouble. I asked if this was Italy, because
     the houses were small and ugly. They told me no, this was Albania. I felt terrible, I
     thought about what had happened to me, of my daughter at home. They took us to
     a restaurant and told us to wait there. Some police arrived and we went for a ride in
     the car; they talked between themselves and we understood where they were taking
     us and we asked to get condoms. It was a miracle because they bought as condoms
     these police, because the others, never thought about this. They took us to the beach,
     there were rocks, wood, bushes, then some others came, they weren’t dressed like
     police, with other girls, Rumanians, and one told us we would never make it to Italy,
     that we would stay there in Albania. One gave her a slap and took her away so that
     she wouldn’t scare us. Horrible night passed, many men came. They slapped me
     because I didn’t want to do it. In the morning they took us back to the restaurant, I
     was scared, I cried, I didn’t know where the others were. Then the men came, an old
     man, the one who had taken us from Yugoslavia to Albania, and he ordered us to go
     with him.
        Did you understand these policemen, the language they spoke?
     There wasn’t a lot of talk, we understood with gestures. It was a horrible night. Then
     these took us to a house where there were many, many girls, all Moldavian or Ruman-
     ian. In this house we stayed for about two weeks, where I saw many things happen.
     They came to this house to choose the girls, to buy them. They told us to get dressed
     and put on our makeup to be beautiful. Everyone wanted to go to Italy, to get out of
     there. Night came and they took the girls telling them that they were going to Italy
     and then instead they screwed them all night, they hit them and then they brought
     them back there. We talked amongst ourselves trying to understand if there was a
     way to escape but they said whoever had tried it had been found and taken who knows
     where, that even the police were connected to them and, in effect, I had the proof.
     Once the police came because the neighbours had called them and, once in front of
     the police station, they turned the car around and took us back. It was all an act for
     the neighbours. This was after, when we were in another house.
        But this older man, the Albanian, who was he?
     He was the father of three men who sold the girls. In this house there were about 20
     girls and each one told their story. These two weeks were awful but, compared to
     other moments that happened after, they seemed easy. The girls who came some-
     times came back and others did not or they were taken for clients there In Albania.
     After two weeks there were problems in the village, there were checks done by the

74
police and they sold all the girls. They took us, four of us to another house with oth-
er Albanians were each person that came wanted to have sex. One of these said that
I was with him, but I was for him and he hit me because I refused; he was a monster.
This was my good luck because one night he hit me and the neighbours called the
police; the police came, they took us somewhere else in another car. it was a pre-
tense. From there then they took me to another house, where there were eight of us.
First there were 12 of us: it was near the sea, small houses with a sea view. There we
were locked inside and they brought us something to eat. I had my 30th birthday
there. It was awful.
                                                                         (S., Moldavia)

The story is repeated even when the girl is evidently a minor in passing over the border.

…We were supposed to go on foot: Bulgaria — Macedonia, Macedonia — Greece.
Eight hours by foot from Bulgaria to Macedonia all woods… it was a mess, a mess.
From Macedonia to Greece the day after because you cannot do it all in one day and
it’s two hours of normal road.
   Were you alone or with other girls?
When I arrived in the city that I said was near the customs there were two other girls
taken by force. However they didn’t show that they’d been taken by force. They said
“Don’t scare the girl.” Anyway I still wasn’t able to think that they had sold me for…
nothing, from that I went to something… practically we went to Greece, the first time
they caught us and they…there is nothing in Greece, there’s nothing…at the end of
the road…the road ends and is an old man with a rifle…I peed myself. So ugly. Noth-
ing… we weren’t able to cross.
   But was he a policeman, a customs official…
Yes, yes, one of the guards…looks after the land, but apart from the land he was
watching who passed. He shot and it passed me like this…it passed me (makes the
sign of the gunshot that passed nearby) I peed myself. (low voice) I was scared and
they took me to the customs and from there they made me go back into Macedonia.
It was a mess, they got a car in the same night 12 or 13 people pass through. It was
full. I called the police…those in Macedonia, to come and get me (coughs) and take
us back to Bulgaria. That these two guys come not with a squad car but with one of
those paddy wagons and they put us all in it in the back, with nothing back there, there
were 14 of us. One of the girls….the girl behind, we stopped to get water and they
saw that I…wasn’t feeling bad, one understand. They said “Come with us, you come,
come up front with us.”
   The other girls were older?
The others yes, were gypsies, families… all lording it. I didn’t tell you that we passed
two…then I and the two girls with one from Macedonia, they let me pass, under-
stand?
   Therefore there were no more Bulgarians?
No. For all I can remember one of them was that kind of person...

                                                                                            75
        That kind?
     That kind if I remember correctly had a face, a really bad one. And we were going
     back…and I moved ahead up to the front and these guys were talking… and at the
     end you know what happened? They stopped in front of the hotel of a friend of his
     “Come, come” “And come to do what?”. “Come!”. Understand, they gave orders. I
     went, they showed me the keys of the room and said “But what do you want?”, “What
     do you mean what do you want” Anyway (very low voice) they made me go into the
     room and they did whatever they wanted both of them and I couldn’t say anything or
     do anything. Then, I was already feeling pretty bad, I cried a bit, after we got to the
     Bulgarian customs, (I nod), always the same story. We get there and this and that,
     you are free but the girl here why she is 12 and so on and so forth, she has to wait,
     who has to wait? So I had to wait and give him a blow job.
        Knowing that you were 12 they didn’t try to find your parents?
     No, you’re joking! Nobody called home. Nobody said how old I was. Nothing, they
     said “Now you take the train…” “I have no money” I said. “How did you come? Write,
     write.” I invented a story and I wrote it, they told me “Come, come a minute in this
     room” the same story (a very low voice).
        Therefore two of them!
     No, it was one. One...commander. Then he took me to the station and I caught... the
     train and I went to my city. I arrived at home and they said “Where were you? What
     have you been doing?”. “Nothing, nothing”. I felt really bad, really stressed out.
                                                                             (A., Bulgaria)




76
                              7. Recruitment,the characteristics
                                 of the criminal organizations
On arrival in Italy the situation, and what the girls must do, is immediately revealed;
all contact with the family is rigorously blocked.

When I arrived here two girls came to get me, and they told me “Now it’s night time,
we are going to do a night job.”… And I say “Ah, what job? Me, not the street, and I
started to cry.”
And so when I heard this, I was crying, and crying. I said “I want to see my family.”
And she said “I’ve been here for five months.” and I said “you are on the street” and
she said “Yes” and I said “But I don’t want to go in the street…”
But they didn’t want me to telephone home. Then they saw from the cell phone that
I had called home because I didn’t know how to cancel the number from the cell
phone… They had given me the cell phone, not to telephone, but so that they could
telephone me to see where I was, if I was with…
F. with A. said to me “if you don’t go in the street they will beat you. Come on, come on,
I’ll show you what to do. I have seen girls being beaten”. I was scared, I didn’t know the
language. You would have been scared too. He yelled “bastard!“ Swear words in Ital-
ian, he said “Come on let’s go, let’s go” you know even when you don’t know the lan-
guage. He said “you go on the street, make lots of money, afterwards I’ll be with you.“
                                                                            (E., Romania)


                                                                    The cards are put on the table
The deceit vanishes rapidly, and the evolution of the events are quickly made clear
through intuition.

And I ask them “Excuse me but what language are you speaking“. And they answer
“We’re speaking Italian.” I say “No, because I don’t understand anything of what
you’re saying because I can recognize a little Italian.” P. says to me “Yes, this is Alban-
ian“, when I heard this I was not able to believe that I was at the house of Albanians…
   What did you think of the Albanians?
I thought that they would make me work in the street. In Rumania we know that the
Albanians make girls work in the street, that they are bad, that they kill, that they are
worse than the Moroccans.
I thought “I hate these men who make me work in the street”. But looking at them in
the face they didn’t seem bad, they seemed good…
I said “A girl gets sold only when she is a prostitute but I’m not going to be a prosti-
tute, I have three children.” “I’m sorry V.. today I’m going to show you because
tomorrow you are going to work.” “Me?” “Yes”. I had seen that P. before leaving had
given me a bag, I didn’t know that it was full of condoms for me to do this job with.

                                                                                              77
     Then we went to another place, got a pizza and he says, “Eat here in the car”. After I
     get the condoms and I had never seen condoms before and this guy says “Excuse me
     you’ve been married for years and you don’t know these?” They are condoms“. “Why
     condoms?” I say to him. “Because you need to make money”. “Where?”. “In the
     street. Let’s go I’ll show you because today you are in the street“. I couldn’t believe
     it. I started to cry and P. started to hit me here and he said “you were sold once for €
     3000 and a second time: € 6.000“. I couldn’t believe it.
                                                                              (V., Romania)

     I arrived with a friend, this one, and with a guy… She had said that he was her
     boyfriend… Me and with another girl… And then we came here, to Modena… Then
     we met with another Italian who my friend said was her friend who worked in a restau-
     rant… and after they started talking and they went into a room… And I said “Why
     aren’t they talking in front of me?”…and they said “Because these are things you are
     not supposed to know“, and I said “Why can’t they tell me?”, and they said “Very
     well… Tonight you are working in the street” and when I heard this I started to cry
     and I said “I am not working in the street… Not with these guys, not with other
     guys…”. And after an Albanian guy came, and started to talk to this “friend” and
     after he came over to me and he said “I bought you, you are mine…”, and after he
     had me in the street for a week and three days, and after I didn’t make money because
     always I didn’t talk because I didn’t want to… And they put me to work in a night-
     club and I worked once in a nightclub and after they robbed me, this man robbed my
     passport… And I had no more passport and could not work in the nightclub... And…
     They kept me in the house for a week because I did not want to go on the street. They
     beat me, they raped me… And after they put me on the street… If I wanted to go to
     them… And I said that I was badly off with this Albanian guy, that he beat me, that
     I preferred to stay with them…and one of these guys worked at Ferrari and one had
     a cousin who was a carabiniere and he said I could go to their place for a while… I
     will get documents… And then report them…
                                                                             (G., Rumania)

     “Why have you done this to us?”. “Because you are two stupid girls, what did you
     think… That you will get help like this… Don’t worry because a lot of girls do this
     work, I’ll take you for a ride and you can see. I also brought you some clothes“. I was
     still a girl, I did not know anything. I wanted to call the girls that some time before
     had worked for him and they had paid back their debt, to get them to tell me what to
     do“. I tried to ask him what he would have done to me if I refused and he told me that
     he had my home number, that he had friends in Moldavia who were watching my
     family , my sister, my nephew and my brother. I had run away, my parents knew noth-
     ing about me and if they hurt them… “I’ll kill myself“, I thought. He had said that
     we were all going to his house, so that he could watch us, two minutes from the Adri-
     atic, a rented apartment and the owner lived on the floor above.
                                                                              (O., Moldavia)

78
                                                                 With no more points of reference
Disorientation and resignation are the most common sentiments on impact with the
new reality and the awareness of what they will have to do.

The emotions are difficult to describe, you feel everything, fear, deceit, a little of
everything because you are scared, you don’t know what to do any more, you don’t
know how things were, basically a thing that they do is that they convince you, and
that in our country the police basically don’t count for anything, at least it was like
that then now I don’t know, and then you believe it, and then seeing all those films
about the Italian Mafia, these things come back to you because you don’t have a great
esteem for the police to tell the truth. They tell you that it’s useless to go to them, then
you find yourself with no documents, alone in a country that you have never seen,
that is, the biggest city I have seen is Tirana, you find yourself in Milan, with all the
streets that are the same and you don’t know where to go.
                                                                              (A., Albania)

Some stories refer to forms of recruitment that took place independently of the entry
into Italy; in particular, a Slovakian girl tells us that she was mysteriously contacted
at the port of Ancona by an Albanian man who little by little demonstrated how well
he knew both her and the sister who had come to Italy three years before…

No,… He said: “All right“, I said: “Excuse me, I’m leaving“, and he says: “Instead
don’t you think that I answered because I want to talk with you, you answered me
because you want to talk to me?“, instead I am a person who when somebody talks
to me I answer, if I see that it’s not some crazy person… That he doesn’t have the big
mouth, we say… He said: “Ah, all right…”.
(Sitting at the bar he insists on talking with her and to know as much as possible about
her life in Italy… She is reticent, she doesn’t want to talk).
Then he sat down, finished drinking and eating and I said: “Excuse me, but I am
going”.
Ah… but! I didn’t think that if I left first, he could follow me… And he followed
me… in a day he knew where I lived, which hotel… And many questions… And for
a day he knew where I lived, what my name was, and at one point he has a false
name… And then… I don’t know which day… Every day I went out and he, when
I went out I didn’t know that he was always waiting for me outside the hotel, in the
middle of the street, sitting inside the car.
(She left the bar first not thinking that he might follow her, as he did in order to find
out where she lived).
At a certain point, I did not look at cars, and I didn’t know… And when I got a little fur-
ther away from the hotel, he came with me, behind me and said, “Hi, how are you…“
And I saw that he was in the car with his friends and I said: “Ah… still here!” and he
said: “Listen… what did I say to you yesterday?... That I can help you!” and I said: “What
do you want?…”; then he asked me: “Listen you know you want to talk to me… I helped

                                                                                               79
               you and now I’ll tell you something else of interest, come today to that coffee shop where
               you come every day in the afternoon at three but before five, I’ll wait for you there.”
               (He keeps following her,calling her,he wants to speak with her and above all he wants
               to help her)
               I looked at him and thought and then said, “all right“. And so I went the next day,
               okay, he only paid for my coffee, we talked and I said: “Excuse me, we met each oth-
               er with this gesture, why don’t you leave me in peace with this gesture?” and he
               explained that he was looking for a girl to live with and I said: “Excuse me, why just
               me? and he said: “There are many things“, I said: “Why many things? Which things?
               Which things are these? , I said: “Why all these things? What are these things?” “First
               thing” he says to me “First thing is that you are foreign, the other… You’re beauti-
               ful and I like you, you’re nice, there are many things”… that were said…lies, that’s
               right, and I said: Yes these things are very nice but I don’t like you, I’m sorry for you,
               and he says: “Ehh… all right”.
               (She goes to the appointment,things are clarified,he confesses that he would like her
               to go and live with him,she tells him that he’s not her type… He leaves,does not fol-
               low her anymore).
               Then I thought “All right…”, and I felt like… Then I said “Enough, here’s somebody
               who is trying to help me, I have no money, I don’t know what to do…”, then I decid-
               ed, I don’t know why, he had given me his cell phone number and said: “You want
               something? You need some money? You don’t have the money to pay for the hotel?
               I can help you…”, and I said “Help…I met you…”.
               Then I was with him for a month or something, then he started, he said to me, listen
               I know your sister, and I pretended like this: “Excuse me, I don’t have a sister, I’m the
               only child” and he says: “Ah… Okay” then he shows me a passport: “Who is this?”
               And I look and say: “I don’t know her, I’ve never seen her before…” But then I saw
               the passport and I was upset…
                                                                                           (A., Slovakia)


The exploiter boyfriend
              The boyfriend - deceiver - exploiter appears in several stories but appears to be char-
              acteristic of girls’experiences a few years ago.

               I knew that to come to Italy, either they kidnapped you or they sold you, I didn’t know
               the guy could say to you “I love you”, at 19 years old, it isn’t that… You don’t believe
               that somebody is false like that to the core, that his behaviour… Meeting his broth-
               ers, going out together you don’t believe it, you say “all right”. He said to me, basi-
               cally now what we have to do: “Either like this, or you wait, I’ll leave you somewhere
               and you can go to Albania when you have the money“. I got scared, I said, I don’t
               know, where will he sell me, where will he dump me, I thought of the Mafia, of a hun-
               dred things. If somebody kills me who would know about it… I still hadn’t called
               home to say… At home they only knew that I had disappeared and nothing else.

   80
   How long were you in Milan? In a hotel?
I stayed in Milan in this hotel for a week. During this week I went out to work right
away, also because I didn’t know what to do any more, he stressed me out, there was
no money… I didn’t know anything, basically he said at that point, you must do this,
because I was afraid that something worse would happen, because I had heard sto-
ries… And then we went to the apartment.
                                                                     (An., Albania)

The methods for convincing the girls are particularly devious and oscillate between
effective blackmail and threat; the initial periods seem to announce a different future
when they enter Italy with their own boyfriend. Then the scene changes quickly. The
proposal is to prostitute themselves but only for a brief time, only to make enough
money so that they can live happily together…

   Did he behave like a boyfriend?
Yes, yes sure he did. He cuddled me, said he loved me, this and that, see how life is
here? As I was saying… we were doing okay here… then his cousin comes too…
comes down… and he knew what he was doing… nice to me, he takes us out to a
restaurant, he brings us pizza to eat and all these things here, they always had mon-
ey, they were, he was rich… he… because he made all this money like this. Who is
living in this world like that… for us too the girls who have done this job… me at
least… that is… the suffering is huge, but the only positive part is that you have
enough money to eat and dress yourself… you make a life… then, we were in Lecce,
two or three happy days spent there, we were doing fine, we went out, we ate, every-
thing, eh… I see his girl who is happy, everything is going fine, I said, finally I have
found a nice place, that is, I was still a little bit afraid then I said “Let’s see for bit, I don’t
believe he’ll do anything awful to me“. Anyway, because from what I had heard, the
girls who had been kidnapped, beaten, those things up till now I hadn’t seen, also
because I had obeyed up until now, it wasn’t that… That is, I didn’t understand that
those girls were beaten because they did not obey, that is… Those things had not hap-
pened to me yet, at least, and so after three or four days they go out and they leave me
alone with A. , he had prepared a little speech and says to me “You know, Italy is beau-
tiful, and everything, but you see, he has a woman upstairs who helps him, you see
that girl of his, she has worked for two years on the street. He started to explain the sit-
uation… And… “I know you feel awful right now, that you are afraid, I’m not going
to hurt you, I’m not going to make you do it, I only want to explain the situation, then
you can decide, and… Doing that job can be heavy, I know, but you earn well, you
see, you have the good life, and then I love you, I love you, so if you do this for me I will
always love you, I know that it is a huge thing that you are going to do for me, and there-
fore I will always treat you like a queen, ehm,… You’ll have everything you need
always, we will have money, we will get a house and… In a short time, you make a
lot of money, and then…”. Anyway he showed me the positive side of the job that was
never… Of a life that never existed in fact, he never told me the other things. At the

                                                                                                       81
             beginning I was shocked, because I suspected this thing a little bit, it was Italy a little
             bit, Seeing too... That is… I was in such a nice situation that his words didn’t hurt,
             because... I don’t know… I don’t remember very well now how the situation was, that
             I didn’t react so badly… Maybe… Because I was a little drunk on the beauty of Italy…
             That I liked it, so that even when he told me those things it didn’t seem like the end of
             the world, because it was something I didn’t know about, and therefore I said “It will
             be nice like he says it is, anyway I’ll have to see“. He said “I’ll give you some time to
             think about it“, in the meantime… And it is difficult to have documents for other
             work… There aren’t any…, Here if you don’t have documents you cannot work,
             therefore the only job you can find without documents is,… But not… He never told
             me that… If you go there, even there you find the police who as soon as they see you
             they send you back to your brothers, (she says this laughing) if only I knew this… That
             is… That I end up back in Albania, because after when I said no, after… I said, because
             I loved him, I didn’t say no right away, but later I said no to him, in the meantime he
             said to me “If you don’t go there…”, no wait… After three or four days he tells me this
             but he doesn’t wait for an answer, he acts in a strange way with me, and I can’t say no,
             because he makes me understand that if I do what he wants, he will be good to me, but
             if I do not obey, he is cold, he does not cuddle me anymore and I am afraid of this bad-
             ness, I needed his affection, his caresses, I had to obey, I couldn’t say no.
                                                                                         (A., Albania)


The role of the Italians
             The involvement of the Italians in the exploitation network appears, from some sto-
             ries, to have a marginal and gregarious character.

             Other times they came with us, but not very often… Other times they got an Italian
             to come, they filled up with gas and came with us… Or else Italians that came to the
             house, for example, who waited to come out with us.
                                                                                   (A., Albania)

             At times however it takes on greater relevance as in the case of E., guest of an elder-
             ly Italian person, who aside from taking her to the workplace, in the place of her
             exploiters, acts as a watchman.

             Then at Desenzano with C. we lived with an old Italian man who put us up and knew
             everything. He was an accomplice who took us to work and kept watch.
                Were you always watched as in the previous experience or…?
             There was a place on the road, at Peschiera, bought by an Albanian who was assigned
             to us and we went to work there (in a manner of speaking because it’s not a job) and
             we were watched by him. That was how I started working…
                With respect to the first three weeks of the first experience, in this phase, having
                contracted a half, were you freer, that is, or were you watched less?

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The girl was always with me, day and night, if she had to go somewhere the old man
was with me, when I wanted to telephone I had to go outside on the balcony because
the house was watched with video cameras and maybe they were watching me even
while I was taking a shower. The house was watched from everywhere.
… But I worked very little, the old man took me to the workplace but I always went
away, home, away with somebody.
                                                                    (E., Rumania)


                                            The relationship between drugs and prostitution
In some cases the link between drugs and prostitution can be seen; a story makes
explicit reference to the drug trafficking by an exploiter who is also a drug addict and
tries to involve the girl.

Yes, then that night , sure, I saw that he wasn’t home, I was afraid for him, I had a
shower right away, ok? And then I go to bed, I’m tired… Without eating… I went
to bed, and then when he came home (normally) in the early hours of the morning,
when… It depends, once he came at two… He was out for five hours not longer
every day and every night, what was happening? Then he came into the room, I don’t
know why… All right,… I was asleep…he had not done anything to me that
night…instead he went to buy drugs and a needle… He came home and because
every time that he came… he used to take everything out of his jacket and put all
the stuff on the table, I could see the cell phone, see drugs, see the needle, see many
things… All the money there, I said “All right, what do I care, excuse me… The
important thing is that he hasn’t hurt me any more…”, and so I stayed there… Like
that… And fell asleep… Asleep right away out of fear…and when I woke up, it was
awful, my stomach, I saw my hand like this… I saw the needle on the floor, I saw all
this blood…
I didn’t know about this, the first time he tried drugs in my vein, ok? Instead he… I said
that I didn’t want drugs anymore… He said to me: “All right, you don’t want to shoot
up your hand with the needle, you smoke hashish, because… Now you are driven by
drugs… And therefore…”, that’s what life was like every day, almost every day…
                                                                          (A., Slovacchia)


                                                                                 Groups of dullards?
Some stories tend to give the organizational structures of the exploitation networks
a different dimension. Is this because,among other things,it depends on the fact that
in some cases the girls have a partial vision of the criminal groups as long as their rela-
tionships are limited to the terminal segments of the trafficking? Or there also exist
a significant number of “do-it-yourself”criminals, as we see from this story?

In Milan after this “Guy” had contacted his friends, we went to a hotel and I slept, I

                                                                                              83
            was very tired after the trip. There in the hotel I saw many girls, many girls with their
            friends.
               In your opinion was the hotel owner part of the organization?
            I cannot say that he was part of the organization. Basically, it’s not that the Albani-
            ans are organized, it’s like they are small businessmen, and therefore it’s every man
            for himself; everyone has his girls, some have five, some have ten, some have just
            one, but in the end they all know each other, because Albania is small for those who
            are in the same business, and there were lots of his friends from the same city. There
            were the girls who worked, and they stole.
                                                                                     (A., Albania)

            In the Rumanian area, we also see a band of gypsies involved.

            I reported those who brought me here from Rumania, the gypsies, because they
            threatened me. They had told me that if I said anything they would kill me. If I had
            stayed with them who knows what would’ve happened to me. The police wanted to
            take me to Milan again to get them all, because they knew that more were arriving,
            but then they only arrested one. After, in Cremona, a friend of mine arrived, anoth-
            er girl, who had left before me, with another guy, but she had run away. She did not
            know anything, they told her that she was beautiful, that she would have made a lot
            of money and she believed them. They took her into the street and they wanted to
            take me too. It really scared me, I did not want to go on the street. Because, from
            what I understood, it was even worse on the street. They only arrested those who
            brought me here because those who had kept me in the apartment had never threat-
            ened me.
                                                                                  (A., Rumania)


Or structured and efficient organizations?
            Different stories tend in fact to show us the ramifications and the danger of these net-
            works involved in the traffic of weapons and drugs.There is also a significant increase
            in the number of women on the inside of the criminal organizations.

               Other than the girls, do they deal in other types of trade?
            Weapons and drugs, weapons that they get from Albania, from Turkey. It’s all the
            chain: when you’re inside it it’s not easy to get out. For example I know that in Bari
            they had very solid contacts because they stole cars that they embarked in Albania.
            They transported drugs, with the rubber boats and weapons arrived that they then
            sold. But drugs in large quantities. They were in contact with couriers, but on a large-
            scale. There in Bari, I got really scared, I saw frightening things, that it’s better not to
            talk about. Corruption and then the women are worse, those that are in the same posi-
            tion as the men. They point a gun at your head and you can’t say a word otherwise
            you are dead… I saw many terrible things. Now I’m out of it and I’m proud. In fact I

  84
didn’t even want to come because I blocked out a lot and after 10 years talking about
these things is really hard. Sometimes I think about it but now I’m out of it, since a
long time, and I’m out of it with my head held high, and who knows me knows it.
                                                                       (M., Albania)

There was also a girl that was always with me, that evidently was watching me
because then they showed that the knew things that I have told her…

I got up at five on the Saturday, calmly, and I realized that everything I had of value
had disappeared, gold, silver, money. I had made a list of the things, to divide them
half-and-half, but it wasn’t a lot because I did not work very much… C. woke up
and said that she had taken them because they were her things because she had left
some condoms and they weren’t there anymore, meaning in her opinion that I had
worked and spent the money to buy things, computer… In reality I had some clients
who brought me gifts, I had spoken about myself and my sister to one of them and
told him that I wanted a computer and the day after he brought me one. So I began
to really fight with her. She told me that she would give me black eyes and would
have me sent back to Rumania where I had come from.
We fought, she tore up all the phone numbers of “All your lovers, because you are so
good and beautiful that they give you gifts“.
                                                                       (E., Romania)


                                                                  Impossible to be independent
Some girls who arrive autonomously in Italy and try to prostitute themselves on their
own are soon reduced to slavery by protectors who contact them by pretending to be
clients.

No it was this, he went to screw her and bought her head, her mentality: “Where do
you come from? How long have you been in Italy? Who is responsible for you ?… And
so on and so on… When they took her he didn’t go because Al. would not go a sec-
ond time in the car. Because he said “I’m Albanian” when he went to screw her… So
she wouldn’t go another time… She did not tell me, because the first time he was
with me he was good… He spoke Italian well… He asked me: “How much? And he
gave me more… And with me to the same thing: “Where are you from… Who are
you with“, but I did not say a lot. The second night he said to me: “Let’s go to a hotel”
and I saw that he never stopped, kept going straight, no house, and I said: “Where
are you taking me?”, and he said “I’m Albanian…”. When I heard that… aieee…
I opened the door to get out of the car, he said to me “Where are you going?”, I said
“Stop the car or I get out” and he said to me: “I’m getting my gun and killing you…
Ohhhhh!”. When I heard that, I close the door right away…
                                                                        (C., Rumania)


                                                                                            85
     Some stories on the other hand show us episodes of real abduction to corner or grab
     a girl from another band, in situations in which relationships of strength and territo-
     rial control appear not to be well defined.

     One evening I was working in Vicenza near a carabiniere barracks, I lived near there,
     a car stopped and inside was an Albanian, who dragged me into the car, with him
     were two other guys. He asked me who I worked for and I said nobody, that I worked
     for myself. He didn’t believe me. He asked me for whom I worked for and I told him
     for nobody and he kept on insisting, and started to punch me in the head, insisting
     and I answered for nobody and he went on punching me with his rings on my head,
     but I didn’t work for anybody, I was telling the truth. At a certain point he pulled out
     a gun and he put it in my mouth, I was telling the truth. At that point his friends cut
     in and they told him to stop. He stopped and he took me to Padua to an apartment
     on the first floor, he sent me into a room. I fell asleep. When I woke up I saw the win-
     dow open and escaped. I only had on a long top, I had no shoes and I started to run
     without looking back. I stopped a car and told the driver to take me to Vicenza. He
     asked where, but I did not know, then he took me to a bar in the province of Padua.
     They called the police and they took me to the station. The woman in the bar gave
     me a pair of shoes. In the station I told my story, the truth and they took me to a com-
     munity of nuns in Padua.
                                                                              (M., Bulgaria)

     Intermediaries are called to keep the girls in check, sometimes living with them in
     apartments, a Rumanian girl defines them as the “fish“.

     There was a little house and there was also his brother and another two men who were
     also their brothers and then I found out that they were all “Fish”, because this is the
     term that you use: fish, and therefore everybody lived in that house and they had some
     girls and there he started to tell me what he did, what his job was and what I was
     supposed to do…
     But when I saw that there were four men in the house I said “I’m leaving tonight“,
     Because that job I had never done it and didn’t know what it was like and anyway
     being with four Rumanians in the house I can tell you it is a terrible thing. They are
     brutal our men, especially when they act as certain way with something that belongs
     to them or when they take you with force, the Rumanians are animals.
                                                                              (E. Rumania)




86
                                                                   Involvement and the protector
There is no lack of stories about ambivalence where the exploiters are concerned, in
some cases the girls will do everything to get them out of jail,except them repenting.

Then I paid a lot of money to get him out of jail; you just have to have money and the
lawyer will do everything. They sentenced him, but they gave him home arrest. At
police headquarters, and they also wanted my signature, but I didn’t give it to them
because I was afraid of threats toward my little sister. If I had had someone to pro-
tect me, for example my father, I would’ve given it.
But at the police headquarters they did not propose protection. They proposed get-
ting documents, but in that moment I didn’t need documents, I needed my head and
that of my sister. These things happened: a year ago they killed my cousin who was
21 years old.
She loved the guy and he also wanted her to come to Italy. She didn’t want to; maybe
at the beginning she had accepted, but then maybe she changed her mind. She knew
she was going to die, because before she died she left a letter. She kissed all her friends
who shared the room with her.
They made it look like a car crash. I was at her funeral too.
I spent the last 3 1/2 years in Albania. With a father who always called me “slut”.
When he got out of prison and had house arrest I went back to Albania because I could-
n’t take him any more.
                                                                           (M., Albania)

In some cases the term protector-gentlemen could be appropriate? After the story of
the girl who never hid her consensual agreement and the caring attention she had
from her protector in this case,the protector is seen as the one who protects you from
danger in a foreign country. And one who reports the people who take money from
the prostitution racket after a dragnet.

They said first do for yourself then when… I said I need money for myself, if I make
money I’ll pay you everything, I’ll pay you the documents, I’ll pay the whole lot…
They told me there was no need to pay anything. And I didn’t pay anything, the doc-
uments, and after we went half-and-half even though I did the shopping he didn’t do
anything, and when I was spending he didn’t take very much from me. When I
brought, also because I needed to bring it anyway because I couldn’t leave it at my
house otherwise if I could have I would have left it at my house because I didn’t
know… Today they take you, tomorrow they take your money too. The police always
take your money, and I was obliged to give the money to somebody . And we went
half-and-half.
   Then from what you got you subtracted the expenses, and then of what remained
   you divided in half?
Yes, if we did because when I didn’t work I didn’t give anything. It was not a forced
thing that we went half-and-half. When I worked I gave, when I didn’t I didn’t… I

                                                                                              87
     wanted to say that they also sent money home to my house. They paid for my sister’s
     wedding; they also helped my parents a lot. Not that I did much, I did not know how
     to work… First, for me they did… I said the documents; they paid the journey for me.
        Did the money get to your family?
     Yes, the money got there because they set up house, fixed it up. They bought a few
     things, some land too, they paid off some of what they had to pay off. They did some
     things that needed to be done. My sister too, for five years they could not get mar-
     ried and when I came here, she got married, I didn’t go, but they sent money.
                                                                           (N., Rumania)




88
                             8. The prostitution experience

The initiation is often brutal and fast: the girls find themselves traumatically cata-
pulted into a new life, receiving brief instructions on how to behave in a new profes-
sion, often given notes with ritual fixed phrases.

They told me 30 €, 50 totally naked, in a hotel € 150.
I was young, it was normal that I made a lot of money, everybody came to me. The
cars waited for me. I cried “No, it hurts, it hurts ”. Them, those girls said, “No, go on,
go on, you see how much money you make“.
   And the clients didn’t see that you were suffering, feeling bad and crying?
Yes, one helped me, an Italian boy helped me, he said: “Why are you here?” He even
knew a little Rumanian because he had Rumanian friends, he said to me: “Go on tell
me, Gatto, (in Rumanian) go on tell me why you are here, because you’re young, go
on tell me, what is your name?”. “Cristina“. “How old are you?”. “17“. “My God .
Do you want to call the police?”. “No, they beat me, they beat me“.
   Were you afraid of the police?
Yes, because all the girls said that the police lock you up.
                                                                          (E., Rumania)

The first night he took us there we were there for two hours; I didn’t even know what
I was supposed to say, I didn’t know anything. I didn’t understand what they were
saying to me; we had these pieces of paper in our hands but … I was too angry with
myself. I made a mistake, I thought, and I must pay. He was hiding behind the gas
station, that was closed, there were chains. After an hour or he came out furious
because I was not talking to those who stopped but I just couldn’t do It. Me who had
always tried to do things well, I studied…he had taken me for an idiot, like an object
to put here or there. He had said to me that if I didn’t collaborate he could even sell
me, that he could even make money on me. I felt like a machine for making money
and he told me that they were Albanians who could also hit me, that he didn’t think
he could hit me, but other people could. I had started to be afraid that he would kill
me, I didn’t even have documents and so I decided to read the little slips of paper. A
guy stopped who understood that this was the first time for me and I didn’t under-
stand anything, he came back a lot of other times, he told me that he what he’d seen
on my face was indescribable pain. I got into the car, I didn’t do anything with him,
he had paid me but I didn’t understand anything. You had to stay in the car for sev-
en minutes, I read a phrase to say that I was Moldavian! He paid me the same and he
made a sign that he would come back.
                                                                        (O., Moldavia)



                                                                                             89
Systematic violence
           The stories of extreme violence, as seen previously are particularly, although not
           exclusively, related to experiences of some years ago with the Albanians.

           Once he stabbed me in the thigh, I still have a scar, it was terrible, if he could have he
           would kill you Then he always hit me behind the knees, in the same place and in fact
           I still have problems, I can’t move them very well…
           Once he even fired at me, but he didn’t get me, it passed nearby. They took me to a
           place near a bridge, it was all dark, I don’t know what I had done that time. He had
           a gun with him and his older brother stopped him. He kept the gun in the freezer. I
           had no idea… He shot at me but didn’t get me. I was really very scared, for myself.
           Usually I was afraid for my parents, for my brother… With the clients I wasn’t afraid,
           it all disgusted me, I stayed under the shower for hours and hours, but I wasn’t
           afraid… The month after, they killed his brother in Albania, in a really brutal way.
           It was the nun from down there who told me, who called me to tell me purposely. And
           the TV here talked about it too. I felt really liberated, it is not a nice thought when
           somebody dies, but I couldn’t take it anymore, it was really a liberation.
                                                                                        (E.,Albania)

           The absolute possession and merchandising of a person, becoming the object of
           another person, through a mixture of tenderness and brutality, is quite clear in the
           story of an Albanian girl.

           He controlled my every single word and then he gave me a… He used this way to
           make me understand I had to obey, I wasn’t to say things that he didn’t like, he had
           this way of cuddling me then hitting me, cuddling me and then hitting me again…
           reprimanding me… Yelling at me to learn… Everything that I did I was… I had to
           do what he told me. When I felt bad, wounded, he cuddled me until I wasn’t mad any-
           more, then he started again, that was his way of doing things and therefore I became
           his “prona”, by now I was his “prona“, his thing…
                                                                                  (A., Albania)

           Situation that appears to have no exits.

           There I started to cry, I felt the world crumbling on top of me when… When I told him
           no and he hit me, and then I understood everything after, what kind of asshole he
           was, and he told me: “If you don’t go there” and then he hit me, he went outside and
           he left me alone, I began to cry and I felt awful, really bad, betrayed, humiliated, real-
           ly really bad. After he said to me: “tomorrow you can go back to your brothers“... That
           is… He didn’t ask me again, right away he gave me… He gave me… He condemned
           me right away, he told me, go back home. I said to him: “How can I go back home,
           you know that I can’t go home, my brothers would kill me“. “I don’t give a damn”
           he said, I came here to make money I didn’t come here to play, I told you to go out

  90
there, I explained how things were, you don’t want to go… Then why stay here? If
you don’t go out there, what are you doing here, what are we doing here, eating off
my cousin? He’s already been keeping us for a month, he can’t always keep us here,
if you don’t want to work out there you can’t stay here…go back to your mother, I’m
going somewhere else, I’m making money and then in a year or two if I still remem-
ber you, I come ?”…Ehm… No… He didn’t say “If I remember“, but he said “Maybe
in two years… I might come… We can be together“. So with this serious cold man-
ner I told him: “But I can’t go back there“, “Then what do you want to do? You want
to do what I told you? Or do you want to go back to…”. This was blackmail… In that
moment when he said that, he… That is… When he got up and got my shoes and
said: “Come on, get your shoes on and go out now…”.
                                                                       (A., Albania)

In some cases the stories recount the family’s complicity.

He threatened me, he gave me a slap, I started to cry.
I said to him: “Kill me then.” I put on my shoes and said: “Let’s go“.
We went there, it was really dark, he didn’t kill me, but he hit me brutally, it would’ve
been better if he had killed me.
From that day there was nothing to be done.
I called my father and he said: “Do what he tells you to do“.
For me, my father knew everything; I didn’t tell him about it, I thought. There are
many things that they made me think.
I said to my father that he wanted me to go onto the street to get money going with
men and he said to me: “Do what he tells you to do.”
My mother knows everything, but could not do anything.
I was not married to this guy, but in Albania if you live with someone it is like being
married. The papers don’t count.
After Turin I got to know other girls. After he hit me, he took me home. He hit me with
blows, kicks when I saw myself in the morning I was all swollen. I thought that they
had put a curse on me.
There was nothing I could do, I didn’t know anyone, I was afraid and then I started to
work.
I had no documents, a false Yugoslavian passport. We took a house together, me,
him and another couple.
This girl, beautiful, had come to her aunt’s with her daughter. Someone saw her, they
liked her and they took her. A terrible thing. The took her, they got her in the car, they
kept her tied on a bed for two weeks: to eat they gave her only a glass of milk and
before she drank it they spat into it.
All the Albanians that were there did this. Later I discovered that they were all a Mafia
from Valona. Two are dead, one is in prison. They trafficked in everything, girls, drugs,
weapons. My boyfriend was part of this organization.
Later we took a house with another couple. They took me to the police headquarters;

                                                                                             91
            I was crying, I told the truth, but he said that I was his wife, even though I was still
            young. The police never protected me.
            The first time, when I was in a hotel with him, they caught us and took us to the police
            headquarters; I told the truth, crying, but he said that I was his wife and the police did
            nothing. I wanted them to understand that I was really young and did not want to be
            with him!!! Then we went back to the hotel.
                                                                                       (M., Albania)


On the street at 11 years old
            The precocity of some experiences is extremely perplexing: how is it possible that
            young girls of 12 or 13 years old can be on the street for so long without clients or
            police intervening? In the background, a degenerating family situation.

            And nothing. What can I tell you , it was a terrible life. We grew up alone, all three of
            us… Even when we had nothing to eat, we sacrificed many things. Even when our
            aunts gave us something, because every once in awhile they gave something, a coin,
            some change, to the kids, we put them aside so that we could buy milk for our sisters
            and things she needed.
                Therefore you were responsible for the youngest child…one
            Yes, yes. We were responsible for the youngest because we were so much older (she
            laughs ironically) one was five or six years old and another seven or eight years, all
            little. And he never came (she is referring to the father,the mother is dead) home and
            when he came back he made trouble, because either he was drinking or he had no
            money, I don‘t know what he did… when I told him that we needed money because
            I needed to buy an exercise book or something, often he would hit us. Or when once,
            the day he got his pension, he gets it the first day of the month. When he came back,
            the day after, when he came home I asked him for money, because that day he did-
            n’t come back because naturally he had money and didn’t come home, the day after
            I asked him for 200 of our Lec…, not 200 but 10, which would be 300, 400 Lira,
            nothing, he gave me a smack because I said: “Give me some money because I have
            to go and buy a kilo of tomatoes“.,
                He hit you for this?
            Yes, yes. There I started to hate him because he was never around, I was always alone.
            My sister when she wasn’t well, we didn’t know what to do…she was in bed with fever
            and I cried because I didn’t know what to do. We were all little. I started to hate him
            more and more. Also because I knew that my mother had died because she’d had four
            children and after was pregnant with another and did not know how to support him.
            My mother knew that he always went with other women, or every so often he drank
            or hit her or didn’t let her go to work because he thought that at work there were men,
            and he was afraid that she was doing something. Instead he ruined her life: more and
            more I think she died for this reason.
                Because she was pregnant and it went wrong…

  92
Because he mistreated her and she had a terrible life, poor thing. She went to work
and did the night shift, or the morning, or she worked all day, came home, and he
never brought anything and he spent the money from work . On the contrary, he asked
her for money. She had to keep for daughters and was pregnant… My mother was
never free, she was always pregnant, poor thing (she laughs) , nothing, she wanted
to leave him but she didn’t It because she had four daughters. There it was a shame
and she didn’t leave him. I think she died because of this thing of not wanting to keep
the baby and went to get an abortion because she had four daughters that she didn’t
know how to keep, and then she knew that this baby wouldn’t have had anything.
Already she had four that sometimes ate, and sometimes the grandparents or sisters
gave them something, and how? Could she have another one? and nothing else! She
was far along when she aborted, already five months and she died. She shouldn’t
have aborted. She went to do it in a house not in the hospital. There are people who
do it in houses. There it’s done secretly because otherwise they’d go to jail.
   In this situation the only alternative seems to be to accept the proposal to come to
   Italy to work even at 11 years old.
I don’t remember, I was really young and I didn’t know where I was. I knew that I was
coming to Italy but not where. But all this hadn’t come out yet, people didn’t know,
really nothing. Maybe a little bit but it wasn’t so developed, it was rare to hear any-
thing. This was in 97, at the end of 1997. I went to Florence and his friend saw me.
I was really young and he could see that… And he said: “How do I keep this young
girl at home”, he was afraid. Then we left and went to Turin. There a girl was waiting
for us and she took care of me. She looked after me in the sense that she taught me
the things to do. Then I went to Asti at the beginning in the province of Turin. There
this girl was waiting in the station and she took us in the car to her house, and noth-
ing, there I saw strange things. I saw all these girls. There was this girl and there was
that other girl, or a friend came to visit her, or to work together, and sleep at her house
because it was closer. I saw these things but I didn’t understand anything.
   Why? Because he told you: “ we work in a normal place”
Yes, he told me at the beginning that we were going to his sister, and then he worked,
and then after a while I started to work too. His sister helped us and helped us to get
documents because she was married and had been in Italy a long time. Nothing, there
was no sister and no nothing. When I went there I said: “Wasn’t I supposed to go to
your sister, who is this“. And he said: “that’s right, now, but… she found — he said
— some stupid thing”. After a while he told me to go and buy clothes and the girl
came with me. He didn’t tell me to go into the street. All right. He gave me money
and I went. I bought all sporty stuff. Sports pants, sports shoes… I spent all the
money on sports stuff. Then I went to a store and there were clothes for the work the
girls did. The girl (who went with her) said to me: “choose something from this stuff”
because I was starting to work in a place and she would have showed it to me after.
Nothing, she said: “Get one of these things here in case we go out to a discotheque”
and nothing. I saw these clothes and said: ”Where am I going to go with these
clothes?” I was 11 years old but I was mentally older than 11. I said: “But where do

                                                                                              93
           I go with these clothes. The ones I bought will do“. Nothing, I got this I got that, I got
           something but I don’t remember. I got some pants and went home. With the mon-
           ey I was supposed to buy all those clothes and instead I bought sporty stuff. I went
           home and he saw me and he said: “Hi sweetheart, what did you buy, show me.” I
           pulled all the sporty things out of the bag and he started to hit me that day because I
           had spent all this money and I hadn’t bought what I was supposed to buy for him…
           I went home and he hit me a lot, for my swollen ear I ended up in hospital, it was real-
           ly bad and at the end he said, I’m going to kill you, nobody will know here. Nobody
           will know because nobody knows where you went. Nobody knew. Not even my sis-
           ters. Only his father knew , because the father had a woman who worked for him and
           they got us false passports. They lent us the car because they had given us the mon-
           ey to come. The only one who knew was him but nobody else. Anyway he beat me to
           convince me to go to work, at the end I was in a really bad way, I got out of the hos-
           pital and was bad, my body all black. People looked at me because I was crying. After
           a little while, after two weeks he wanted to kill me because I had lost the money, the
           money to come here, his father had left us the car and after a month took it back. He
           said: “or go to work in the street and will be together and make money more quick-
           ly“. I said: “No I want to go back to Albania“. And nothing, I had to make the money
           spent for coming here…After a friend of his came with another girl and they saw me
           all swollen, swollen eyes, swollen back: he wanted me to go to work and they said:
           “Buy where can you take her, she’s all black“. Nothing, after I started because I had
           no other choice. “Okay — I said — you tricked me, you brought me here to work,
           okay I’ll give you back the money you spent to bring me here and then I’m going back
           to Albania. Okay“. After I worked for a while and I made a bit of money. After in the
           house there were a lot of us and we had to leave and so we went to Turin.
                                                                                      (E., Albania)


The new shoes
           Just as dramatic and precocious is the experience of the Bulgarian girl who voluntar-
           ily begins to prostitute herself at a very early age in her own country then arrives in
           Italy later.

           Eh yes. Since my father left my mother couldn’t say anything, I did what I wanted
           because anyway a woman isn’t able to …
              Keep you?
           (She laughs) To keep me, that’s how it all started. Then I got to age eleven, I went to
           school, at school I got to know a friend of mine, no, a girl who went to school with me.
           Older than me who did this job, ok? And I asked her “How come you have all this mon-
           ey, all these clothes and so on and so on…”, I was young, ok? And she says, “It’s not
           for you, it’s not for you, you’re young” and so on and so on… “Go on, tell me, tell me
           how you get all these things?”. (She smiled) She said, : “I do this and this…“, she
           didn’t say “I’m a prostitute…”,she almost said it.

  94
    She made you understand that.
Yes. Then some time passed and I was fighting with my mother because she didn‘t
want to buy me some shoes. It started with these shoes. I was fighting because I said:
“You… you give money to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and you don’t want to buy me the
shoes I need for school, to play such and such…” “It’s not true, I don’t have enough
money, ask your father, he’ll give it to you”. I went to ask my father: “Papa, can you
buy me these shoes?”. ”Ask your mother, this month I paid the… how do you say?…
    The alimony!
Yes, yes. It was like that, back-and-forth and at the end I got mad and so I said “look,
I’ll earn the money myself“. I left the house, I met that girl, I went to the girl’s house
and there I said “Look I need some money, can you do something for me?”. She said:
“all right“. I was a virgin. (Silence).
But I shouldn’t have said “alone” because it was dangerous. Then they had told me
(she laughs). Then nothing, I got to know… The police stopped me, the day after;
practically speaking, I went there, I did a client, and then I left. Understand? (I nod).
I did one and then I left, it was enough money. The day after, I finished school, throw
my knapsack in the garden, take the bus and go back. There was… The police were
doing checks… All young understand. “You?” “Me nothing“. “Are you working?”
“No”. “Ah no?!” I remember… They sat down to talk: “But how old are you?”
“Eleven”. “What are you doing out here?” And so on and so on. “We’re taking you to
the police station”. I said: “Don’t take me, there’s my uncle there, understand?”. I
had an uncle who worked with the police and I said: “Don’t take me there, please
don’t take me there, don’t take me there”. “Eh…And what will you give me”? And
stupid me says to him “What do I give you?… What can I give you? I can’t give you
anything else”. And we went to do it … (she speaks very quietly)… too, there were
two of them.
Nothing, from there I… I took up with her… My friend no? Her name is V. (she did-
n’t want to say her name). I said “We are young, we are pretty”, I said “But forget
about that one there, let’s do it alone”. Let’s do it alone… let’s do it alone… I ran
away from home, she came with me and we went to the sea.
    In another city?
Yes, at the sea, 350 km from home. We went to one of her clients who has a business,
had a clothing business… The things… He paid everything at the seaside, he got
us an apartment there, he bought us cigarettes, the money to eat… At the same time
he had a wife and children (laughs) and he came to see us every once in a while there.
They made me… My father had started looking for me, ok?… He went to the police,
he reported that I had run away from home, he made… What do you call it?

My father? (I nod). Yes, yes. He was living in a rented place as he wasn’t from my
town, it was 120 km from my town… He didn’t know that I was working, under-
stand? He thought that I had disappeared. “Where have you been?”. “At the sea-
side“. “With who? And money?”. I didn’t answer about the money, I didn’t tell him
anything. Then the episode was over. Another two weeks passed, I went to work, it

                                                                                             95
     wasn’t understood right away, it was dark, not dark, I said… At the end you get to
     be without scruples. (Long silence) I go to work with a skirt, with a little dress, I took
     two condoms, I remember, in my hand and I started to talk to a gypsy on a bench there.
     The bus passes, I look at the bus and who do I see that my father behind the door at
     the back (she laughs), he passes and does like this… (a gesture in her direction) I
     don’t know, I felt really awful, I said, now what do I do, where do I hide myself. V.
     Was also there getting out of the car, and I said: “V., my father, run!”. And we ran…
     And my father was running after us, screaming “Whore, slut“. We hid inside the build-
     ing on the top floor, I was shaking like anything, my father wandered there all night,
     all night he walked around, we couldn’t leave the building (she keeps laughing as she
     tells the story). After I didn’t want to hear what he had to say because poor me. Some
     time passed and I made peace with him. However nothing… I continued to work
     with V..

     I ran away from home and I went with V. to live in the bungalow, it’s right at the end
     of our… Now at first there was this camping place in town and there are bungalows
     and we took a bungalow and moved there. We went to work at the station every once
     in a while, the rest of the time we had fun. I stopped going to school... And so on and
     so on. However we started to get to know some people. Among these people there
     was a girl who had worked in Greece, 28 years old, I remember she was 28 and went
     to work in Greece and said: “It’s really beautiful in Greece, you can make a lot of mon-
     ey” and so on and so on, okay and so right away I say “Then let’s go to Greece“. V.’s
     mother had a health problem and she went to her town to see her, and I spoke to those
     people from Greece and said: “Okay then, let’s go“. “Then you leave first, I’ll come
     afterward… You can go with my friend, don’t worry we will meet you there“. And
     she introduced me to this other guy. And from there I went to Greece.
        WithV. or without?
     Without, without. V. At the same time she had gone back home, she saw her cousin…
     Basically, her story is very complicated, 10 people and first of all her cousin raped her
     and this is how she lost her virginity . The same cousin, when I left for Greece, made
     her leave for Germany. Basically, we were separated then. Nothing… I left with that
     guy that this girl introduced me to, and we arrived in a city near Greece, and we wait-
     ed for another guy, basically they were going to sell me,… He sold me for I don’t
     know how much money to this guy there, then this guy sold me to another guy. I was
     with him for a week when I went to Greece because we were always on foot.
        Were they Bulgarian?
     Yes, yes they were Bulgarian. Basically we had to go on foot: Bulgaria — Macedo-
     nia, Macedonia, Greece. There were eight people on foot going from Bulgaria to
     Macedonia through the woods… It was a mess, a real mess. We went from Mace-
     donia to Greece the day after because you cannot do it all in the day, and there were
     two hours of normal road.
        Were you alone or with other girls?
      When we arrived in the city that I was telling you about near the customs there were

96
two other girls but they had been forced into it. They said: “Don’t scare the girls
because they’re calm now“. Anyway, I still couldn’t believe that they had sold me for
… From there I went to Greece, the first time they caught us… There is nothing in
Greece, there is nothing,… At the end of the road… The road ends and there is an
old man with a rifle… I pissed myself. Really bad. Basically there is nothing… We
weren’t able to pass.
   But this was a policeman, a customs official...
Yes, yes, one of those watchmen… Watching the area, but apart from the area he
was watching who tried to pass. He shot at me and it passed like… It passed me (she
shows the shot passing nearby) I was pissing myself (quietly). I was really scared and
they took me to the customs and made me go back to Macedonia. From there it was
a mess, they got a car in the same night 12 or 13 more people tried to enter. It was
full. I called the police in… in Macedonia, to come and get me (she coughs), to come
and get me to take us to Bulgaria. But these two types come not in a squad car but in
one of those paddy wagons and they put us all in it, in the back with no air holes, noth-
ing, there were 14 of us.
Basically, just the one girl… me, the young girl in the back, we stopped to get water
and they saw that I was in a bad way. They said: “Ah, you come, you come, you come
up here with us.”

We all slept in the owner’s house. He had a house 10 km out of the city. He gave us
money, he gave me money…, he didn’t give me the money I earned with my servic-
es , because he said: “you know that you have to pay…”, and so on and so on, he gave
me money for what they consumed that was practically nothing, just enough for…
You couldn’t even buy clothes with it. I had no clothes. With this money I was able to
buy cigarettes and the phone card for calling home. I couldn’t buy anything else.
   If you didn’t want to work, somebody hit you and you could do nothing about it?
You couldn’t avoid working, understand. Even if you felt sick, you had to go to work
just the same. I don’t know, they didn’t hit me, but I saw a girl hit and the reason was
that she went out with her boyfriend and he hit her for this, because he didn’t want
us to go out with the clients. Nothing, even the owner came and said «who do I choose
today? Let me see. Eeny meeny miny mo, today you».

Then my aunt and my mother arrived, they got my documents and so on and so on
and I returned to Bulgaria. After two or three weeks the gypsies grab me and take me
to a city 50 miles away. That morning they grabbed me near my house.

So, the day after they bring another two people, one was a friend of theirs and one
was not. And I spoke to that one and said “Please, please help me”. “But you’re sick”.
I was all… (she makes a sign…)
   Thin?
And then I had bruises all over here. And I said: “Can you call the police?” And stu-
pid me because I said can you call the police and not my home. That guy said: “I’ll

                                                                                            97
     call them later so they don’t know it’s me“, and I said “Thank you, I thank you, I thank
     you with all my heart“. The carabinieri arrived that night and knock on the door, I was
     eating and they came up. They knock and come in and…”Good evening, my
     friend…”. And so on and so on, what the hell are you doing here?” “There was a call
     that you had a kidnapped girl here“. “Oh but she is here, this one here. But did you
     call?”. “I did not call“. “A man called, a certain…”
         And they said the name.
     (She nods) And here come the punches, damn it (she swears and laughs) he… “Now
     you’ll learn not to talk, now you’ll learn not to talk”. Nothing, and they left, the day
     after I was really in a bad way, I was on the balcony and there was the woman on the
     floor below, a gypsy, I said: “Do you have a cigarette?”. “Yes. Did they kidnap you?…
     Wait and I’ll give you a hand, there’s my son and so on and so. Do you have some
     blankets?” I said: “Let me see“. I went upstairs where there were some drawers , I
     went up and had a look and I found the bed sheets, I had her keep the sheets on the
     second floor because I was on the third floor. “Come down here and then wait a while
     till things calm down and then go“. There were all these buildings and you can’t climb
     out with the people seeing you, you have to wait till evening, so we wait till evening,
     we wait til they all go, she said, Wait till nine-thirty.” The woman was a gypsy, under-
     stand, around 50, 60 years old, she said: “I’m sorry“, I could hear the screaming
     upstairs. She asked me: “But what did they do to you?”. “What do you think they did
     to me?” “But you are just a child”. After that evening we tied the sheets to the bal-
     cony, her son was there holding them… And I went down. I waited two hours because
     fortunately one didn’t come, and I was able to get out of there and go home. I was
     afraid to go home, and in a flash I looked to see if it was all clear and there were no
     cars coming, nothing was coming. I arrived all stressed out and crying, I arrived at
     home and my mother said: “But what have they done to you…” And so on and so on
     and I told my mother because I always told everything.

      At the end, you know what the problem is? That you can’t get out of it because once
     they know your name…
        They go looking for you.
     Apart from the fact that they go looking for you, but the place was full of people who
     do nothing from morning till night except rob some girl and earn money off her, you
     couldn’t not continue, you couldn’t say no. Once you said it you couldn’t let it go. It’s
     very complicated.
     “How can I give back your money?”. “You work then you give me back my money,
     otherwise you know what we do, I spent all this money for you, I spent two million“.
     I said: “Two million, you didn’t spend that for me. There are four of us and I have to
     pay for them as well and you say that. I said that I can work and I’ll give you some-
     thing, but I didn’t understand that if things went wrong for you that I had to pay.” So,
     I worked a little at the station and I gave him three hundred thousand lira. . Then
     there was a time when I wasn’t well, when my ovaries hurt and I needed to go to hos-
     pital. However, I never loved him, I was always hurt, understand. I was in the hos-

98
pital for three weeks. From there, I got out.
   What did they tell you, what was wrong with you?
Nothing, my ovaries… They were talking and saying that I was too young to be doing
this kind of job, my left ovaries still hurts, yes. Half ruined, half ruined but it’s impos-
sible to… quit.
I was there one or two weeks at home and then I continued to work at home. After
they found me again… They did it in front of my house, I didn’t think that they would
come and look for me, one of them said: “You know before there were two men who
were looking for you” and I thought: “But what have I done?”. “I don’t know, the
police also came by.” “What do you mean the police?” I really… This happened a
month later. I didn’t know… They found me, they took me, they tied me up…in our
city there is an apple orchard…

Yes, I always intended to quit when I realized that this life was terrible, really dis-
gusting, you saw everything, you saw fake money, fake documents, the people, the
drugs that are right in front of you, another world… It’s another world. However, I
stopped for a while. After that I had no boyfriend, there was a guy that I went out with,
a mafioso from my city, who got me pregnant, the condom broke and I got pregnant
and I didn’t want to have an abortion. And he said “Have the abortion“.
   He wanted you to have an abortion?
He wanted me to, yes, but his friends, no. Because they said: “What are you going to
do if something happens to you, how to survive, your girlfriend has to keep prosti-
tuting herself “. His friends told him this, he listened to his friends… Nothing, then
he said: “Have the abortion“, I said “I’m not going to have the abortion“. “No, you
have to have the abortion, I’ll find you… I’ll put you in…” “No, I’m not going to do
it“. And I was covered for a while, I was pregnant. I worked just the same, I worked
while I was pregnant, up to the eighth month. Because I still had no money, and I did-
n’t ask my mother for anything.

Yes we went out together. In the end he was in love but I wasn’t… I didn’t feel… I
had no feelings, I had no feelings, what could I do, I don’t know. I didn’t feel anything,
I said “It’s not possible, they’re all the same” I said. So, from there I was at home for
three months to feed V. (she says the name of her daughter in a very loud voice) . I
was feeding her, then seeing that the situation was critical because my aunt sent me
Pampers but we had to buy the milk and there was no money, I went to work again.
I registered at an employment center, but there was no work, nothing… I went to
work again, and what I earned got milk for V. But I said, a person can’t live like this
and I saw a friend of mine who said “You know, we have some friends, we have friends
in Italy that… Who can give us a hand if you want to go there to work and make lots
of money“. “It can be done - I said - I don’t have a boyfriend anymore and I know you,
I trust you little“. I really didn’t trust her and didn’t think that… They explained to
me: “In Italy, in Pescara…a beautiful city on the sea - she explained - you work
through newspaper ads, you make money, Lit 150.000 is the rate“. And I said “But

                                                                                               99
             how much is 150.000 lira worth?” (she laughs) I didn’t know and anyway we talked
             for four months before I departed.
                With this girl?
             Yes. I talked with her and she introduced me to some friend of hers who were there,
             they were twins… They explained to me: “It’s really easy, it’s cool, there are no police
             bothering you, there are no checks. There was a girl there — she was his girlfriend
             — who worked and earned a lot of money, she was doing well“. You go half-and-
             half with the money. Basically they divide the expenses and the rest is half-and-half.
                The proposal was to work in an apartment then?
             With newspaper ads, yes, yes. It was like that. Basically, I made an agreement with
             my friend that I would go and she would come after, when I had made a bit of mon-
             ey, so that she could come and bring another girl…So we departed again, we left at
             five… On the third of October 99. I left for Italy the third of October, I left at five, we
             left the parents of these twins, with one of them, one stayed here and another was
             with me. The parents knew everything and we pretended that we were a couple.
                Did you go by car?
             Yes, yes, by car: me, him, his mother and his father.
                And which way did you go?
             From Croatia, we slept there one night. The day after, the one who was taking us out
             of Croatia was waiting for us. He could hardly walk, he was missing one leg..
                So you went on foot
             Yes, yes, from there to Italy, yes. But we went through a field… A playing field and
             we were in Trieste.
                                                                                      (A., Bulgaria)


Nothing is left to the girls
             In many stories the exploitation is intense; the fact is that the earnings go almost
             entirely to the exploiters.

             Well, at nine in the morning I was already at work, at eight-thirty, nine, depending
             on the day, whether there was sun, or it was raining… But by nine I was already there
             and stayed there till nine in the evening; then I started again at 11 at night and left at
             three in the morning… And yes, I had become so thin that… Later, I gained weight
             again… You know, when you’re on the street after so much torture, I assure you that,
             really, you don’t think much about the rest, you say “I hope he doesn’t hit me, let’s
             hope he doesn’t hit me“.
             I was afraid to hide… Some clients told me: “But hide the money!”. Because maybe,
             no? There was always one who came along who was sorry and gave me 50.000 lira
             more, instead of giving me 50.000 he gave me…a hundred“.
             He hit me when I didn’t make a million, when I didn’t make a million he hit me, then
             he was nice to me, to get in my good books again, to keep me, no?... close… to not…
             anyway... Yes, he hit me!

  100
   Did he continue to rape you?
Yes, I call that rape, because when you have to stay in bed with a person that you don’t
want to be with, that is rape… Because even if maybe one says to you: “Ah you are
undressing yourself!”, and then by force, because if I don’t get undressed he’s going
to kill me!
                                                                           (A, Albania)


                                                                                            Control
Systematic and asphyxiating control characterizes the girls’lives.

They live there, basically, you see them at one bar or another, in one place or anoth-
er, and they keep things under control, more or less they know how many clients you
have. They know how a girl works, because maybe if they control her for a week, two
weeks they already know that she can’t change jobs one week if when he’s around or
the other week when he’s not around, you cannot say there’s no work. He kept tabs
on me with a cell phone, when I had the client he was in front of the bar or had to call
him when I got in the car and got out of the car and also if the client wanted to pay for
me all night I couldn’t, he was jealous and said that I was falling in love.
   Did you have money? Did he give you money?
I never had money, the “guy” took all my money at night and I never had anything,
the “guy” bought all my clothes and things, even if I had something I couldn’t hide it
because he lived with me, every once in a while I’d get € 10. He kept account of how
many clients I had at night, I was supposed to have one every 20 minutes, I worked
eight hours. When I returned with less money he hit me… I managed to buy a phone
card all mine and hide the number... I only gave it to few people.
                                                                          (A., Albania)

   Was he there nearby?
 Yes, he was really nearby, he didn’t go far. He drove around with the car, he never
went far. The first day he put me there and he stopped a guy of about 30 or some-
thing, he saw me and said: “Come on“. And I got in the car with him and he looked
at me and started to talk to me in Italian, I didn’t understand. I remember as if it were
yesterday that he asked me: “How long have you been in Italy? How many days?”.
He said it many times and with my finger I said one. He said: “First day?”, and I nod-
ded yes. He said to me: “Look, I’m sorry, but you are not the kind of girl who should
be a prostitute, you must save yourself.” I remember that he put 200.000 lira in my
hand and said: “I don’t want anything, take this money“. And I looked at him, I did-
n’t know what to say. He looked at me and said: “I’m sorry for you, your first day,
they are ruining you and I am sure that there is a pimp there behind you“. I did not
know, what a pimp was, now I’m saying it because I know Italian, I know he said
these things to me. He told me to be careful and then he left. My pimp arrived with
the car and said: “Give me the money“. I gave him all the money that the guy had

                                                                                             101
             given me. And in the evening I made 900.000, not from the evening, from eleven
             to four.
                                                                             (S., Moldavia)


Illegal abortions
             The life conditions appear to be beastly, as we see from the story of an abortion of a
             friend of the girl interviewed.

             Yes, with knitting needles… She took her into the bathroom… In fact because we
             were all around the table, all at home, he said: “Excuse me, I’m going“. Because she
             was pregnant, and it was done with a crochet hook, those things there... And I remem-
             ber that when she came, all bloody, then she felt bad and had to go to emergency,
             then later… But I don’t know what she said there, anyway… Another girl, 16 years
             old, her boyfriend did the same things… Me, it’s a good thing I haven’t been preg-
             nant…
                                                                                      (A., Albania)


How to die
             Accepting to prostitute oneself seems to be a little better than dying.

             And you can’t see any way out, you are depressed after, I don’t know the right words,
             depression I think, that… You don’t want to live any more, you don’t care about your-
             self, given that I found myself in this situation, I only wanted to die, but I couldn’t die, I
             couldn’t kill myself, commit suicide, so I accepted that I had to do the work… It was a
             little better than dying, so I let myself go, I decided to work there even if I didn’t care
             about anything else anymore, about myself, given that I… It was hell in Albania, it was
             hell here, all of it,… There was no more hope for me, I said “What do I care… I’ll go
             and do what he tells me to do, there is no more life for me, there is no more hope for me,
             and so if you don’t care about your life, what difference does it make if you do this job“.
             That is… I didn’t want to live any more, but, to not die it was better to do this job, and
             I said I won’t die doing this job, and over the years I will find the solution to my life.
                                                                                           (A., Albania)

             Often the moments that appear to offer a chance are illusory and ephemeral.

             I passed 3 1/2 years of hell in Albania…
             I was five months pregnant. I hadn’t told him that I was pregnant. I had decided to
             keep the baby. I had had other abortions, another four abortions. He had always
             made me abort. I had been to a hospital in Macerata to abort.
             After I decided to keep the baby. When I was pregnant I wanted to eat a lot of peach-
             es, I eat a lot of them now, it’s the only fruit I eat.

 102
When I came back they were all happy, they all asked me about him. The day after
the I told my father that I wasn’t going back to my husband: my father hit me so hard
that the baby died in the womb.
After a year and a half that I was in Albania I met the guy that I fell in love with at 14
years old. I was happy, I could start to live again. Instead he was just like all the others.
I found a job in a factory, like when I was little, cutting and sewing. However I earned
little and had to give it all to my father.
Then I decided to return to Italy with the new boyfriend. Even my mother thought I
should go. So I went with this guy; he had been in Italy too, he had documents, work,
a house, (or that’s what he told me). Instead when we got to Italy, I discovered he
was a drug dealer.
I arrived in Padua, I slept in a hotel for four nights…I hoped I had found somebody
who loved me, instead all men are idiots… Now I don’t trust anybody anymore.
                                                                             (M., Albania)


                                                                                 Threats to the family
The threats are both direct and indirect, with possible retaliation toward the family,
as we see from the story of a Rumanian girl.

   Therefore to keep you there he threatened to sell you to the Albanians.
Yes he threatened to sell me to the Albanians, and said I would end up in the street,
that I wouldn’t escape, that I would end up on the street, that I wasn’t safe anywhere
I went… He hit me numerous times he made me get photos and many other things
and he said: “I’m sending the photos home to your mother!”. He threatened to send
the Russians to kill my family. The last time he said: “Do you want to see, I’m going
to rape your mother and beat her, and your sister too in front of you?” He told me:
“You can’t do anything because the treatment you’ve had until now, your mother and
sister are going to get!”, and many other things... In that moment I wasn’t thinking
of myself, I was thinking of them, for this… It’s awful enough, because you think he’s
only going to hurt you, you say “I can do It“, that when he starts to touch on the peo-
ple who are close to you, it’s really difficult to get out of it. Only that he, last summer,
wanted to go to Rumania to a wedding. In that moment I thought: “I can’t manage
a whole lifetime with him!”. I was more afraid to stay a whole lifetime with him then
I wasn’t going to the police! So I preferred to go to the police…to escape.
                                                                             (D., Rumania)


                                                                  Solidarity but often indifference
Some rare episodes of solidarity come to light.

He was a transvestite who worked nearby, he worked too, but he worked for himself,
he had chosen it, but he was sorry for me and my friend, and the other girls, I swear

                                                                                                103
      that he came every day, one day yes and one day no, almost, he gave us 50.000 lira
      to me and my friend, with this money he said to buy whatever we wanted… Really,
      bless him, he was really good.
                                                                          (A., Albania)

      More often there is terrifying indifference toward the girls’pain.

      I was afraid, because when I found out that they were Albanians I was afraid. When
      I said: “What do you mean a prostitute?”, P. hits me and showed me the gun: “Do you
      want to see your children again?”. I said: “Yes“. “Then do this job. Because we know
      the police, you can’t do anything.” I didn’t speak any Italian and he said to me: “When
      your client comes say ‘30 Euros’. when the client comes in the car you say’€ 30 and
      we go’”. Only that I was happy to go on the street because I thought I could scream
      and get the men to help me. The first day he sent me with seven men. I said: “Help
      me, I was sold here!”. They looked at me like this, and an old men didn’t do anything.
      I remember that he said: “Poor thing!”, and left in a hurry. On that day I remember I
      made € 290.
                                                                               (V., Rumania)
      At times the street itself is a place of threats and danger.

      There were many girls. I only knew one girl who was near me, at 500 feet, who then
      helped me. When there were no clients I ran to her because I was afraid on the street.
      A lot of ugly things happened on the street. I was beaten on the street. And a friend of
      mine, it happened that a car came along with three men, but two were hidden. When
      they arrived at the chosen place, they raped her, beat her, and stole her money, leav-
      ing her naked. The girls on the street, when they didn’t see her come back, gave us
      the alarm, her boss went to look for her and found her like that.
      It happened to me that, they held a gun to my head and took my money and my leather
      jacket. From that time I said: “Enough“. I was afraid I’d be killed. I didn’t understand
      what the clients were saying to me, I didn’t speak Italian.
                                                                                (R., Moldavia)

      Disgust and repulsion are often felt toward the clients, many of whom want unpro-
      tected relations.

      It’s not nice, it’s not nice to see these people on top of you and say: “What am I“, and
      they’re heavy, it’s too awful, too much because sometimes the people are dirty, they
      really make you sick, it’s not easy, it’s not nice, I wouldn’t wish it on any girl.
         Are there clients who want relations without a condom?
      Yes, many.
         Did you use one?
      I used them, without no, but there were many, many who wanted to give you more
      money to do it without, there were many Russian girls who worked without them, the

104
clients came and told us themselves, why does she do it and you don’t, so I said go to
her, there were many, many girls.
   Therefore there was competition on the street between the girls…
Yes because… if you don’t work with condoms the clients always looked for those who
worked without condoms, there are many who do and they worked more but it’s nor-
mal, but it’s not right either, because why should I risk my life for another Lit 50.000.
                                                                           (E., Albania)

The request for relations without condoms appears in many recent stories.

Well, all right, all of them… Wanted it without condoms... For more money… And
instead I answered: “Excuse me… I don’t want to do It without condoms, because
I’m afraid, and the other thing is that…”. Listen nobody knows if he might have…
some kind of “aids”, or something… Instead I never do it without a condom, only
with the condom!
                                                                    (A., Slovakia)

The girls themselves are aware of the reasons for the systematic violence by their
exploiters.

The scar that I have here (she indicates her leg) was done to me by other people, oth-
er protectors, as I said before, I have had various protectors, then the ones who did
this torture to me here, to hurt me, to make me… What I’m thinking now … At the
moment I don’t know, they did it to me and that’s enough, now?, Like that, because
they wanted to destroy me psychologically, because you know at times, a lot of blows,
when you get hit a lot, you get a little crazy. They hit me so to fear them, so that I always
say yes,…yes…for …how can I explain it…to make me always obey them! To make
me understand that they are strong. I was hit too much. The gave me so many punch-
es, kicks, my god on my belly, well everywhere. Then they tied me up and put tape
here ( on her mouth), eh…so that I couldn’t scream; they put the tape on after they
tied me up and with a knife, those people will definitely go to hell, because a person
who uses a knife without their hand shaking, who does this to a person, opens her like
that… (she makes a sign on her leg where the cut was made) it’s like slaying a per-
sonal alive, or burning her alive… Let’s say... He opened my leg right up, the right
thigh, he puts salt in the wound and the blood ran like that down my leg.
                                                                              (A., Albania)

The attempts to get away or just to stop temporarily are severely punished.

  You had to stay out until you had finished them?
Yes, until I had finished all the condoms. Another thing, I got slaps, punches. They
don’t know that when Albanians hit, they hit really hard. And I was hit by them so
much, so much, so much that I was in bed for two weeks, I couldn’t get up, for a sim-

                                                                                                105
      ple thing that I said that I wasn’t going back on the street, I couldn’t stand it. And they
      said to me: “You go“. I said: “I am not going“. “You are going“. I said: “I’m not going“.
      At the end I said: “Do what you want, but I am not going, I can’t do it, I can’t.” And
      they beat me. They said: “You are going, you have to give us all the money they spent
      for your trip, for the rubber boat, for all of this. Ten million in expenses“. “Ten mil-
      lion in expenses, you in ten days, let’s make it twenty days, you are satisfied with me,
      what more do you want from me“. And they beat me. And they made me go with
      force. I got really scared because I didn’t know how to escape, where to go, when I
      saw that I had fallen into a group of Albanians who were big on drugs and prostitu-
      tion. I saw, I didn’t see though when we went from Bergamo to Milan in a house with
      a lot of other people and other friends, they went out at night, they killed, I heard them
      talking, saying that they had stuff that had been covered with blood, they had killed
      a person on the motorway, with a gun. I got really scared and didn’t know what to
      do. When we got to Milan here, they took me to a small town, where the girls were
      prostituting themselves, in Gussago. They put me on the street, they checked up on
      me with the car. People come, I had, let’s say my clients. Five, six people, they came
      with the car and they took my money, I made five, six people, they came by car .
                                                                                 (S., Moldavia)

      In street prostitution a high number of clients at a reasonable price is often preferred.

      Then, we can say that, he says to me one day, make your clients 25/30 a day , you
      ask the clients for 20 or 30 Euros…
                                                                         (A., Slovakia)

      Regular clients are a favourable element for earning more but also a chance for the
      girls to establish relationships that are less anonymous and squalid, as we can see
      from the story of a Moldavian woman.

          Did you have regular clients?
      In Dalmine, those who knew me came back, in Milan it took a couple of weeks before
      the same people came back. With strength you do it, if not there’s no way you can
      leave, you need to earn this money, I didn’t want to earn it but when they come and
      ask you for money and you don’t have it they beat you. I was really afraid to escape,
      too afraid, terrified. Even now I am still afraid in a deep place but I say “No, stop being
      afraid, it’s all over“. But sometimes when it starts up I feel bad, I have panic attacks,
      there is Sister Gisella who helps me, I talk with her, I am a bit better when I talk with
      her. But when I go I start to be afraid again. And I had these regular clients, I got to
      know a Sicilian guy. He came once, twice and we got to know each other like that.
      And he says to me: “Would you give me your cell phone number?”. I say: “All right“.
      I gave him my cell phone number and he said to me: “Can I call you in the evening?”.
      I tell him know, I’m afraid that he told me , you have a pimp for sure, if he asked me
      if I had a pimp I said no, he said don’t tell lies, all you girls on the street are exploited.

106
I said: “Yes, call me in the evening. This guy started to call me in the evening, I spoke
with him secretly so that my pimps wouldn’t hear. Once he said to me: “Listen, tomor-
row I’m coming around three, I’ll get you and we can go out together“. I say: “All
right“. But I say to myself, what am I going to do, he comes around three, my pimp
is around, he sees us, after it’s a real mess. I thought I was alone at home, I didn’t
hear the pimps came in and I started to tell him things on the telephone. His name
was Rino. I said: “Listen Rino, this is my story, I’m not alone, there are these pimps
who are checking up on me, I’m afraid“.
He says to me: “I knew this, Stefania - I had another name when I worked in the street,
but I told him my real name, I trusted him — tomorrow when you go out there I’m
not taking you out anywhere, you get in the car and I’ll take you away, don’t be afraid,
I won’t do anything to you, I want to help you“. I say: “all right“. And that’s how we
left each other. My pimps heard all this from the other room, I was talking from anoth-
er room and I hadn’t heard them come in, I was talking with him on the cell phone.
In this moment he didn’t say anything. He says: “Tomorrow work will go well“. I say:
“Yes“. I was nervous, I said “My lucky day when I’ll be saved has come“. I say: “Yes,
yes, all right, it’s hot outside“.
I laughed, I was making fake smiles but in that moment I was nervous. They asked
me: “What’s with you, you seem a bit strange“. I say: “Nothing, nothing, I’m tired“.
And the second day they took me to work in Gussago and I worked and they came to
get the money. I looked at my watch and around two-forty-five they came and they
said to me: “Give us the money that you made because we’re leaving for Milan“. I
thought, what luck, they are leaving for Milan, they are always around checking me
out, I can really escape. They told me they were leaving for Milan and they hid with
the car. I waited until the Sicilian guy arrived and picked me up with the car and we
left. We went down the road a bit and he looked in the mirror and said: “Stefania,
there are two cars with Albanians in it behind me“. I say: “NO, it’s not true“. He says:
“Yes“. I look, as I turned my head and look my phone rings, I turn it on and the Alba-
nians says, there were eight of them, four in one car and four in another car, he says:
“Whore, where do you think you’re going?”. I say: “I am not a whore, I am not going
anywhere, I’m going with the client to a hotel“. He says to me: “No, no, we heard you
yesterday talking on the phone with him and saying you wanted to escape.” And they
blocked the car. Really fast they went ahead of the car and there was another behind
full of Albanians and they stopped. I said: “Rino, I’m getting out of the car, if not they’ll
murder both of us, you turn the car around, take the country roads and get out of here.
Don’t get out of the car, what has to happen will happen to me, this is my fault, I
shouldn’t have done this“, I felt really guilty. If they got both of us, me and this guy,
they would massacre both of us, but instead they only beat me. I got out of the car and
they got out, until the other four were out of the car, but they weren’t in time, I got out
of the car right away and the guy went away. I stayed there and he says to me: “Stu-
pid whore, where were you running to?” I say: “No, I was going to a hotel, he is a
client“. He says: “ah, he’s a client“. I say: “Yes“. He says: “You need to learn to tell
lies better because yesterday we heard everything“. And he grabbed me and really

                                                                                                107
            hit me hard right there, afterwards he threw me in the car and took me home. And he
            said to me: “Don’t try it again, never try to get away again because we’ll find you.
            Wherever you are, we will find you and you won’t get away alive. It’s possible to kill
            a person and throw them away, nobody will find you. If the Italian police find you
            nobody will recognize you. You are dead. You’re dead meat.”. They said to me “We
            can pour gasoline on you and light a match, nobody will find you. You don’t know who
            you’re dealing with, who the Albanians are”. In the end I realized I’d fallen into a cir-
            cle of dangerous Albanians dealing drug and prostitutes. They saw that I wasn’t afraid
            to run away. They always stopped me. In the end I got it into my head that I couldn’t
            escape, on the TV they showed a lot of Moldavian girls who had been murdered by
            Albanians, girls who wanted to run away, and I thought if I run away they’ll kill me,
            and I’ll never see my son again, and the poor child will grow up with no mother and
            no father in the street. After my parents hear that their daughter was murdered in
            Italy, and was a prostitute who was murdered by Albanians, this is what always came
            into my head. And because of this fear in the end I stayed with these Albanians, they
            checked up on me and I said what can I do. The police had stopped me many times,
            they take you in and then they release you, they don’t come to check on you in the
            house where you live or who you’re living with, and when they come to do a check
            they don’t do anything to the Albanians and they let them go. They hold you at the
            police station and that’s all, then they let you go, go.
                                                                                    (S., Moldavia)


Feeling like a nothing
            Estrangement and an inner schism appear to be a part of the street experience.

            I think it’s something that you never manage to forget, you are nothing, you are dis-
            oriented, lost, you are ashamed of what you are doing, it’s a strange feeling to explain,
            what you feel the first time, that is, this didn’t happen to me, I felt as though I wasn’t
            myself, it was something I noticed the whole time, I went out of the house dressed in
            a certain way, but when I went out during the day I was ashamed of myself, if I put on
            something that, something a little bit flashy, I was ashamed. A lot of people don’t
            understand this thing, it’s as if you change in the moment in which you put on the
            makeup and go out you forget who you were, another person, and you come back and
            you were another. Up to the end, you ask yourself many times, what am I doing here,
            maybe when the people pass and look at you, but after, as if you’re not yourself, you
            were looking at another person. When I went there I wanted to pass by the place
            where I worked and it seems like a strange world, as if I had never been part of it, that
            is, as if they had told me about it, in some ways this made me glad, it no longer seemed
            like my life.
                                                                                         (A., Albania)



 108
Indisputable and even incomprehensible dominion is often what characterizes the
exploitive relationship.

No… He never said to me once , when he started to beat me “You didn’t make enough
money“… He always said to me: “You made a mistake, you made a mistake here,
you made a mistake there… Because you are 12 minutes there,15 minutes… You
know, you have to stay with the client for 10 minutes…”. But who knows what was
going on in his heart, in his head… Once we went out and we came back home at
3:30 in the afternoon, there was also another friend, and I said to him: “But why am
I going to work now? It was also Monday and on Monday we worked badly… And
he said to me: “Ah! … You don’t want to work, you do it on purpose to create prob-
lems… And he was always near me; I didn’t see him but he saw me…. And he also
saw how many cars stopped… He was always phoning me and saying: “You don’t
want to work, you do it on purpose to create problems. I knew what was happening
to me, and an Indian arrived and he says to me: ”Let’s go to my house“. I went… He
went into the hotel and look for me in every room that he never found me. When I
arrived at the place he arrived too, he made me get in the car and after he took me
into a field and he said: “Why did you go to that house?” and he started to beat me…
I blamed myself but in my head I was thinking other things… that I had gone to that
guy’s house because I was afraid of him… And I made other problems…
                                                                       (C., Rumania)

From a logistical point of view, there is often an initial period in which the girls stay in
hotels.

No, it was a hotel in Castelfranco and it was called “Albergo Roma”. I stayed there.
There were two apartments: on one side there were the girls of this guy and on the oth-
er the girls of the others who were in the house. In a couple of days they got me a false
passport which made me older, of another girl, I was 17 and therefore a minor and they
made me this passport here, and the police stopped us but they let us go because they
knew that we lived there, but they let us go because they wanted the guy above us, not
us, therefore they followed us, they followed us a lot but they left us alone.
                                                                          (E., Rumania)

The hotel is sometimes the place where clients are brought after the street contact.

  Did they give you more money in the hotel?
Yes, the rate was higher. A client was considered to be a friend, a friend. He was no
longer a client, somebody that you often saw..., he was something more than a client,
maybe you could ask him a favour, and he did it, they were people who behaved like…
  …Who treated you well. But were there more clients like that or were there more
  of the other kind of client…
You saw all kinds of people, there were the regulators, they were those that use see

                                                                                               109
            once and then never again, there were those who were just passing through who
            weren’t from the place, there was the clientele who as soon as it got dark, and they
            were people from the place, who didn’t want to be seen.
               Age?
            All ages.
               Italians?
            Yes, Italians.
               Not foreigners?
            I have had some, because I didn’t know them, people of colour no, because you know
            them , but however I wasn’t obligated to go with whoever stopped their car.
               You could choose. You could say no, I’m not coming. What told you when it was
               “Here no, I don’t have to go.“?
            I never trusted the Moroccans, coloured people, not to be racist, and that’s all.
                                                                                    (L., Albania)


The illusions of repatriation
            Forced repatriation is often grotesque and paradoxical, but for some girls, however,
            it is a chance to see the family again even for brief periods, even though the subjec-
            tion and control by the exploiters is not affected in any way.

               How many times have you been home?
            There have been periods when I went twice in three months, once every six months,
            no, I went.
               Where did they take you?
            They took us by plane from Bologna, and our plane for Albanians, to Tirana.
               And inTirana you took the train?
            In Tirana there were other people waiting for us, their friends, because when they did
            these dragnets, they never got just one girl, but a group of girls, however a group of
            girls who worked nearby and this means that they are the same group of friends who
            manage the girls… Yes, the organization was already there because there too if you
            go without documents the police also tell the parents, they make problems, there
            are… You get off with the documents. Then you have to report to the police who give
            a report where we were stopped, the reason why we go back, you weren’t in the good
            books there either. But the organization that was there, nothing happened, they paid
            what they had to pay and we got off the plane.
               But how were you able to go back?
            Because they always organized it, passports with false visas or even false permits to
            stay.
               Did you go back by plane?
            By plane, yes.
               And you were able to take the plane? And the documents,did they never stop you?
            At the border no, because you took another route, maybe you took the plane to Ger-

 110
many, or to Vienna in Austria; then from there you took another plane to go back to
Italy. The planes that came from countries like Germany and Austria… They weren’t
checked.
Once in Italy then I tear up the documents.
                                                                     (L., Albania)


                                                                          Marriages of convenience
Marriages of the convenience are one of the ways to obtain documents.

    And what was this marriage like?
No, it seemed like a joke. I was still laughing to myself after. It seemed too fake, but
I had to do it. When you are married, it was easy to get documents. But also many of
them had married Italian girls to have documents and the health plan. Many guys.
    Was it the easiest way to get documents?
It is the easiest way.. but when I got married, it’s not that you show up at the police sta-
tion and they give you a permit to stay right away. Some time has to pass. But not only
with me, with everybody. Then in this period I got to know some volunteers who came
there to Vigevano, from the Association LULE of Abbiategrasso. They always came to
talk, “How is it going, if we can help you in some way, in all senses“, if we went away,
if you needed to go to the hospital, they were always ready, they took you, but you were
always afraid to pull out, afraid of threats until I convinced myself: if I don’t try it…
                                                                             (L., Albania)


                        Prostitution in nightclubs: an experience that ends immediately
The story of the young Rumanian woman clarifies the level of ambiguity that exists
within the nightclubs.

Yes, I called my friends and I said I was coming. I came with a tourist visa, for three
months, I arrived in Rome at a friend’s place. I was there for two and a half months
but I couldn’t find a job, I didn’t know the language… I went everywhere, I wanted to
get to know Italy, I was curious… I called another friend who lived in Piacenza and
put me up. I was a dishwasher, a waitress, I cleaned houses… But I earned little, only
for me, to live… I wanted to send money to Rumania to my mother to buy a house…
I don’t have a house there and in two years our landlord wants the house back…
… So I got to know the owner of the night club, somebody who told me to come to the
night club… And he told me that I didn’t have to do anything, only sit with the clients
and make them drink… I talk to other Rumanian girls and they told me it was true…
   And how did you get to know this man? Who introduced him to you?
I was in a bar, and I got to know this older man… I never thought that he was the
owner of the night club… (she smiles… she makes me understand that she doesn’t
want to explain how this meeting was organized…).

                                                                                               111
      Then I went but I always said that I didn’t want to go with the clients… I was in a hotel
      with other girls, with no documents and at night I went… The first times I got scared,
      all drunk, the clients and the girls… They grabbed each other by the hair… there
      were some girls who went with the clients…especially the Russians, married and with
      children in Russia, they told me they were doing it for their children there… the clients
      paid them and also paid the nightclub owner.
      Me no, I had regular clients, they came just to talk, they knew that I didn’t go to bed…
      They also brought me flowers…
      Some no, they insisted, but they were old men, I told them: “But how can I come to
      bed with you? I could be your granddaughter…”. Some wanted me to marry them,
      they said that when they died they would leave me a lot of money… Some girls did
      it, they got married… But I never could… However after a while I couldn’t take it
      anymore, even if I was earning a lot of money… Every night I went to the bathroom
      and cried… I wanted to leave…I had an Italian boyfriend, I asked him to find me a
      job… Even he didn’t want me to do that job.
      So he found me a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant and the very second day that I
      went there to work they came to get me, the police… They had already been watch-
      ing that group for a while and they told me that if I collaborated they would give me
      a permit to stay… I really didn’t believe it but what could I do? I tried and they actu-
      ally gave it to me… And this Is the best thing that happened to me… I am very reli-
      gious, I prayed and my prayers were answered…and then they sent me to the nuns
      and it was all over…
                                                                                (S., Rumania)

      At times the experience of the “dancer”in the nightclubs precedes recruitment and
      street prostitution, as we see in the story of a Serbian girl.

         You did shows as a dancer, you did privé in the clubs , but there was no sex on the
         premises, is that right?
      No, there was no sex. If a girl wanted to go out with a client she could go, but not
      there. I never went out with them because I was afraid, “Maybe they will kill me,” I
      thought.
      When I went to Spain I did better. This guy helped me a lot; he was 33 years old; he
      never put me on the street or in a nightclub. He found me a job right away in the club,
      as a bartender, I worked at night. I worked there for seven months. I lived at his house,
      he was often away with a truck but I could stay at his house. Then the bar closed and
      that was a shame because I liked it. I had no job and so I got to know the owner of a
      nightclub, to work as a dancer again. I never saw that Slavic guy again; I looked for
      him at his house but I never found him, I don’t know what happened to him.
         Where did you work as a dancer?
      In Città di Castello. There I was very happy, if I could I’d go back there. There I made
      a lot of money because I worked alone, I stripped but only on Friday and Saturday. I
      didn’t do private or anything. I went there at midnight, danced and then I went, with

112
no problems. I lived in the house of the man and woman for four years without pay-
ing anything. They cared about me, loved me like a daughter. They had no children,
they couldn’t have them; they knew my story and they wanted to help me.
    How did you meet them?
I met the man at the nightclub, after a show he came back, to the dressing room,
and he told me that I was beautiful, very young, so I started to talk to him and he
took me to his wife. Little by little they got to know me and his wife asked me if I
wanted to live with them. I accepted, I was very happy. I stayed with them, as if it
were my home. For them it was important that I was well, that I had fun.
    Who owned the nightclub?
An Italian. I only worked three days and I earned e 300, 400 thousand per night. I kept
it all, I didn’t have a pimp. I put it all away only that little by little all my money went.

One months he sent me to work on the street, in the daytime, in Gubbio. He did his
rounds, he checked upon me. He got up on a hill and could see what I was doing. If I
rested he called me on the cell phone and started to yell. I was tired of him, of his
clients, of his money, but I was afraid of him, really afraid. He hit me a lot, what
blows!!! I worked seven months for him, but you know, I’m still afraid of him. I worked
on the street and he sent money to his family; he even had a family in Florence, they
lived in the country. All the money I made he sent to his family, for his children, me
nothing, not even a pair of pants, mine were all ripped, for working. It was too hard.
    And he took your money…
Yes, all of it. The last time, we went to McDonald’s, it was Saturday. I hadn’t eaten
anything since the, I couldn’t take it any more, it was really hot. It was around seven
and I had worked all day… We got there and he started to play with the money that
I had earned all day on the street, without eating, at the machines, video poker…I
got mad with him and told them that that was the money I had earned with my body,
he gave me a slap there , in front of everybody. He grabbed me by the hair and threw
me in the car, slapping me. We got home and he kept hitting me, I was all blue! I try
to scream so that somebody would hear me, I knew that somebody lived near him.
He threatened me and told me to be quiet, “Whore” he said. I was really scared… I
got near the window to see if somebody was in the street, below. He came over to me
and hit me some more, I couldn’t take it…I jumped out by myself, better that than
the beatings. I preferred to die than to get hit some more. He looked out to see whether
I was moving or not and he, when he saw that, even though everything was broken,
I tried to get away again. he grabbed me and took me to the hospital.
    Nobody heard anything…
Yes, there was a girl who lived nearby, but she was afraid too… So at the hospital the
police came because I was all bruises, all broken. They asked me what he had done
to me and I, because he was near me, had to say that I had fallen by myself while I
was cleaning the windows. I couldn’t say that we had fought. He, for 10 days he was
always nearby, I was afraid of him and, the police hadn’t believed me and continued
to come, I told a lot of lies. I couldn’t talk. 10 days past, it was Wednesday, the doc-

                                                                                                113
            tor told me that that day I was going home but I didn’t want to go home with him, he
            could kill me… He swore to me that he would never do it again… Then I said all right
            and so, while he was going to put my things in the car, I told the doctor to call the police,
            they came, and they arrested him right away. They put him in jail right away!
               Where did you find the courage to report him?
            I couldn’t go home with him, he had already ruined my legs, he was always nearby,
            I hadn’t eaten anything, because I was scared of him, for 10 days… I told the doc-
            tor to call Monica, the inspector and they came to get him, in front of me. So he will
            be in prison for life and for the rest of his life he’ll remember me. He’s crazy… His
            brother came too, a few days later, I found him in hospital, near my bed. I called for
            help right away and he managed to get away, but what a scare! I don’t know how he
            got in, he asked me where his brother was, he said that I was a whore because I had
            put him in prison. He said to me: “We’ll see you soon, whore!”, to scare me.
                                                                                 (S., ex-Yugoslavia)


From the night club to the apartment
            The illusion of being able to handle the boundaries between nightclub entertainment
            and prostitution is extremely significant in this story of a Rumanian girl. One of the
            relevant aspects of the story is how the role of exploitation and organization is taken
            on directly by a woman.

            Yes, my father hit us, I went to the hospital three times because of him. A lot of things,
            my mother couldn’t take it anymore, but neither could we, or my brother. But that’s
            another story. I went to the bank, but nothing, then I went to a travel agency that
            engaged girls as dancers in nightclubs in Japan with a six month renewable contract.
            I talked about it with my mother who isn’t a strong sort of person, she gets really wor-
            ried. I told her that I intended to go, to make some money but she wasn’t happy about
            it. It was a sure thing there because a friend of mine had been there, she lived in my
            building. She had gone from July to December, had made her money dancing and
            then come back, with no problems. When she danced she did a number, she wasn’t
            a cube dancer. She lived together with some other girls, all from other countries and
            she came back happy. At the beginning she earned well, then the Japanese got wise
            and gave her banknotes that were worth less. She was the one who took me to this
            agency, they did an audition, and they saw that I could dance well; I hadn’t studied
            dancing but I had always liked dancing. There were three of us, me, my neighbour
            and her friend, and the director explained the contract to us. This was in Bucharest. I
            didn’t have a passport and I was supposed to come back with documents. We were
            supposed to do an audition with the Japanese and for this we needed to do a course
            in choreography.

            The girl who had come with me already had her passport and wanted to make some
            money too, she didn’t need it as badly as me but she was also living in a difficult sit-

 114
uation. From there I learned not to trust people, she understood afterwards, in fact
she was in some ugly places, with people who took the girls…I didn’t know this girl
well, I had met her through a neighbour. She started to insist that I shouldn’t wait for
the passport, that I should go to another country, that it was too long to wait, you
couldn’t go to Japan right away, after the choreography course you needed to wait
for the other girls to come back. She made a fool of me, she used the fact that I need-
ed money and pushed me to do something, right away. So then I accepted, but I did-
n’t tell my mother, I only told my brother about this. She told me that she had a friend
who helped girls who were going to dance in Italy. I have asked her if he had done a
contract and she told me no, you didn’t need one, that it would be done after. With
my brother we figured it might not be true but I really needed the money, and she
knew it.
   Did you know this friend well?
No, I didn’t know her well, I had met her about a month before through another friend
but I hadn’t had time to understand what she was about. I knew that she wanted to
do something too, I started to trust but I had to wait for my passport and her friend
paid $ 50 to have my passport right away. Mine was real, I had paid for it, there are
those who get fake ones for the girls. Day after day the moment to leave home got
closer, my mother was more and more nervous because she didn’t want to ask help
from anyone, she didn’t want to go and live with my aunts and uncles. She was
stressed out and depressed, she always yelled at us, you couldn’t talk to her, not like
she is now.
   Your brother worked?
Now everything’s okay at home, at that time he was going to high school . So I decid-
ed to go but I talked about it only a day before with my mother, so that she wouldn’t
have time to stop me. I didn’t go away happy, to have a new experience, I went away
because I had to. I didn’t say goodbye to any of my relatives, I said “goodbye” in my
heart. This girl told me we would only be away for three months because the tourist
visa was for three months. That was what I told my mother, I thought I would come
back, we believed it. So the two of us left; the tickets and the Insurance were paid by
this friend of hers. I had asked how he would give back the money and he had told
me that things would be fixed up when we started working, in a discotheque. There
was also a Rumanian girl of 26 involved, she already worked here initially in a dis-
cotheque and knew how to speak Italian, she had been here a long time. She
explained how the thing worked, what we had to do. It seems strange to me that we
didn’t need to learn to dance but that it was enough to dance like that and drink with
the clients. Then she left and we stayed to get everything ready. We left by bus on
April 16, like tourists. We had a few problems of the border because they told us that
the money we showed them wasn’t enough. So then I asked for a loan from the bus
driver and so we got through, in this it is easy to pass, you just do that. The trip was
really normal, it took about two days…The girl told us to go with him and that we
would meet in various discotheques. The first time we stopped near Trento, I think,
in a nightclub. I had never been in a place like that, it was very luxurious and there

                                                                                           115
      were girls, cube dancers who danced with the poles, on the stages. They told us to go
      upstairs and get changed, that we were supposed to dance with the G- string and a
      bra and something on top, with high heels, that was how they all danced. We didn’t
      have many things, but we got them after. The first time I had a red bra and red G-
      string and… We danced. Fortunately that evening there weren’t many people,
      because it wasn’t very nice, you felt them all watching you. And there were a lot of
      Rumanian girls, from Timisoara, who weren’t very nice to us, because they were
      afraid we would take their places. One of them came to me and said that they were
      all bad and that if they asked me to go in privé I shouldn’t let them touch me because
      there were video cameras and they could fire me. I believed it all, instead they said
      it so they wouldn’t have competition, to have clients they let them touch them and
      have sex and they got more money. There was no competition because from our faces
      you could see how stupid we were, we were too surprised, but not in a good way,
      because I was really astonished and really worried about what would happen there,
      because it wasn’t that you got to dance there, they touched you, they said things, in
      the end you also had to take off your bra and go topless. In privé you had to take off
      everything and dance naked for 10 minutes. We were there for three days and then
      A. arrived and took us away…
          What sort of types were the clients?
      They were old, sometimes 70, sometimes young. You don’t come there to find a girl
      but you come for an hour of sex. Little by little I started to talk too and push to have
      privé but they always asked me to have sex and I said no, and they went away. At the
      Zodiaco there was an Italian girl who came after work and she did 10 or 12 privé a
      night. A client paid € 50 for a privé and that was divided between the girl and the
      owner. Think about how much they made each night! In privé they can touch you but
      you don’t have to have sex, instead I saw that these girls had many privé each night!
      The owner of the club sent us away because we didn’t make much money…

      It was May the ninth, it was the birthday of A. and so we went out to eat, in a restau-
      rant. I didn’t feel well because I was with people I didn’t know. I had called my friend
      who said not to worry, that she would be back soon. The day after I started to ask
      when we would be going to the discotheque, what kind of place it was. She said no,
      there was no discotheque, and that I would be working there, in the house. She
      explained that she and A., who was her cousin, worked there, putting ads in the news-
      paper and making appointments on the phone. “They call you and come”; I said no,
      I didn’t want to do that, that I wanted to leave. She said no, that I couldn’t go, that I
      couldn’t go anywhere. She told me that I couldn’t go because people didn’t know I
      was there, so as not to pay more rent. Instead I think it was not to make friends with
      anyone, so I couldn’t escape. They didn’t want me to have friends. There my story
      began: with my passport she went to put an ad in the newspaper, she already had a
      photocopy of an identity card for the person paying. She put it on the daily in Ferrara
      and said: “Beautiful girl seeks men for entertainment”; there are many like that. She
      put a cell phone number that she had given to me, throwing mine away. At the begin-

116
ning she answered because I didn’t know how to speak. She also treated me badly
because I had come with the girl that she hated and she thought I was a spy. She was
happy about the money but she didn’t trust me.
   How old is P.?
23, she is very young and very beautiful.
   How much does it cost to put in an ad?
Sixty euros for two weeks and 120 for a month, at least that’s what she told me. It
was always her that went, I could never go out. Alina went out though, but only to
get cigarettes. We only went out two nights altogether because she wanted to go to
the cinema and couldn’t leave us alone. I made friends right away with A. who was
her cousin but she was against her because she had tricked her, making her come
for a normal job. At the beginning I slept in a small room alone and A. slept with her
in the double bed and a brother in the living room, but when we made friends she
came to sleep with me in the small bed, we were better off there, suffering together.
Each client gave 50, then depended on what you wanted to do. We divided the
money in half and she said that her part didn’t go to her but to this C. I had never seen
this money because we needed to live we had to ask her, she bought everything, writ-
ing it all down, keeping accounts, even food. She came into our room and took all
the money every night, she never left us anything. She worked too, in her room. She
said she paid the rent that was 350 a month, she told us that she paid like that, but
it wasn’t as expensive as that. The rents are quite low. There were other girls living
there who worked in the street. So we had debts with her! Once I asked why her broth-
er never paid anything, and she hit me hard really hard. Every so often I heard from
my mother but I no longer told her what I did, I told her that I had found a job and that
that was why I couldn’t go back home. We worked every day, from nine till 10 in the
evening. If I was sleeping she would come in wake me saying that I had to be ready
in case somebody came, but nobody came, she was really bad, even though now peo-
ple think she has changed. In that house I felt really bad. There were few clients, max-
imum five a day, but it depended. There were different kinds of people, one came at
noon, and in a jacket and tie. When a girl doesn’t want to do it you can see, if she
wants to she makes herself beautiful, she tries to please, she was like that, in fact P.
was very rich, she had a lot of money. And she always wanted more… They took us
all to the police station with different cars and into different rooms. I think they had
been looking for her for a long time and that they already knew her. The girl who had
come from Belgium had reported her and they had found the ad in the newspaper.
They couldn’t do anything with just the ad in the newspaper, the needed somebody
to press charges. They knew everything, even about me, but I hadn’t understood that
they already knew, I was afraid to put me in jail. A big fat man had spoken to me and
I was really scared, I pretended I didn’t speak Italian. Then the head came, he was
really nice and told me they would leave me alone. I was terrified also because P. was
nearby, I could only think about her. They took me to do fingerprints and photos,
downstairs and they saw that I was really afraid, I wanted to say something but did-
n’t know what would happen to me, maybe I would go to prison. They explained to

                                                                                            117
           me that they wouldn’t do anything and I didn’t need to worry, I only needed to tell the
           truth. They brought a Rumanian girl to me who acted as interpreter. I didn’t tell every-
           thing, the way I’m telling you, I said that I had decided to come by myself. After I told
           the way things really went, when I made another report! I went to the bathroom and
           bumped into P. who, threatened me quite violently. I couldn’t take it anymore, I was
           terrified. The head of the police brought me coffee and cigarettes to calm me down.
           They were looking for the two girls from the report. M. E. told everything right away
           because she didn’t know P. very well and was not afraid of her, she didn’t understand
           my reaction. I have always had a strong character, I’m a Leo, but I was in pieces. Then
           they told me that Paola was in prison because they had been looking for her for a long
           time. They took me to the head, who was a wonderful man, and I told him the whole
           truth, right from the start. They even put the brother in prison and they then send him
           back to Rumania…
           They find girls to come and dance in the discotheque, like M. E., and they ask them if
           they want to dance in another country for money. They always look for girls who have
           nothing. For example, she comes from an orphanage: her mother is dead, her father
           has another family. They look for the weakest girls. I came on a normal trip but there
           are also people who come with private agencies or in trucks, with no real documents.
                                                                                   (C., Rumania)


Or a mutual agreement?
           The story of a Rumanian girl who prostituted herself in an apartment could document
           in some cases, relationships of protection - exploitation based on more negotiation
           and less coercion and violence.

           Yes, I came here to Italy and am very happy, and God brought me here, even if I made
           a mistake at first thinking of that thing but when I came I thought that something
           would get better, not looking at anything else and living okay. How long did I work
           here? Two months. Even if I made a mistake in those two months, now that I am in
           the Association I’m doing really well. I am in a family let’s say and I’m happy that
           I’m here because I think this I couldn’t have another chance, or at least this is what I
           thought in that moment. This was written to see and know all these people. Then I
           got to know and learned many things until it will be so good I stay r here.

           I thought it would be something normal, at first, when I thought by myself, I’m going
           to Italy, I talked to my sister and I said “Even if something happens to me, if some-
           body kills me I’m going to Italy and I’m going alone“. She said: “No, don’t go alone,
           you’re crazy if something happens to you, we’re so poor and If you die what will we
           do?”. After I got to know some guys, I knew them for a long time, we went to school
           together, we did… Then I saw this young guy who was my age and I knew he had
           brothers in Italy and I asked if he could help me. I didn’t know what they did, because
           at first they did a normal job as builders.

 118
They said “First think of yourself then when“… I said I needed money for myself, if I
make money I’ll pay you everything, I’ll pay the documents I’ll pay everything“…
They said there was no need to pay anything. I didn’t pay anything, no documents
and after we went half, even if I paid for all expenses, he didn’t do anything, when I
spent he didn’t take a lot from me. When I brought, also because I had to bring some
because otherwise I couldn’t leave home because I didn’t know… Today they take,
tomorrow the take your money too. The police always take your money too, and I had
to give money to someone. And we went half and half.
   So from what you got you took off expenses and then divided the rest in half?
Yes, yes that’s what we did because when I didn’t do anything, I didn’t give anything.
It wasn’t a forced thing to go half-and-half. When I worked I gave when I didn’t I did-
n’t… I mean to say they sent a lot of money home to my house. They paid for my sis-
ters wedding and helped my parents a lot. I didn’t work that much, I didn’t know how
to work… At first they did for me… I said documents, the trip, they paid for that.

They all came back. The girl who was with us who was at Montesilvano. Even she has
come back and when I was here she was 17 years old. And she has come back to do
this job even after she has been in the Association. Why? This is a question, isn’t it ?
Why do they go back to this job? Because they were bad? No, because if they had
been badly off they wouldn’t have gone. Only the ones who don’t suffer come back,
the ones who like it, not that you like it because this isn’t a job to like… You don’t like
it, but to make money, you make a lot of money and therefore you work, you stay all
day, you suffer, sometimes you don’t eat, you work like a crazy person and make €
800 the way I worked 14 hours during the whole season every day. You don’t even
rest during the day,14 hours a day and I didn’t even make € 1000 a month.

   The clients were young or old?
Yes, I chose.
   You could choose?
Yes, because I could see from the window, I had blinds, if he was ugly, no, if he was
black, no, if he was Albanian, no.
   You didn’t open the door?
No, I could see from the window and then on the phone and asked how he was dressed
what he looked like. He said: “I look like this and I’m dressed like this“. I said “Come
to this number” and then when I saw him in front I could see if he was ugly and I told
him on the phone that I was tired but I wasn’t working anymore and goodbye, I hung
up the phone. Because if it was too much… There were a lot of crazy people, but if
they had the face of a calm man… I didn’t get a lot of young ones, more around 40
to 50 years, only rich man and serious people. A lot of policeman came.
   Did clients ask you to work without a condom?
Some ask to but I didn’t accept; because only the old man asked it because they had
problems, I threw them out right away… Even on the phone they asked you if you
did it without and I hung up. Never.

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        Therefore you were careful about your health
      Yes, and if it broke during we screamed a lot and make them pay 200 to 300 more
      euros.
        Did you have the condoms or did you wait for the clients to bring them?
      No, I bought them at the supermarket. Once a week I would buy 20 or 30 or 40 and
      these were enough for both of us. We always worked together to be safer, for pro-
      tection because if a client came to the house there were always two of us.

      He was in Spain and I was alone and I kept all the money and send some of it home.
      I always kept the money. When I came to give it he didn’t take it, he told me “You
      keep It, I’ll get at another time, another time“. Then when the police got me he did-
      n’t take it either.
      After when I went to the police station they told me that they knew everything that
      they had heard by phone that there were photos. We told them that we weren’t inter-
      ested that we didn’t know anything or anybody and I didn’t know the girls very well.
      I saw them the first time in the police station.
      They told me that I had to speak… I said I didn’t care because I didn’t have to say
      anything, I had nothing to say. They sent V. and we were talking alone together in
      Rumanian. I said I wasn’t going to say anything, I had nothing to say, I had done noth-
      ing wrong. What could I say? Nobody forced me to go. Many say they’ve been forced.
      Unfortunately, unfortunately, thank God, I decided. After I went to talk and I told
      what I knew.
                                                                               (N., Romania)




120
                              9. Ways out and future plans

Some stories show how hard it is to trust the police, in some cases due to prejudice
and fears nurtured by the exploiters themselves, in other cases, because of negative
episodes.

Two days before the police came a guy arrived , he said his name was Cornel, then he
said his name was Michele, I don’t know his name and when the police came they got
him, with no clothes, and they beat him up. The police hit me because they said that
I know the language and I didn’t want to talk and pretended not to understand. After
they found my passport and when they saw that I had been in Italy for only a week
and was only 17 they didn’t do anything to me. But they really beat that guy up. Then
they took us to the police station.
                                                                      (E., Rumania)

Other events show the timeliness of the police’s arrival,inspiring a positive next step,
of an immediate, in the lives of the girls. This story by a Ukrainian girl is particularly
positive.

I got dressed in black pants and a turtleneck the way I dressed for school, no make-
up, normal. When she saw me she screamed: “Look how you’re dressed, go and
change, you look like you’re at school.” and I say: “To go to work I dress like this, I
have no miniskirt“. “You’re not going like that“, and I say: “And why?”. She: “You’re
going to a bar. All right this time you can go like that“. We stopped at the gas sta-
tion. The husband of my friend screamed at me in Italian: “Go on, get out of the car“.
I didn’t understand anything because I didn’t understand Italian. I got out of the car
with her and her husband right away left with the car. In the end I asked: “What are
we doing?”; she said to me: “This is where you work, down there is a coffee machine,
now I’m going to get you a coffee”. I still didn’t understand, I couldn’t believe what
happened, I couldn’t imagine a situation like that. I was angry, but right away two
big tall men arrived, they started to talk to her, I didn’t understand and started to cry,
I could see that she was scared, because in the Ukraine there are many Mafia. I
thought they were going to start hitting us, but they were policeman not dressed like
policeman, after I saw a car with police written on it and I understood.
They talked to me but I didn’t understand anything.
They started to yell at my friend; thank God the police arrived because If not I could-
n’t imagine what they would’ve made me do. I couldn’t see myself in the street, I was
shocked, my father had taught me that it’s not easy to make money but the money
must always be made honestly.
The police followed V. this friend of mine, for a while, because they knew that she got
girls to put on the street. I was really afraid talking to the police. They told me “Go

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            home”; I got my photos and went home. “How can I go if I don’t understand any-
            thing“, I thought. There in the police station I knew two girls, their friend arrived and
            they took me home to the house of this V. The day after a woman in the police station
            said to me “We can help you if you want to work here you need to get a permit to stay,
            if you want you can go to an organization where they will find you a good job“. I said:
            “Yes, certainly, because I have a little boy in the Ukraine. I can’t stay without a job“.
            When I left the police station I went with two girls, one spoke Russian, the other Ital-
            ian, they took me to a hotel. I waited a few days and then they brought me here. At
            the beginning I didn’t want to come here. They asked me: “Where do you want to go,
            to Padua, or to Venice?”. I said: “Padua“. They looked at me funny when I arrived
            here. Then finally a Bulgarian girl came and she said “I speak Russian” so when I start-
            ed to know everybody here, it was really good.
                                                                                        (I., Ucraina)


The information in Article 18
            The possibility of having information on social protection turns out to be a decisive
            factor in motivating the girls to leave the street, sometimes very quickly, as we see in
            this story of a Rumanian woman.

               Did you know that they could help you in some way?
            Once, when I was working in the street, a client stole my telephone and money. The
            police came because a man had seen it happen and called them. The police said: “Lis-
            ten Ma’am, would you like to go to the police station to report this man, but I give you
            your papers and you leave Italy. Do you have a permit to stay or not?” I said: “Please
            don’t take me, I’ve only been here a short time“. Then I don’t know, that evening I
            was so angry, if they sent me home, it was the same. And then when they said that
            they could help me stay in Italy, to work, to get documents…
               Ah, you found out after that they could help you? After you asked for help?
            Yes, when I went to the police station!
               So, you didn’t know what to do and you thought of asking the police for help?
            Yes, I said because once a girl from my town, also came to Italy and worked in the
            street and after maybe she did something because the police sent her home and I
            thought that’s what they’d do with me, believe me near my town, no? Because they
            say, I don’t know what I did. Then I called the police and they told me that it was OK
            that they won’t send me home and that I could stay i longer because I have documents
            and then I find a job. I don’t want to do like all the foreigners who find a man to mar-
            ry, I don’t want to, I want to work and then go home. That’s all. That is my dream.
            Everybody says it’s strange because everybody always wants to stay in Italy, but I feel
            good at home: we are not all the same.
                                                                                      (S., Rumania)



 122
                                                                    The role of the associations…
Approaching the associations and the police is fundamental in many situations. The
story of a Rumanian girl seems very pertinent,in that she first tries in vain to approach
the police and only later, thanks to the Gruppo Abele, finds the courage to seek shel-
ter and report her exploiters.

While I was talking to her and telling her the story, she started to call him. She said
to me: “Look now I’m calling the community to find out if there are places“. Before
she phoned the community, he called me. And I was there with the phone in my hand
and looking “What do I do, answer or not answer?”; and she says to me: “Turn off,
turn off the phone“. And I say: “That if I turn it off I can’t go home and he’ll kill me!”.
And she says to me: “Nobody’s telling you to go home, turn off the phone!”. I turned
off the phone and said: “What am I going to do now if there are no places in the com-
munity, where do I go? I can’t go home because he’ll kill me!”. And then she says to
me: “If there are no places in the community we will find you a place somewhere else,
you don’t have to go back there”. There was a place and I went to the community.
That for a week I can tell you I didn’t feel safe, in the sense that I kept expecting to see
him, that he would find me. I don’t know why, I was really afraid that he would come
and the nightmare would start again.
She asked me: “Do you want to press charges or not?”. In that moment I said: “Yes, I
want to do it“. She said to me: “Think about it hard because you can get documents
without pressing charges.” In that moment I said: “Do I get documents or not, I don’t
know, I’m not interested, I only want him to pay. Not just for what he did to me, but also
what he did to the other girls and for those who will come after me“. And after I said:
“I’m pressing charges“. I wasn’t that sure, I was afraid, but I said: “I have to do it“.

When I ran away to Bologna to go to my cousin, when he broke my nose, I went to the
bathroom in the station and there some Italian girls saw me. One stayed with me and
the other went to call the railway police. They convinced me, more or less, to press
charges, that I could rest easy and press charges. But I wasn’t sure because I said: “in
the end I’m in a foreign country, who am I? I am nobody, a foreigner. It could be impor-
tant or not”. And when I went to emergency, they told me to go to the police and press
charges, and then I was convinced. In the emergency I said I would call the police and
press charges and they said: “Ok, all right go to the police station here in the emer-
gency”. I went there and the police started to say to me “But…you… what job do
you do?”. “I haven’t worked I told them: “Because he didn’t let me, he kept me locked
in the house“. “Ah, sure, you didn’t work!…”. “But — I said — you don’t under-
stand! He was my boyfriend“. “Yeah, sure, he was your boyfriend, sure! However if
you want to press charges you have to go to the police station“. I was a little upset,
and I was angry because I was in a situation where I had nothing, that kind of thing.
I left, I went to the station and I said: “Forget about it, you’re not going to report him,
I’m not going to do anything given that…”. And I went to Bologna and in Bologna a
Rumanian boy told me this thing, that if you press charges they will send both of us

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            back to Rumania. I didn’t know exactly how the law worked, how things were, I did-
            n’t know about Article 18, because we don’t know these things. And when I got to
            the community they explained it to me and I felt more sure. After I talked with my
            mother and she said: “Look he hurt you, I agree with you, but you have to hurt some-
            one to!” My mother seems strong, but in reality she is weak and she made me have
            doubts again. After I called my sister and told her: “What do you think? Should I report
            him or not?”; and my sister told me: “Do what you think is right“.
            Let’s say she didn’t answer me, but she convinced me that I knew pressing charges
            was the right thing to do. After my mother told me that it was important for the doc-
            uments, I needed to do it. The documents took seven or eight months, nobody
            stopped me and nobody sent me home, but at least it was right that he went to prison,
            for that I reported him, not for the documents. I was a long time with the documents,
            I can’t try and see what it’s like with documents or without documents. I was a long
            time without them and I saw that one can live in Italy anyway, it’s not such a… who
            knows? You can also live without documents. When I said to E. “I am ready to press
            charges, I’m sure“, she told me “Okay, all right, no problem”. There in the commu-
            nity they told me to think about it, whether I was ready to press charges because in
            the end you talk about what has happened, but you are the one who was in the situ-
            ation, you know what risks you are running, if you don’t feel safe you don’t do it. She
            told me that I would have documents without pressing charges anyway, it takes
            longer but it can be done. But I said: “Okay but I want to press charges“. Now that
            the trial is coming up, I’m starting to feel a little nervous. Last week I went to the
            police station, I did a photo Identification and honestly I didn’t think it would have
            that impact, just seeing his photo without seeing him in person… What’s happen-
            ing? That I feel blocked and won’t say anything? Because I’m afraid to say the wrong
            thing that could be used in his favour, that helps him get off.
                                                                                    (D., Rumania)


… And that of the clients
            The client-saviour-boyfriend is often a decisive figure for the decision-making
            process and the idea to leave the street life..

            My boyfriend, who basically I got to know as a client, although we have more of a
            friendship, and after a while that I trusted that person and I told him the truth, he gave
            me the last push really, that is, he convinced me to quit. I met my boyfriend, he came
            to my place on the night that was very special for him. He came and we only talked.
            He invited me often to have a coffee and I went to the bar near my house and left my
            telephone number. When my cell phone rang I ran home to answer because in the
            bar you could hear too much and the “pimp” would get suspicious.

               And how did you get out?
            I was at work, I had had a big fight with the “pimp” because lately he was really stress-

 124
ing me for money and, then he also hit me that day, so I called my boyfriend and left.
   Where did you go?
I went to my boyfriend’s house, I was there for a month and something. Sometimes I
went out, I was always with him, I was afraid, really scared, and there had been a lot
of threats to my family. Basically, when I ran away I changed my telephone card right
away, but I kept the old one, to keep control of the situation, to see, to leave a bit of
time to explain to my parents what had happened. Not the whole truth but a little
something, because they, they didn’t know anything so I preferred to tell them myself
that I wasn’t with him any longer because he mistreated me. Rather than have “the
pimp” call and tell them I did that job there.
                                                                          (A., Albania)

In some cases the girls can’t find the courage to inform those who want to help them
of the real dangers ahead and of the criminal level of their exploiters.The story below
tells of just such a positive move.

This client I was talking about I knew that I was putting him in danger but this was
the only choice I had at the end and I thought when they are behind me, the Albani-
ans are managing me, in the end what happens to me, I can’t leave.
This guy was 34,35 years old and I said to him. “Yes, I agree to come away with you,
to stay with you“. And he says to me: “When?”. I say: “When you like“. But he came
as a client I talked like that with him, not on the telephone. He said to me: “Let’s do
it on Saturday. I’ll get the house ready, the house is free, I’ll take you there and you
can stay in the house there.” I say: “All right“. He comes on Saturday fortunately,
it seems that God wanted it that way, it was stronger than me, even with the fear, I
said: “I have to do it, the time has come“, I was really convinced , I said “What hap-
pens, I have to escape, I can’t take it“. I could see that I was destroying myself, but
I was exhausted, I was sick, these Albanians often hit me, they didn’t give me mon-
ey, they were always around me, I thought about how much I had worked, or they
could tell me how idiotic I was or, how they said to me, “Whore, slut, you earned a
lot of money, you did a lot for t us, take a million lira , take home to your son, give
your son nothing.” I even had a picture of my son, they took it from me and they tore
it up. It was a Saturday, before the holidays, in December of 2002, before Christ-
mas. This guy arrived, this man, I got into the car with him, I had brought a pair of
pants, I didn’t take much stuff, as much as I could put in my purse. He arrived, we
had agreed on two in the afternoon, I don’t remember, I got in the car with him,
before I got in I looked around a lot, I say maybe they are hidden, fortunately, I could
see that they had stopped to get a coffee, I don’t know what happened, they weren’t
around, I got in the car and said: “Now we can go, the faster we go the better it is for
me“. He says to me: “Why, is there somebody around?” I say: “no, no, there is
nobody“. I knew that it was risky, with him, and with me, I’m sure that if they had
caught me this last time that I ran away today I wouldn’t be alive, they would have
killed me, I knew too much, too much really, I was in their group that dealt in drugs,

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      and prostitution. And I went with him, I ran away with this guy, he took me to his
      house, I had a shower, he talked, he said to me: “I’m going shopping, to get a few
      things, let’s go out tonight“. But his house was in Milan. I said: “No, I don’t want to
      go out at night“. He said to me: “I’ll keep you company tonight“. I said: “No, I don’t
      need any, I need to rest“. Really I needed to be alone, I had just left the street and I
      was scared, I don’t know, I didn’t feel like it, I felt as though the world had ended for
      me, I kept thinking that these Albanians had my house number, and the cell phone
      number of my brother.
      Yes, they telephoned, they, the Albanians, threatened my brother when I ran away.
         Did they ask you your house number?
      They found it, I had written it down. I was there, a week away from Christmas.
         And therefore your brother found out.
      “S., we want S.”; my brother said: “There is no S. here, what do you want?”. They
      said: “Listen, tell her when she comes home to come back here, where has she gone,
      tell her to come back, if not it will be worse for her and for her family”. My brother
      said: “Look you’ve got the wrong person, there’s no girl named S. here, you’ve got
      the wrong number”. My brother said this, he didn’t know anything. After when I
      talked to my brother, I called him and said: “What the hell have you done for them
      to be looking for you, what have you done to make some say they’re coming to kill
      me, kill you, what have you done?“. I said “Nothing, I haven’t done anything, this
      thing happened, I had a boyfriend, I had a fight with him” and I kept on making up
      lies, I never told my brother the truth or my family. I couldn’t tell this truth, only I
      knew it, but I didn’t want to tell my family. And I stayed at this guy’s house.
         Did this man live there too, was he at his house?
      Yes, yes, he was at his house. I was there until January the third 2003, the third of
      January 2003 A. came, A. got me and took me to a safe place. And A. asked me, said:
      “You did a lot to save yourself, you are very strong to make this choice because the
      group that you were with…”. I talked with him and he talked to the police station in
      Milan. “You were very brave to save yourself”. Because I always said I was afraid, I
      couldn’t take it, they’ll find me, they’ll kill me. A. said to me…: “Nobody will find you,
      nobody will kill you, don’t worry because we will take you to a place where no one will
      find you“. And A. took me to a place where I stayed for 20 days. But these twenty
      days seemed like twenty years to me, at night I dreamt of everything.
         Were you in a community?
      Yes, in a community called Pronto Intervento.
         Where were you?
      In Abbiategrasso. I was there twenty days, it was like twenty years passed. I had crises
      at night, I woke up sweating, I said to the girls: “I can’t take it, I’m sick at night, I’m
      dreaming about everything”. I was going crazy, in the end the girls gave me valerian
      to help me sleep, because I woke up in the morning all…; what I went through, what
      happened to me, everything I dreamt, I had crises. And after I was there for twenty
      days, A. came to visit me, I talked with him, he was happy still. He said: “I’m happy
      that you managed to save yourself“. I said: “I wanted to do it for a long time but I was

126
afraid“. A. tells me:” I know it, that you were scared and I can understand it, but you’ll
see that everything stays inside, little by little you’ll be able to get out. And I, like if I
were crazy, when I say A. I said:” A. they will not find me, A, they will not find be”. And
I kept telling him this thing. He says:” no, S. they will not find you, don’t be afraid. We
will help you, everything is fine”.
                                                                           (S., Moldavia)

Sometimes the figure is more complex transforming itself into the policeman-
boyfriend-Saviour (even if the relationship develops afterwards).

At Desenzano, a plainclothes policeman stopped and then became my boyfriend, he
told me I could not stay there, because in Sirmione in certain areas you weren’t
allowed to stay; but I was only there because I needed a ride, even if I was dressed for
work. I was afraid that he was a “boss“, I was afraid but he said to me: “Look at me,
I can see you’re scared, but I’m not a boss, I’m a policeman“, and he showed me his
ID. He said to me: “Get in the car, where do you want to go? Where do you live?” I
told him that I lived in Brescia, in a hotel that I can’t remember now, I was so scared…
He asked me my nationality and I told him I was Hungarian, he asked my age and I
told him. He said:
“Tell me about yourself, I want to know where you live, who you live with“. I told him
a few lies, but he already knew about me because, as he later told me, he had been
following me for a while. He said: “I could see that you were different from the oth-
ers, that this wasn’t your place, that you didn’t want to be there. I could see that you
were always disappearing so you didn’t have to work so I started to investigate you“.
                                                                           (E., Rumania)

As previously mentioned, relations with the police are not always so positive.

When the police got me it was the worst of the worst, because… After having worked
and after a couple of hours of work, and you’re tired, you’re dirty, you need a show-
er, to eat, to rest, you find yourself In the police station, humiliated by policemen who
treat you in a certain way… as if you were an object and that’s all, you are an unde-
sirable person who must be sent away, out of Italy, and that’s all, you are an object,
that is… as for the rest…you can’t eat, you can sleep, they leave you on a chair all
night, there you can’t talk, you must be quiet, because you are bothering them,…
you must obey; and then… you have to pass the whole night on the chair, without
eating without sleeping, without washing, without resting.
                                                                             (A., Albania)




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Ten repatriations and as many returns
            As we have mentioned in the previous chapter, attempts at forced repatriation are
            often futile.

            They put me on the ferry, there on the ferry were other Albanians, other guys who
            could hurt you…they could rape you, nobody cared about you… you were just…you
            weren’t anybody, you were nobody, you were just… a…woman… a female…I
            don’t know…an undesirable person in Italy being taken away and in the ferry they
            could do what they wanted to you, nobody cared, when you got off at Durazzo, at Val-
            ona, there was the brother of A. who got me… When he picked me up I felt protect-
            ed, anyway, in this… After all these things I felt badly treated by the police and well
            treated by A. and his brother, because it was them who… who helped me; after A.
            came to his brothers too, he waited for me there in Durazzo or at times he came with
            me on the ferry, that is he got on after me were ahead of me and when the police went
            away he got me and protected me from other people who could hurt me, to later…
            go back, that is … we went to Valona or Durazzo, where the ferry went and we came
            back in again with the rubber boat. This story happened 10 times.
                                                                                     (A., Albania)


Providential encounters
            At times casual encounters in moments of severe crisis become decisive.

            I was alone, I went down where the trains are, I sat down and thought: “What
            should I do?“, because I had no money to return, and a young man saw me…
               Italian?
            No… he sat near me, and asked me: “Why are you crying?”, and I said: “What do you
            care?”. And he said I will help you if I can”... I said what’s happening and he said:
            “Don’t cry, come with me!”.
               Did you tell him everything?
            Yes, and he took me to a bar, he got me a coffee, and told me his name… He said
            that he was Arab and not Albanian and said if you want to stay till tomorrow, after
            tomorrow until I take the train because I have to go to work, and so I stayed with this
            guy, I was OK with him, he didn’t hurt me and after he bought me the ticket and took
            me to the station to get the train and said to me: “When you get to San Severo, call
            me to say you are there, so I don’t worry…”.
                                                                                   (M., Bulgaria)

            One night in the car with a client I started to cry desperately, I asked him for help. He
            asked how he could help me and I told him he could take me to my Moldavian friend
            who was at a hotel. He took me, it was a mountain hotel.
            He was Italian, I started to cry like a baby, and he asked me: “What is it?”. With a few
            words we managed to understand each other, because I still didn’t speak Italian. He

 128
was about 40 years old. I explained where I wanted to go, the hotel address and he
took me. He stopped along the way to ask directions. When we arrived I said: “Thank
you for everything”. He gave me 200 euros: “Keep it. You never know”.
                                                                    (R., Moldavia)

At times we see a real escape managed by the girl herself in which contact with the
law does not take place right away.

In the end, G. arrived, the meeting was wonderful, I felt reborn, I felt free because I
had my passport, I had reconquered freedom, my only fear was now the police
because I was illegal (no permit) , we arrived at home, I met the other girl, we began
to cry with joy, she told me that she had been really afraid because they didn’t know
what he would do to me, they had no more news of me. We both stayed in the house
for two months, we only went out sometimes at night but we went far away because
we were afraid.
                                                                       (E., Rumania)

At times pressing charges brings the first contact with police or carabinieri as if the
girls were waiting for the first chance to get rid of the heavy yoke.

She said: “Enough work tonight — and she said — do you want to come with us to
press charges?”. “Yes, I want to come with you…Why? Because I have problems with
a guy“. — When they heard “Come with us”, they said. Then I said: “I don’t want to
stay here in Italy because I don’t like working in the street, I want to go home to Ruma-
nia…”. They said: “We can help if you want to charge that guy… There is a center
for women like you…”. I said: “All right…”. I pressed charges.
                                                                            (A., Rumania)

Viceversa,the decision-making process to press charges against the exploiters is tor-
mented and difficult in many other cases.The relationship with the law is often made
up of persuasion attempts alternating with open threats.

The police got me, after Christmas, and therefore the Commissioner talked to me…
He said: “Press charges please“. First they took me in many times and six times before
they asked me: “Report him”; instead I knew that he knew my sister but he didn’t
know that she was my sister. When I worked for those two, we could say for exam-
ple: “All right — I say — you have already brought me in“. And the guy who brought
me in with his colleagues said: “Listen, we can help you, but we need your help…
You have to tell the truth… You need to report him, then we can get your pimp and
you are free…”.
Yes… For a whole month I was on the street… And the police followed me, they
took me and… the commissioner said: “Listen, we want to help you, report him…”.
And I said: “Ah, … You’re joking“, I was talking like that and he said: “Why are you

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      talking like that?”, and I said: “Because, before they asked me the same thing, and
      you sent me to jail, now you want me to believe you?”. And he said “Ah but, now we
      will go to the police station and you’ll never get out.”
                                                                            (A., Slovenia)

      The stories of threats as deterrents for the girls, undergone by the families of origin,
      are frequent.

      They called me at home, they made threats, they said if I reported them they would
      burn down my house and do something to my little sister. That day when my grand-
      mother told me I went out of my head, I called Marco, I was furious not so much for
      the house because even my grandmother said that it wasn’t for the house because
      she has another in town but I… When I heard the part about my little sister I became
      a lioness…I told Marco this too: “Something happens to my little sister, I’m telling
      you, I don’t care about you, or the permit, or Italy, I’ll walk back to Rumania on foot
      and those guys are dead”.
                                                                               (E., Rumania)

      No, it’s not that I didn’t trust him, but I was afraid for my relatives at home because I
      said “All right I’ll report him then, I’m OK because they can’t do anything to me here“,
      but my relatives at home don’t know anything then they get this awakening, what do
      I know, they get trouble and they don’t know why, and they’ll hurt them, I don’t want
      to put in the end of them I said that if… It’s not safe that they know everything about
      me, the carabinieri, know that I’m Rumanian. In the end they told me my name (she
      laughs) where I lived and in the end I said: “All right, I’ll talk, I’m Rumanian” and
      that’s what I did because they started to laugh when they saw and it was all over.
                                                                                 (N., Rumania)

      I said to the inspector, “I don’t want to report him - I said -; “But why don’t you want
      to?”. “Because the same things they did to you they will do to other girls“. I’m sorry
      but there are my relatives, they have always threatened me, they said: “Don’t wor-
      ry, we’ll deal with this“. Then… They managed to convince me, they brought a
      lawyer there, I don’t know why, he said this, a lawyer said this, that he would be avail-
      able for anything, and I told everything, they recorded everything, they asked me…
      They showed me some photos, and of this guy, the second Albanian, they already had
      a photograph, and I recognized him and said “Yes, it’s him”; they didn’t have a pho-
      to of the first, because he wasn’t arrested, the only thing they knew about him was
      that he had been in prison, charges pressed by other girls, because he worked with
      another girl who he had brought to Italy…

      Then when I was in Bari that guy there… The second Albanian who got me, he got
      my daughter and me, they took my daughter for nearly two weeks, they went to my
      mother’s house and took the child and went, it was a time when I had to take back the

130
charges, because they told me “If you don’t lift the charges I won’t let your child go“.
I spoke to everybody in the police station because I said:” I lift the charges if they let
my daughter” but my brothers said: “Don’t worry, look out for yourself we’ll deal with
the child“. Because he came when there was no one at home, my brothers were at
work, my father wasn’t there, there was just my mother, my brothers went to his
house, they found the girl, in fact they shot him in the foot, they said they would kill
him , we won’t kill you because I’m not going to prison for a person who’s not worth
it, but before they got my daughter I said to my mother, “Be careful, because I told
them everything, and I reported him“. But my mother said “Don’t worry“, because
they didn’t expect him to do something like that, getting the child, so my brothers
went and beat him up, they made him understand, they said: “This is just a taste, if
you try it again we will shoot the other foot”; there was my mother screaming, “And
you know your son what he did to my sister there“, he said, so they got the child. He,
wanted to go to my house again and make things worse, my brother threatened him
and said “if you come there you come home dead, they said. And since then I don’t
know what he did, because he never bothered my family again. My brother said: ”We
taught them a lesson, if they come back…”, and they didn’t show themselves, but I
think that he at least… Because the lawyer in Bari told me “don’t lift the charges
now, don’t let him out, because if you lift the charges now they won’t forgive you…
They will do… The same thing will happen again… They’ll take your child... They’ll
hurt you just the same- he said — because they scare you…”. So I didn’t lift the
charges, I said “I hope they get them“, and before going to the first session the inspec-
tors came again to show me photographs of the people; I said “I know them, only I
don’t know if the names that I know are real..”
                                                                           (E., Albania)


                                                                       The risky job of volunteers
Contacts with volunteers, when feasible, prove to be a very positive element in the
choice of getting out.

   The day you decided what did you do?
I called a volunteer, he came often there, I used to talk to him, I relied on him because
they knew… that we were exploited. He gave me his phone number, he told me:
“When you decide…” and so it was. One day, when I said “Enough, I can’ t stand it
anymore” I called, he came to take me. I was in Abbiategrasso for two weeks, always
home without going outside, the time to find a community and then I went away.
                                                                             (L.,Albania)

I took the number and I called A…I say: ”A. I am the girl and I told him the name I
used in the street, I want to talk to you”
And he says: “Yes, when?”. I say: ”when it is possible, today, but I have a problem, I
need to go in a place, pretend to be a client who wants to take me in a place”. He says

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           to me: ”All right”. This client took me to my place, after half an hour A. arrived and he
           says to me: ”Where do you want to go?”. And I say:” Let’s go in a parking place because
           I have people watching me”. And he says:” I know, I already saw this. Let’s go in a
           hotel so we can speak”. We went to a hotel and we started talking and I recounted. I
           say: ”There is a group of Albanians who are exploiting me, I’m in the middle of the
           street, I want to get out but I’m afraid, I already tried to escape once , twice, I tried
           but the Albanian caught me. Once I escaped by taxi and they caught me at the Cen-
           tral station of Milan. I’m scared. When you stopped they took your number-plate and
           they know the car”. A says to me: ”When you find us it’s the right time to save your-
           self, I help you, don’t worry”. I say:” A: I’m afraid that they can find me”. He says:”
           Don’t worry, no one will find you. I take you in a place where no one can find you,
           nobody will hurt you”. I say:” A. I’m, scared”. He says: “Don’t worry, when you decide
           , you feel like escaping, call me and I come and get you” This was our agreement. I
           went on a little bit longer, me like this, in the middle of the street. A. used to come and
           tell me:” when you need to see a gynaecologist, you need blood tests I can help you,
           don’t worry there is an association who helps girls in the street”. A. came pretending
           to be a client, many times he gave me money to pretend to be a client. I go with him
           right now, I go with him and may be I can have blood tests to check.
                                                                                        (S., Moldavia)


Social protection programmes
           Applying to social protection programmes is perceived as a liberation from a night-
           mare even if there are problems.The comparison with previous earnings,even though
           completely seized by exploiters, is frequent, as well as the hurry to materialize future
           plans.There is a strong need to be able to help their families of origin ,a way of redemp-
           tion for what has happened.

           I go to two schools, one for Italian and the other to get my diploma and I also worked
           as a tailor for a month. I take care of an old person at night but I only earn 400 euro.
           But what can you do with 400 euro? It’s not enough, I need to help my family. But I
           can’t work more because they tell me that I’m still young. Ah, I’m young. I’m too
           young here but in Rumania I’m not too young! I know how to work. I want a job, any
           job, even in the fields. Also….I love so much to work in a pizzeria, in a bar, I did these
           jobs for a while in my town in Rumania, because I want to buy a house in Rumania
           and then I go there to work only a little so to be able to eat.
           I want to stay here, too. I have a friend here, who works here to send money to his
           family and to my family, too because he told me that now when he gets the month’s
           pay he gives me some money to send to my mum in Rumania. Last Sunday he gave
           me 100 euro and he sent some gift to my family.
                                                                                     (E., Rumania)



 132
Even with the conviction that the times and welcome procedures are necessary, they
stress the undertaking and the fatigue that they imply.

Yes I was supposed to go on to a second shelter but then I was hospitalized because
of my headache, let’s say, due to stress, because it’s not easy to stay a year in an asso-
ciation, I stayed a year because I had troubles with my permit to stay, I had no doc-
uments. My mother sent me my birthday certificate, I was sick, for me it has been a
terrible experience, then I was hospitalized for a month, headache, I lost my vision
for a moment, I couldn’t’t see that well. It was all due to stress and nervous break-
down, because in that period I behaved really bad, I rather respected people, when I
recovered I said:” No, it’s not possible, I couldn’t’t do these things” then a month lat-
er I got out of hospital , they made me get in touch with second shelter, and I went, I
was so happy, I went and I spent five months there.
                                                                            (E., Albania)

The hurry to regain independence is very frequent,above all in girls who experienced
short term exploitation; those who were exploited longer and more harshly consider
the community as a safe place full of protection.

We cannot go out every night …I don’t know…because I don’t like that much stay-
ing in that house … I want a job by myself, a house by myself…
   Are you a very independent person…
Yes… for instance now I go out with my boyfriend and I come home at four in the
morning…those girls tell me: ”Why did you come back at four in the morning?”.Now
I talk to M. and I speak like this because you don’t follow rules…I don’t like….I like
to behave, I like to do what I want…I don’t know…yes, but I said straight away” I
want a job and a house on my own…”
                                                                      (A., Rumania)

Sometimes jobs prove to be other than easy and they require a strong determination
from the girls.

I work in a factory that duplicates videotapes…It’s an hard job, I have to open lots of
tapes and put them in their boxes… My hands are all ruined, look..(she shows me
her hand all marked and red). We stay in the cold, the store is heated , but doors keep
opening and tapes come in … and I have, how do you say it in Italian?
   Chilblains?
That’s right, chilblains, but I’m happy, I was very lucky, and people from the
municipality helped me a lot…I have to go away from this house now, I’ve been
here for a year and three months…they kept me here until I found the house. But I
was very difficult because they want 400, 450 euro a month for the rent.
Now finally a friend of mine left her house and she asked the owners to let me go in,
she told them that I am a good girl…I’ll pay 300 euro a month. But, you know , I keep

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      sending money to Rumania, first of all I want to buy a house there… A house in Ruma-
      nia costs about 10.000 euro…2 rooms and a bathroom.
                                                                             (S., Rumania)

      Different points of view between the girls and the people in charge or the social work-
      ers in the shelters occurs and often the horizon seems very confused

      I went to work in a factory on purpose, I came back home dead tired and they also
      wanted to hire me. It was the hardest job, in factory producing chairs, at the packag-
      ing section. But I didn’t’t give up until Sister C . spoke to me quietly and convinced
      me to leave the job. When I started working in the camps she said :” Let’s see how
      long you will stay!”. I remember that I used to clean crates and crates of salad with
      really cold water, but I didn’t’t say anything.
      I used to work 12 hours a day but I never complained that I was tired. Then I went to
      Piancavallo and talking to the boss, she made me the head, then in Lignano I worked
      in a hotel belonging to the Church, I went on working for two years during the sum-
      mer. Then I got to know the clients, I felt at home. There came groups, families, they
      didn’t’t pay a lot but the service was good. During the winter I used to go to Piancav-
      allo. Extra hours were considered as days off and in fact I went back to Albania.
      Despite all the problems I would have stayed , I didn’t’t want to go back, but I didn’t’t
      know anymore anybody there, no one reminded of me. Everything was so different,
      I only had my family. After five years all my friends had changed. I kept delaying my
      departure , I stayed there overall two months.
      Then I went back to work but I had problems with the chef who really didn’t’t want to
      work that much and I had enough. The personnel was exploited, everybody worked
      so hard but they paid you so little and so I went to work in Caorle for the lady who had
      helped me escape. There I did a good season…
                                                                                 (E., Albania)

      The rules of the shelter programmes are not always understood and accepted.

         So there are rules but not too severe: you’re telling me this. Is it hard, for instance,
         not to call the family for a month?
      Yes, that month yes. When I slept I couldn’t sleep, at 4 at 5 in the morning I didn’t’t
      sleep because I was thinking what could have happened to my dad, because he was
      sick, I didn’t’t know if he was dead or he wasn’t dead, and I was scared. The social
      workers, too knew I couldn’t’t sleep, I kept crying thinking of my home, hoping that
      nothing had happened, that everybody was ok. I’m not that kind of person that if I
      don’t talk to my family for a month I don’t give a shit.
      I miss it so much, so much. We are in our room and I cry so much, my friends tell me
      ”But why do you cry?”. “What happened and I can’t talk”. “And I know, I know”. For
      me that month was like a year, a year for me.
                                                                                 (J., Rumania)

134
Girls are very worried about being able to change their lives,they hope that what they
had to suffer wasn’t useless

I won’t’ go back… until I can stand…I came here with a pair of pants and I go back
with a pair of pants? Now I look for a job …I work and then, when I feel better…I go
back… to say hello to my parents…Then I come back here… if they are ok… If they
don’t feel good … I don’t know…what can I do? I want to stay here, I want to have
money, to have a job, I cannot stay here without a job, without money, without any-
thing…
                                                                      (A., Rumania)

He works in the court, he’s a clerk. Yesterday, too we were at a dinner together judges,
lawyers, and with their wives. I often go with him . I’m a little bit shy, everybody was
talking and instead I was silent. If I get worked up I make errors while speaking. I
went to school and we had a training class to find a job. Now we are at 3rd grade of
secondary school and in March we’ll start a computer class. I’ve problems with dou-
bles, but I like to study. If I want to go out at night I only need to inform them.
Now it’s better, much, much better. There I had my own room but if I heard Grammy
doing something I felt like I had to help her. They really helped me so much: I also had
problems with alcohol , but they always supported me. I always felt obliged , like if I
had to: now this, too is better I felt suffocated, I really worked so hard. I learned to do
everything: the mattress, then I stripped paint off the furniture , I did tapestries,
everything. I called mattress companies or sewing firms but it’s not easy. I have no
experience as a tailor and also I’m no longer an apprentice. Three months have passed
by now, then we’ll see if I can assist the elderly for a while, but not 24 hours a day; I
would like to invite my mum and my daughter next summer.
                                                                            (S., Moldavia)

Sometimes all attempts to go back to one’s country do not end up positively and the
girls asks and obtains entry to the shelter again, as testified by the story of a Molda-
vian girl.

So I decided that I had to take care of my life. I was convinced; I called Antonella, here
at Caritas; I wanted to go back. I told her I would have given back the money for the
travel.
They bought my flight ticket, they made me call, and I came back. I went to Ruma-
nia, they put the…and I came back here. I came back on August 2003. I arrived then
with the legal document. I arrived in Milan. A guy who works for Caritas came to get
me. They put me in an apartment in via XX Settembre for a month. Then they told me
that after the first aid (intervention) I had to enter the community. So I came here in
the community and it’s already six months.
                                                                           (R., Modavia)


                                                                                              135
The need to leave the burdens behind
           After pressing charges,it is not always guaranteed that the girls will be willing to tes-
           tify in court against their exploiters. Even more than fear, is the need to forget and
           leave everything behind.

           It will be a difficult time because you still need to deal with the men from before, but
           to make them all pay for what I went through I would go and testify. That is, maybe
           I’m saying it now because I’m not in the situation to say exactly what I think. Maybe
           I would go or maybe I wouldn’t go, I don’t know. I would go, I told you, only to make
           them pay for what I went through. But maybe I wouldn’t go because I don’t want to
           see them and I don’t want to remember anymore. I want to forget and that’s all.

              Listen, D. did two things: one was to bring you to Italy and organize that job, and
              this was your agreement,and the other,that wasn’t the part of the agreement,was
              making you have relations with him. Which of those two things, thinking about it
              now, makes you angrier? Why do you say “I’d like to make him pay for it”?
           Both, both because anyway he didn’t respect our agreement and he also took advan-
           tage of me, something that we hadn’t spoken about at all.
              Did he also take advantage of you in the sense that he took the expenses out of your
              fifty percent ?
           But of me completely, that is he made me come by one night, he threw a box of con-
           doms in my face because I was supposed to learn to have oral sex, through tears, with
           tears in my eyes, in the end I did it. Then the gestures or the…that they terrorized
           you not physically but…psychologically.
              Therefore it was also more difficult to defend yourself.
           In my country we say it’s better that you give me a slap than tell me words that hurt.
           That is, I didn’t prefer it, for the love of God, not the beatings either but anyway…
                                                                                      (N., Rumania)

           In some cases collaboration with the girls becomes decisive with the arrest of the
           exploiters,evidently a very dangerous role as we see in the detailed story of a Ruman-
           ian woman.

           And the carabinieri told me: “V. Good that you only worked today! Now help us to
           get these men” and I answered “Yes“. So when the Albanians called me and asked
           me “Where are you now?”
              Did they see you crying so much that day?
           Not much, only when they called me to tell me: “Why are you down?”. And I said:
           “Because I’m a little bit cold…“; that day they weren’t around as much as the first
           day.
              They trusted you…
           A little bit yes, I saw them because I knew the car with the license plates BG. After I
           was with the carabiniere, they brought me something to eat, to drink, fruit juice, but

 136
I was desperate, I was scared that they would come there, too where the carabinieri
were, the Albanians. They told me, don’t worry, V. They called a Rumanian girl who
spoke with them in Italian and translated what I said. When they heard that I have
three children they said: “God , three children, oh God, so young, you did well not to
do this job“.
   You were saying that a certain point your cell phone rang…
Yes, “Where are you?”. The carabiniere told me: “V., when they call you say you are
with the client, for € 300 and that you are in a hotel . “Where are you?”. “I am in a
hotel with a client“. “V. Don’t cry on the phone“, the carabinieri told me. “Yes, I am
with a client, I am in a hotel with a client and he paid me € 300”; and they said: “Good
V.”. They were happy that I was with a client who paid me € 300.
Good, the carabinieri said to me, “What time are they coming to get you ?”I knew that
they were coming to get me at 5:20 in the afternoon.
Then they called me again: “Where are you, we never see you in the street? ”I told
you that I am with a client who is giving me another hundred euros if I stay with him
longer. “What time are you coming to get me” I say.
“Eh, you know what time the appointment is, at 5: 30, 6: 00 near the pizza place“. I
knew well where the pizza place was. The carabiniere also heard what I was saying
on the phone.
And so a good-looking carabiniere got dressed in plainclothes, and another with a
gun in the car, a normal car, acted as though he was a client with me. After the cara-
biniere said to me: “V. Go down and see if you can see their car” and I said “I’m not
going down there, I’m scared” and they said “Don’t worry we are armed. You can go
without being afraid“. I went I saw that they had stopped the car, I came back.
   I didn’t understand, you got out and went toward them?
Yes, I saw them, while I was going toward them but they didn’t see me; I came back
quickly toward the carabinieri and I said “Yes, it’s them, that’s their car“. I was dying
of fright but the carabinieri made me stay down. Then they started talking on the radio
and at t a certain point they turned on the sirens. They got quickly out of the car and
made the two Albanians raise their hands, they searched them and on them they
found my documents “What are these?” they asked. Then they took them to the sta-
tion to question .They took their cell phones. I was shaking all over. They also took
me to the station and put me in a room with the window and I could see the two Alba-
nians but they couldn’t see me. They were the two that I knew well.
   There were two but the third?
The third who was the boss wasn’t with them. Then the carabinieri said “V. Now go
and phone P. and tell him that you are in the hospital and that there was an accident
and that the other two are severely injured. Tell him to come to the hospital right
away.” So I called him “Eh, come right away because P. and P. are hurt, there has
been a car accident. I’m in the hospital too“. When he got to the hospital they appre-
hended him and he saw me too.
                                                                          (V., Rumania)


                                                                                            137
New romantic experiences
           Rebuilding non traumatic relationships with the opposite sex, it is in many cases
           extremely difficult and delicate.

           All right, I think after I’ll get engaged to somebody, and we can say I’ll get married, that
           I have my family; no, I don’t think this… because there are many things that my
           boyfriend did to me, he really hurt me you know… and therefore sometimes when I am
           near the church and I see a man, or a young guy, I’m afraid… It’s not easy for me……
                                                                                     (A., Slovacchia)

           The existence of romantic relationships is accepted by some structures and it is impor-
           tant that future plans have a common negotiation and definition.

           He wanted me to go with him now, because he does a job where he could also get me
           a job, but it wasn’t possible, for the fact that here they want the girl to be self-suffi-
           cient, and this is right so as not to become dependent again. He is happy that I am
           going to second shelter, and happy that I am well, we can be together on the week-
           end, the second shelter is near his house. Here basically I see him every month,
           because they know him, both the inspector and the Association, and they trust him,
           because at the beginning I didn’t say anything, I didn’t say I had a boyfriend… They
           got to know him, he came here, he talked with the director, with the inspector and
           they understood that he is a valid person.
                                                                                      (A., Albania)

           In the support programmes , often we see a deep refusal of the girls own co-nation-
           als (women included) and the male figure.

           I can’t bear them, I can’t do it. And Sister G. said to me: “S. look they’re not all the
           same, there are good ones and there are bad ones“. When I went for the interview
           with Sister G. I said: “I hate them, I can’t stand them, I can’t stand being together with
           the Albanian girls“. And Sister G. always said to me: “S., you have suffered a lot with
           the Albanians but you can’t see the people, you don’t know them“. She helped me
           but I still have this hatred inside of me. I hated the Albanians. There was one girl with
           an Albanian child. I, nothing, for a while I hated her. They really hurt me so much that
           I see them all as bad. This girl has suffered but I always saw her as bad, when I saw
           her I began to shake, not only with her, but also with another Albanian girl. I stayed
           as far away from them as possible, I didn’t stay in their company, and I got it into my
           head, what bad things these Albanians had done to me, maybe they had suffered, I
           said the girls that introduced you were Albanians, to me it seems as though all Alba-
           nians want to do bad things. There were some times when I was here, I talked with
           Sister G.. And I told her about it, and she stayed close to me, she helped me. I had
           terrible dreams at night, here too I’ve had some crises, I dreamed. And after I told
           Sister G. these things and she said to me: “You have a past in your life but it’s some-

 138
thing that was real, you have to face it and not try and run away from it“. But what
did I do, I tried to run, to forget about it, but you can’t do it. After a while Sister G.
found me a job, outside Crema, in Pandino. Whenever I went to work I saw the Alba-
nians around, the face, maybe the people, I saw these Albanian guys, I watched, I
thought, those were pimps, I saw their face, they stared at me and I saw them. Once
I told D.: “D., I got out from work and I saw an Albanian guy. From faraway I thought
that he was a pimp and I said, my God it’s him, what am I going to do“. But in the end
it was a normal guy that I had never seen before. After I began to hate all men, all
men made me sick, even to Sister G. I said: “Sister G. all men make me sick“. I could-
n’t bear them, I had this hatred for the Albanians, for men I said to Sister G.: “I have
never been in love, I don’t know what it means, but I hate, I have this hatred inside of
me, I can’t stand it“. And Sister G. said to me always: “S., it takes a little time, all
these four years, everything that you have gone through in these four years, it’s not
small thing“. I always had these crises. In the end Sister G. helped me, talking to me,
being close, talking. These crises kept happening to me. Once I went to work, in
Pandino, but while I was going to work I found myself in a bar. The crises had arrived.
                                                                          (S., Moldavia)

The relationships between the girls themselves can often be complex and full of con-
flict.

   You live together and are of different nationalities, is this a heavy thing?
No, not for me, because for me it makes no difference if the girl is Albanian, if she’s
Ukrainian, if she’s Bulgarian, she… they’re all people. I have a heart too. When I
came to this house two girls had differences with the black girls, I didn’t stay quiet, I
spoke, because… I don’t like it that there are differences because we are all equal,
we are all equal. We have a heart, if I was moved… I said to this girl: “Leave them
alone, when you want to talk, talk to me“; she said “you see“ or they left her alone in
the living room or she stayed in her own room because she always talks to herself, I
went to the room, I talked to her, I cried with her, I don’t know, that girl for me is like
a sister.
   This coloured girl you say?
Yes, for me she is like a sister. When she was there thinking and didn’t want to talk
with me, and after instead she came to talk because I know how to make people talk.
   Therefore you understand her desire to be left alone at times.
Yes, yes. The Bulgarian girl says: “Ah, but you haven’t cleaned the house, why
haven’t you done this, why did you eat this“. They also said this to me because I don’t
like pasta, excuse me but I can’t eat it, it makes me sick and I don’t want to die (smiles)
I am young and I don’t want to die now. I eat what I like. I was quiet, one day I ate
the pasta and then I went to the bathroom and I vomited. I don’t like this food, I like
potatoes more, at home we always ate them, with little oil, with salad. Perhaps I am
difficult with food. I’m difficult because I don’t like a lot of food but I like a few good
things. And pork, chicken, turkey I like. I don’t like pasta.

                                                                                              139
           I was really sorry for that girl, I don’t know, the others are envious because when I’m
           with her I always laugh with her and when I am with them I don’t talk and I don’t
           laugh. When I came I didn’t talk to them and this girl when she talked she made me
           laugh. And after they said “Call that girl because this girl doesn’t want to talk with
           us, she doesn’t want to laugh with us“. When I arrived I was very shy because they
           saw how I was... It was heavy for me, a month here of crying (sighs)
                                                                                     (J., Rumania)


Future prospects
           The future prospects of the girls are often in the balance between the idea of staying
           in Italy and the ties to the country of origin, as we see in the story of a Ukrainian girl.

           I wanted to go back to live in the Ukraine but then I saw another way of living, here
           it’s easier, people are better off. But when I phoned the Ukraine, my mother-in-law
           told me that she didn’t want to stay with the child, she told me to come and get him
           otherwise she would take him where there was no mother and no father (orphanage).
           I didn’t know what to do. Then I thought of bringing the child here but she was scared
           that she would be alone. Because she is 50 years old and cannot find work. I can
           understand her but she really hurt me. She told me: “If you don’t come back tomor-
           row I am going to the orphanage, I’m saying that the father and the mother have left“.
           I said: “Listen, I can’t come back tomorrow, it’s not so easy to go all that way, I need
           some time. Give me a week”; and she said “All right, I’ll wait until that day and if you
           don’t come I’ll go where I said I would“. I spoke with D. (Head of the community)
           because she is older, she gives me good advice. I didn’t know what to do, whether to
           leave the job, I worked in a factory for four months. I went to the boss and I talked to
           him, he was really sorry, I didn’t even know if I would be coming back. He said to me:
           “If you come back, come here and we will see what we can do for you“.
           I arrived in the Ukraine but to bring the child to Italy I need the signature of the father;
           but the father wants money for the signature. When I arrived in the Ukraine I want-
           ed a separation, I went to the police to find the father but I wasn’t able to find him,
           maybe he was in Moscow in Russia or in Germany. I didn’t know what to do. I bought
           a house for my mother-in-law and the child.
              How did you manage to buy the house?
           I worked in the bakery and with this money I earned in Italy I bought a house for €
           16.000, it has to be paid over 18 years, slowly, slowly. When my son is 18 years old
           the house will be his. My mother-in-law is calmer now that she has the house.
              How old is your son?
           A year and seven months. But I am glad that he is there. I went to the notary to set
           everything up, that she should look after my child and can’t leave him. Everything is
           fixed up with this. When my son is 18 years old if he wants to come here, he will come
           here; in 18 years I will be more stable.
                                                                                       (Ir., Ukraine)

 140
   What are your future plans?
To tell the truth I have already achieved something, first of all I’m happy within myself,
I must say that this is a lot for me and then I have a job, thanks to the community, the
nuns who really work hard, but it’s not easy, I’m talking now because I’ve changed,
but I remember that at the beginning it was different, I was always nervous, it’s not
that it’s me and the others are better, I understand much better now, not before, com-
ing out of the life that we lived, more or less all the girls are really nervous and it takes
a long time for…
   To find a bit of peace.
Exactly, it takes a long, long, long time. And therefore I am really grateful; to the nuns
here where I was always really fine, I always come and visit them because even if I
live outside now, that was my dream, I must create a life for myself, not because I was
badly off here but I knew that this was not my home, that my life was not to stay here,
that I could do more. Now in this moment I have a home, I have the job and that’s
important.
                                                                              (L., Albania)

   Would you like to stay here in Italy?
Yes, I would like to stay here in Italy, I want to bring my son. Even though it isn’t easy
for my son, he grew up there, the school, everything there, these things, it’s a bit dif-
ficult for him to study with the Italian language here, I want to stay here to work. I go
home to see him, I send him money, I want him to grow up well, so that he doesn’t
lack any of the things he hasn’t had in these years. When he gets a bit older , maybe
with the tourist visa, I can bring him here.
                                                                         (S., Moldavia)

The need for freedom and the idea of being able to plan one’s own future after expe-
riences of slavery is present in many stories.

    There was always a worker with you, even at night?
Yes, always, it was good there even if it’s better here. I like freedom, I need to be free.
Since I was little I couldn’t go anywhere, I have never been free. I like air, I like free-
dom.
    What do you do with your freedom?
I like to be able to do what I want, of my own mind. However I always talk with G.,
she helps me a lot too, she does a lot for me. We were in Milan, in Rome, to get a pass-
port but they didn’t give it to me because I have no documents. They gave a permit
for E., but I have no other documents.
                                                                      (S., ExYugoslavia)




                                                                                                141
The importance of information
           Some very interesting indications on information strategies needed to have social
           protection come from a Rumanian girl who is very determined to help those who are
           still in the hands of the racket. She herself puts her finger on the problem confirming
           that if there were no demand for paid sex there would be no supply either…

               In your opinion in Italy, could there be information points… A way to get to the
               girls to help them get out of the exploitative situation?
           Yes, yes it can be done… For example, a girl who works on the street, and I also read
           in a book, it’s true that it happens in a life like that too, that there are many clients
           who say to you: “I’ll help you“. You put a little faith in them, when you are desper-
           ate, a little faith, but in the end they do nothing and when a person who can really
           help you comes along you don’t have the courage to trust them. I don’t think it should
           be advertised more, but that there should be these street workers. The first thing is
           that the girls should have their health checked, and in that moment, when health
           checks take place, talk about the communities and the chance of being helped, so
           that they know. There isn’t another way to do it. It could be a client, a man, some-
           body with good intentions who wants to be near the girls until they get out and make
           a normal life, even think about getting married, but if the girl was given the run around
           the first time she won’t trust anymore and won’t believe anything she‘s told. And also
           to help them understand better the way the law works. Because, if all goes well, I
           escape, but who helps me, the Italians? When I have 30 to 40 clients every night who
           are Italians, sometimes it can happen that a more or less important public people…
           I think the way to get them out is by getting them to trust you. And that there be more
           street workers …
           But it also depends on the girls, because there are also many clever girls among them.
           one guy said that he had a girlfriend who worked on the street for him and he had
           another five. Normally he stays in the car behind, to see what the girls are doing, but
           he watches his girlfriend more closely. In that moment, the one who is his girlfriend
           knows which is the car of street workers and can make trouble for the girls… I don’t
           know, probably they have to pass themselves off as clients otherwise by morning the
           girls will be black and blue from the beatings. I think the Italians also have to under-
           stand that if there is no clientele there is no market.
           If the Italians were more careful… probably there wouldn’t be these problems. I
           remember that I read the story of a girl, the writer at a certain point says that the girl
           managed to escape with the help of the police and they caught the pimp and, you
           know what the pimp said?: “When the clients arrive and say“go on, run away, run
           away, I’ll help you to have a better life’ , they don’t think of me as the one who is giv-
           ing them new merchandise!”. In the sense that the client goes and says: “Look, you
           have to make a new life, you have to change, so…”, but in the end they take the serv-
           ices. In that moment I thought that the pimp was right, because they make all this
           noise but they want the services, if she leaves, they bring new merchandise anyway,
           that’s fine by the clients…

 142
But also advertising on TV, because many girls watch TV and listen to the radio, for
green numbers, that would be easier, I think. After, there is also the problem that a
pimp can send a girl to see how things are, this can also happen! This is what I thought
when I went into a community that was easy to enter. It was lucky that it was E. who
brought me directly into the community, without going to the police first. I had a black
eye and for this reason E. believed me. When I came into the community, a month
and a half passed before I pressed charges. I was thinking that the same way I had
entered, other girls could enter as spies. For this reason I was afraid: “Who knows if
the next one will be his girlfriend!”.
And the second thing I think is that, to avoid the arrival of such girls, they should do
programs in Eastern Europe, to know where the merchandise comes from, like here
in Italy. Because in Rumania I saw two programs of this type, the rest no… And all
the friends who hear say: “How beautiful Italy is, everybody has money and cars!”;
and you who live in Rumania and don’t know what the life is like there, you can’t
know… And if you see an Italian, normally he is well-dressed, good-looking and,
you think it’s all like that, that it’s normal! People in Rumania can’t understand
because there is no prostitution, there is nothing. This is not the truth, I think that
they should give information also in the countries from which the merchandise comes,
from which the girls come. If you are not only working here Italy, you don’t achieve
much. Because it’s the oldest profession in the world, you make money, you can only
make it decline a little, but make it disappear? It will never disappear. And to send it
into decline you have to attack from all angles.
   Therefore, when you were there you didn’t imagine that things were so difficult
   here…
No, I didn’t imagine it at all. I knew that there were girls who worked on the street,
but I didn’t know that there was a pimp, that they are obligated. I knew that they
come here, that they agree to live this life, not that they are obligated, but that there
are girls who don’t even know that prostitution exists in Italy. Let’s say, I knew
because it’s all over the world. But there are girls who don’t even know where Italy
is. It would be good if they knew it in Rumania too and in all the Eastern European
countries… I don’t know, these are the problems: that they don’t talk about sex,
about protection methods, they don’t tell you anything! You don’t know prostitution
exists, you don’t know how life is in other places, some guy arrives and makes a fuss
over you, takes you with him and you fall in love with him. And when you are here you
have to do what he tells you, you have to dance the way he tells you otherwise you
lose him. But it isn’t the fact of losing him because you love him, it’s the fact that he’s
the only one you have, you don’t know anybody… This is why the girls find it so hard
to get out after a few years, because you get out then in the end you see the easy mon-
ey and after you’re out, you come back and think you can work alone: “Now I’ll do it
the way I want to, I’ll only have one client per night and I won’t be obligated…, and
they come back and do the same job… for this reason it’s good to know where the
girls who enter the community come from.
Lately I heard that the coloured girls are disappearing a bit from the street… What

                                                                                              143
      have they done to make them disappear? They need to do that with the girls from
      Rumania, too! When they arrived here, deceived, and work in the street, they prefer
      not to go home, they prefer to continue in this life. They tell their parents: “I work in
      a pizza place“, and instead they work in the street…

      I had a good idea about the community. I think that the girls who want to be helped
      can be helped. In the police station, the same. I got the idea that they were interest-
      ed, but at the same time one hand washes the other. The girl presses charges and you
      give her documents, because there aren’t very many girls who have the documents
      without pressing charges. I agree a bit with this, because if the girl decides to press
      charges, it means that she wants to get out for real, that she wants to change her life,
      but taking time to think about it, pressing charges as a choice, not to have the docu-
      ments. However I have a good impression, but what it means to help the girls leave
      the street life has to be worked out better… And the fact that the time it takes to
      obtain a permit to stay should be shorter. It’s true that it’s good to have 2 or 3 months
      to calm down, to leave everything behind, but after those months have passed, you
      start to panic and think: “My permit hasn’t arrived, the trial is coming up, I have no
      work, I have no money, I have to depend on…”. I am young, but there are girls who
      are 30 years old and it’s hard for them to go back and say: “I go out at this hour, I come
      back in this hour” after having lived a life where you don’t have to answer to anybody
      and nobody asks anything of you, it’s a bit difficult.
      I’m happy to do these interviews, because I think that with my help they can do bet-
      ter things to help people who need it. I remember that when I did the interview in tel-
      evision, they didn’t show my face, a friend asked me why I did the interview, what
      good was it. I told her that if there is an interview on TV and a girl has an experience
      like mine it helps her to go ahead, to escape, to find a possibility. For this reason I
      think that interviews are useful, that more or less, what I learned and what I know I
      got from the interviews, even here in Italy, and from books that I read about the girls.
      I remember that when I entered the community, I felt like the last person in the world,
      I started to read books about girls, I wanted to read them, the workers didn’t want me
      to, because it’s hard going… The fact is that I saw the stories of things that happened
      to me too, and worse... And I said: “I’m not the first and I know that I won’t be the
      last, but I can go on“. It’s good to know, because you see that it didn’t just happen to
      you, and you don’t need to be ashamed, and you can make a better life, and not be
      ashamed to accept things the way they are.
                                                                                (D., Rumania)

      After this careful and surprisingly lucid examination that touches every note of the
      recovery strategies and contrast in trafficking, we conclude with a brief excerpt in a
      different tone by an Albanian girl with considerable experience on the street, where
      a kind of dreamlike innocence seems to be an understandable refuge with respect to
      the desolate present.


144
My experience was hell, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I saw a lot of girls and 50% of them think that it’s important to have money.
Some of them hope that they will marry their boyfriend, even though he exploits them.
I always liked the film Pretty Woman. I hoped that it could happen to me like that.
While I watched the film I cried. Sometimes it’s good to dream because it makes you
forget things. I always hoped.
Now I feel fortunate. Also because I have found some really good people, who have
always loved me.
                                                                        (M., Albania)

It is definitely important that information be understood clearly by the women, for
which reason the first contacts by workers or police should include linguistic-cultur-
al mediators who can help to create trust in the woman, who has learned to distrust
institutions.

    I’m asking you this because it is important for us to understand… whether it is
    important to have a person who can explain in your language what is happening
    to you.
But anyway I understood Italian, I understood it well enough but I wasn’t able to
speak. When I made my statement nobody translated for me, I did it, I spoke.
    And you spoke Italian.
Yes. That is, with them it is important to have a person of the same citizenship… It
is from your country because then you can speak differently, I don’t know.
                                                                      (N., Rumania)

   What did they tell you in the police station?
But …?
   That they were sending you home, or…
Yes… I believe… Because you can’t talk, they asked I didn’t know how to answer
because I didn’t understand. The first month I understood only... “Where are you
from?”, “You are pretty?”. I only understood this and explaining where places were
like: via Cavour or something else… other words it was the first time I heard them.
After I slept in the police station and after Saturday morning a Ukrainian girl arrived,
her name is Natalia, she helped me to speak.
   They called an interpreter?
They called an interpreter, she spoke to me, “Stay calm, it’s all right, they can help
you“… And so I answered these questions… And after Saturday afternoon I went
to Silvi Marina where I was before. On Saturday right away they gave me this coupon.
                                                                         (T., Ukraine)




                                                                                           145
                               10. Some conclusions
                                   and work hypothesis
A very important element was to verify how many of the girls were extremely interest-
ed and happy to have the chance to tell their story.This chance to “give the women a
voice”motivated most of the people who then accepted to take part in the research.
In some cases the girls themselves asked to be interviewed even if the proposal was not
made at first because they had been in the shelter for a short time.This was a clear con-
firmation of the good quality of the methodological approach, carried out with great
care and respect toward the people who felt themselves protagonists. Also,there is one
aspect to look at again on the front of training workers who have direct contact with the
users: listening to the stories in their uniqueness is one of the most relevant factors for
proposing a change in the lives of the women who,in general,have not been able to give
voice to their needs not only during the prostitution experience but often also during
their previous lives.

The expulsive factors emerge from our research as dominant with respect to attracting
factors; the decay of the socialist system has often left rubble that ends up imprisoning
the families and social strata that are the most needy.
From an integral reading emerges an image of these Eastern countries that is one of
degradation, extreme poverty, but not just material poverty, also a cultural and edu-
cational degradation that seems without hope, in which one feels a strong need to
intervene in order to give back dignity to every person in full force, in the countries of
origin before Italy even. Beyond this, the strength of family scripts is evident, where
violence,submission,and feminine devaluation are often unbearable.The episodes of
sexual violence inflicted by relatives, neighbours, and work colleagues, are unfortu-
nately recurring.
The escape finishes however, not by chance, by replicating the exploitation conditions
that were rejected.

Another clear element is tied to the changes in flows: presently there is a significant
decrease in Albanian women, contrary to the increase in girls coming from Rumania.
The women who come from Rumania are very young,with much shorter periods spent
in prostitution and often a greater knowledge of what can happen on their arrival in our
country.Often they come from previous prostitution experiences in nightclubs or more
frequently,apartments.
However in all this greater knowledge that would characterize the more recent experi-
ences, with respect to those coming to Italy a few years ago, we need to be rather cau-
tious: none of the girls interviewed ever imagined what conditions they would find
themselves in, believing that trafficking was only possible in the case of kidnapping.
Many of them probably shut their eyes,wishing to believe in the good faith of those who
proposed jobs in restaurants and clubs, but this does not change a thing in the level of

                                                                                              147
      deceit and coercion suffered.The role of boyfriend - deceiver - exploiter (very common
      in the experiences of Albanian women some years ago) does not seem to have decreased
      completely and represents a recent occurrence in the stories.

      The journey becomes at times the unveiling of a tragic initiation where the criminal net-
      works display their organizational capabilities and determination.The stories of the trips
      from Rumania and Moldavia to the Balkans in Albania… before entry into Italy, were
      particularly significant.The involvement and complicity of the border police often turns
      out to be heavy.

      As for the criminal structure in Italy,it should be noted that at times the stories allude to
      solid and efficient criminal groups,but in other cases the exploitation (at least in the ter-
      minal moment) seems to be in the hands of small time criminals.
      The role of the women is growing while the role of Italians remains marginal (more tied
      to a sort of logistics and services accessory), while the subject of prostitution in apart-
      ments is different.

      In these cases the exploitation seems slightly more prone to agreement-making and a
      less disproportionate division of the expenses.
      In each case the interviews confirm a heavy and systematic use of violence,the persist-
      ence of forms of control and asphyxiating“kidnapping or compounding”, which makes
      most girls say that prostituting yourself is “barely better than dying“.
      Indifference, even where very young girls are concerned, seems to be prevalent, even
      though there is no lack of clients or casually involved people bringing it to someone’s
      attention. The bitter impression remains that, substantially, things that were inadmis-
      sible are permitted with the bodies of these young foreign women.

      Once on the street or in an apartment there seems to be a fair awareness of the risks tied
      to prostitution: both in terms of health,in fact the women speak of having protected sex-
      ual relations (one case of a broken condom led to a pregnancy that was then interrupt-
      ed) and in terms of working in apartments in which the girls normally do not work alone.

      Most of the stories make reference above all to the phase before the beginning of the
      collaboration, to a very strongly negative image of the police forces, both in the coun-
      try of origin and in Italy.The feelings expressed in this regard are generally ones of wor-
      ry, anxiety and fear. They are particularly worried about being expelled from the coun-
      try for their lack of documents and permit to stay; but there is no lack of physical fear,
      the fear of experiencing more violence and humiliation.
      To that we add that the girls are often made to believe that the police are corrupt and
      complicit with the exploitation network, and many of them have direct experiences of
      this before their arrival in Italy, in the countries of origin or in the countries through
      which they passed on their journey.But although initially there are not too many clear
      signs of complicity,the stories testify to a police force that is often unfeeling toward the

148
problem,that has a careless attitude,and attitude of insensitivity if not violence toward
the girls.
Reports and dragnets rarely seem to be precursors of collaboration by the girls, rather,
given the conditions into which they are forced (forced to stay in police stations“for entire
nights seated on a chair, without eating, unable to wash themselves”…in grim
places…) they are unable to develop feelings of trust.
The police measures rarely seem to be chances or pretexts to supply the girls with cor-
rect information on laws or inform them on concrete ways to leave the racket. Often
instead the possibilities of access to a“shelter program”and therefore the possibility of
obtaining documents is subordinate to making the girls press charges,and we must rec-
ognize that this is a true misinformation action.
This takes on particularly negative relevance also because the police forces are often the
main and only State representatives with which these girls are able to come in contact.
The problem of having adequate information is therefore crucial, and apart from the
police station and the hospitals (in particular,emergency units) there is a need for infor-
mation on trafficking ,and the workers need to be better prepared to deal with these sit-
uations or have a contact within people in charge of the projects to at least try to have
the girls talk to prepared people. Often it has turned out that girls could have avoided
several months of prostitution if somebody had informed them of Article 18 or if the
health workers had been a little more collaborative.
Resorting to forced repatriation appears to be grotesque and inadequate for solving the
problems.
Therefore it seems more opportune than ever to extend the invitation to the competent
bodies to lend support to adequate projects of awareness and basic permanent train-
ing courses in this area.To this end it would be extremely interesting to compare the
results of our research to the training course organized by theVeneto Region for securi-
ty workers (this is a training course involving urban security workers from the territory
of the partnerships of the project W.E.S.T. and carried out by the Veneto Region, Edi-
tor’s note).
Given the clearly delicate nature of the task,there also need to be forms of joint evalu-
ation by the forces of law and order.

Intervention strategies for confronting the phenomenon of trafficking naturally need to
be programmed in collaboration with the countries of origin with which,if it is true that
we wish to confront the phenomenon, understandings and shared strategies must be
consolidated,and exposed to periodical evaluations to make the most of resources and
aid. Also in Italy, a collaborative network between the forces of law and order, public
social services and volunteers must be reinforced.
The basic function of the last is out of question however in various stories there emerges
the absence of any desire of contact with institutions,bodies or social services,as if they
were completely absent.Therefore their organization and distribution in this country
needs to be thought out again,or perhaps the strategies and intervention methods need
to be re-evaluated.

                                                                                                149
      The people’s traumas emerge clearly from the stories.What will happen to all these trau-
      matized people? Not only those who have entered social programs,but also those who
      could not and will not be able to have access to them?
      Are the social protection projects sufficiently equipped for the complexity of the tasks at
      hand? From the interviews we can see the delicate nature of the course of their lives and
      the problem of integrating the girls’plans with those of the structures and programs.
      Recently it has become extremely difficult to help the girls become economically
      autonomous: there are few jobs,the jobs there do are poorly paid ,rents are often unap-
      proachable and the cost of living in general is high.
      Support for these programs is basic and needs to be consolidated,strengthened,qual-
      ified without resorting to dangerous shortcuts that, in an illusory way, shift in prostitu-
      tion from the street to a hidden situation,make believing that everything is fine.

      It also appears to be crucial to promote the opening of a serious debate between the
      political and unions powers and other humanitarian associations until the terms of the
      problem are disseminated , and actions, initiatives, programs and measures are care-
      fully reconsidered with and in the countries of origin,too.

      We must not forget the educational aspect above all in terms of young people. One of
      the girls who was interviewed posed an interesting and emblematic question on shared
      responsibility,saying: “How can the Italians help me when they are our main clients?”

      It is therefore necessary to work with intellectual honesty and without hypocrisy and rec-
      ognize the differences between the various problems of those practicing prostitution by
      choice (at least within certain limits) and those who are victims of the terrifying phe-
      nomenon of trafficking. A country that wants to call itself civil cannot ignore, or worse
      still, not appreciate forms of violence and trafficking in human beings like those with
      which we have come into contact through this experience.




150
                             Annex
                               The case of C. from care worker to apartment prostitution
We wish to dedicate some space to the experience of a Rumanian woman because it
represents an emblematic example of the precariousness of numerous migratory
routes. In fact, the protagonist goes from a job looking after the elderly to apartment
prostitution.Her story illustrates numerous aspects of prostitution in closed places as
well as the particular forms of organization and exploitation, based on continually
moving the girls from one place to another. The exceptional nature of this story has
pushed us to present larger excerpts in order to clearly show the evolution of the expe-
rience and the various elements of play. The situation of a family nucleus (C. is mar-
ried with a son from a previous marriage and the daughter from the present husband)
in migration, after six years of living in Italy, she suddenly transforms herself…

   Why did your husband choose to move to Italy?
Because in 92, his father worked for a year in Italy and he really liked it, OK, at the
beginning there were few foreigners, but he really liked it, he was a driver for year.
My husband had Italy in mind, he said that there were many people who could help
him, that they can help us, give a hand finding a job, finding a house but when we
came my father-in-law had worked in Domodossola for a woman who was already
elderly and who had economic problems and she couldn’t help us and so he choose
Padova because some Rumanian people had already come and so they gave him a
hand.
Yes… the little girl, another child, I left the baby with my mother, with my other son
and went back to Italy, I got my permit to stay and started to work.
I worked for another year and after I wanted to live on my own, because there I worked
permanently and we got an apartment in Padova. After two years I brought my
daughter to Italy and I continued to work like that.
   You only brought your daughter to Italy, but why did you leave your other child at
   home?
Because my mother didn’t want to give him to me, because my mother raised him
from the time he was young and she wouldn’t give him to me. She’s very attached
to him.
   Did you suffer over this?
Yes, a lot because my son knows me as a sister, because when I gave birth, I left him
and went with my husband. Then I came to Italy and then sent money home but he
knows me. My mother, had to tell him: “Come to Mummy, come to Mummy” there-
fore C. knows me as a sister, certain times I went home during the holidays and my
mother said she is your mother, “No she is C., you are my mother.”
I suffered because with my first son I had a difficult pregnancy, but I couldn’t give him
a future in Rumania and so I left my daughter there too. Later I came to get my daugh-
ter, here, she had started to go to nursery school, I worked at the same time…

                                                                                            151
         How did you get to know these nuns?
      Casually, I went to church. After I became also how do you say, a union representa-
      tive for domestic workers, in Padova. I was doing all right with the work, I had a house
      with my husband who was a driver. Both of us were legal with a permit to stay.
      I started to work as a domestic, full-time, yes, I had my own room, live-in, I was in
      live-in maid, I had one free day a week. And because my husband was often there,
      both of us lived in the house, he was fond of us but unfortunately he died. After he
      died the daughters no longer wanted to keep us both because they said that I would-
      n’t give enough care to the lady that the lady had problems with depression and there-
      fore I had to stay with them that they thought that with my husband there I wouldn’t
      give her the same kind of care, and so they wanted him to go and me to stay. I worked
      like that for nine months…
         Then where did your husband live?
      He went to Padova, he rented an apartment that he shared with other people, but I
      wanted to be with my family. First, to bring my daughter over and to have my own
      house and my husband nearby, we went on like that until my husband took up with
      a group of guys who had girls on the street and brought girls from Rumania.
      I wasn’t very happy, we started to fight. He started to beat me, I had my job, I had my
      daughter, things were okay, we had done okay all those years and all of a sudden
      there was jealousy, fear of the police, he stopped working, I went to work just the
      same. He brought these three girls, it all lasted a week.
      After nine months I decided to go to Padova and be with my husband, and therefore
      quit working for that family. To go to Padova, to live with my husband and with the
      hope that one day I would be well set up to bring my daughter over…So it happened,
      I went to Padova, I found various jobs cleaning houses, as a domestic. I started reunit-
      ing my family, doing all the documents, I got a visa for my daughter, I went to Ruma-
      nia, I brought back my daughter, she started nursery school and after a year my hus-
      band took up with a group of guys who kept girls on the street and he said to me “Aren’t
      you tired after working, you always arrive in the evening so tired and I can’t take it
      anymore“…
         How did he get to know these people?
      He got to the parks and meet other Rumanians, with his friends, he got to know these
      guys, and they had girls on the street and so he decided that he would bring three girls
      from Rumania…
      He went to Rumania and found these three girls who were already prostitutes in
      Rumania, they danced in nightclubs and he proposed it to them.
      They accepted and came to Italy and came here, to my house, and I didn’t get along
      with them, because there was jealousy and fear of the police, I knew what a risk it was
      and I started to fight with him, I didn’t get along with him and therefore I told him to
      take them away, to forget about it.
         They knew what job they’d be doing in Italy?
      Yes, because they behaved badly with me, too. I had to cook for them, I had to wash
      their clothes and in front of the child, there was my little girl, to go to work they wore

152
a minimum of clothing, a little bit of modesty, and I didn’t like this and fought a lot
with them.
   How did he get to know these girls in Rumania?
He went to Rumania and he got to know them there, through other guys, he asked
and then he met them and then they arrived illegally together with another guy who
knew the street life.
   How did they arrive?
They went as far as C. over there, they bought a car and passed through customs to
Italy with a passport, I don’t know how they did it, they came here by car to Italy.
   Your husband went to get them?
No, he stayed in Italy with me, they arrived in the evening all three of them and it last-
ed a week, one girl went, the police made a dragnet with all the girls in the street, one
made a report stating that there had been no threats and nothing happened, they
caught all the girls. One was willing to talk and tell everything, so they knew. The
others no , they didn’t want to talk, they said that it wasn’t true, they say that in the
house they minded thei r own business, they rented us a , it isn’t true therefore they
denied everything. I never saw the other girl again.
My husband was arrested, after a week the police were at my house in the afternoon,
they put them in handcuffs and took him away, I was left with 20.000 lira, with my
daughter who has heart problems, she was monitored with an electrocardiograph,
I went to the hospital and I wasn’t supposed to get her upset; I had to pay three months
rent, all the bills, the electric bill, the nursery school and my husband arrested. I went
to a lawyer who asked for 3 million lira. I sold the things I had, television, stuff, the
gold my friends gave me for my daughter, to pay the lawyer and I paid 3 million to
lawyer who wasn’t interested, it didn’t work, I wanted to get him out.
   What did the girl who had pressed charges against him say?
She told the truth, how she met him, how she came, how she worked, how she gave
him half of the money.
   What were the agreements between your husband and the girls?
To give them half the money, that I cooked, that I did everything for them…
No, he was like…he wasn’t like before, he had changed, he fought with me, every
once in awhile he hit me, because I, I too said, but, it’s no good like this. The girls…
I was really jealous in fact, that three people arrive at your house, in your life, before
it was okay and it’s not like before, I was uncomfortable, but I cared about him.
Because I said that he was my true love not the one who was the father of my son when
I was 17 ?, I really thought he was my soul mate, because for the first five years every-
thing was fine, he never hit me, nothing. We got along very well, until this thing hap-
pened. When he was arrested I had 20.000 lira and my daughter with me in the house
and they didn’t know what to do, I went to another lawyer, he wanted 10 million to
get him out.
   How many years was he condemned to?
There was no trial because he bargained, he bargained and I started to work more, I
worked for a cleaning company that cleaned at Omnitel. I worked from four in the

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      morning, I left my daughter alone in the house and she had breathing problems and
      also adenoid problems.
      I left for those few hours, three hours, I arrived at eight o’clock with my heart in my
      mouth hoping she wouldn’t have suffocated; I went to a social worker, I went to court
      to the public ministry to explain the situation and she saw me even though she was
      against my husband but she listened to me.
      She always took me with the child and listened to me and I had to enter the house
      secretly because I had no money to pay the rent, and already three months of back
      rent not paid, there was the gas bill, they cut off the gas and I couldn’t cook anymore,
      the light, I was exasperated and went to the hospital with my daughter.
      She was operated and right after the operation I left her alone in the house. I had
      no money. I worked, I got up at four and went to Omnitel, cleaned, I had different
      people that I cleaned for, at 4 in the afternoon I got my daughter from nursery school
      and then went to a gym where I cleaned, too.
         In the meantime your husband was still in prison?
      In prison, yes, on Saturday I went to see him, two or 3 km by bike to the prison because
      it was outside of the city.
      In the meantime he got out of prison, he bargained, after six months he bargained
      and they took his documents away that he was expelled and sent back to Rumania…
      I stayed here in Italy and those two girls that didn’t report him, got in touch after six
      months. They came to my house, what a sight!!… loaded with gold and money.
         After the drag net they left your house right away?
      They got all three but one talked and the other two no, they were released and came
      to my house in the morning, but the carabinieri said: “Look, if you keep these two girls
      at your house we’ll arrest you too“.
      Because they had been tapping the telephones and therefore could see that I had
      nothing to do with it, otherwise they would have arrested me too, taken away my
      daughter and arrested me, because they said that I was bad with them that I had
      thrown them out of the house that they told the truth and I said, girls I’m sorry I can’t
      keep you that you‘ve already ruined me. I can’t keep you here because otherwise I’ll
      go to jail and so they left…
      And they come back after six months all beautiful, loaded with gold and money and
      I ask them to lend me some money and they say …
         Why did they come back after six months?
      Because they had to, they told me, they had been working in various apartments,
      therefore, they were working as prostitutes but no longer on the street. After my hus-
      band was arrested, they went away and met an Italian man who had apartments, sev-
      eral apartments and so they were in touch with him and they started to work but in
      apartments…
      Because they were supposed to work in Padova, and because they arrived a day
      before they stopped at my house.
      When I saw them after six months, well, I received them at home and we started to
      talk. I asked them a loan to be able to go home because it had been a while since my

154
husband was released, they had been there since a month when my husband was
expelled. I wanted to go home to see him and have him see my daughter, and I ask
them for money, a loan, and they told me no, we can’t give it to you, but if I want they
can help me, anyway I had many debts, I had only paid the lawyer half, I still had debts
because the money I got I took to my husband in prison, food, cigarettes, I gave him
money and a little to the lawyer, and I wasn’t interested in paying the rent anymore
because I had a debt with the bank of 15 million lira and the bank persecuted me,
they phoned me telling me to come and pay.
We had a family, home, a job, now here I am with no documents, with nothing, back
in Rumania, you are there, I am here… he knew he was wrong, and therefore these
girls wouldn’t give me a loan, but they proposed that if I worked for six months I could
pay all the debts and settle my money problems, put money aside.
   Did they tell you what you had to do?
Yes, they told me: “We will introduce you to a person, this person will tell you what to
do…we can’t help you more than that, we’re sorry but it’s not right that we have to
screw for money and give the money to you“.
I started to think about it. In the meantime, I went home to Rumania, I left the child
with my husband and came back to Italy…
The trip is not expensive, it costs a hundred/a hundred and fifty euros. With the bus
  100, with the train even less. I went home and left my daughter. I talked with my
husband and I told him that now I was alone, he said to me “Stay here in Rumania too
and we’ll start again here“. I told him I wasn’t staying in Rumania. I have children
and I have to think about them, everything has gone to ruin in here in Rumania, we
have no house, your parents cannot help us, my parents cannot help us, here I have
no life to give to my children, and I blamed him: “And it’s your fault, your fault“, any-
way I felt bad, here’s what happened…
   How was the relationship with your family?
Good, my mother has never known what I did, however I sent money to her every
month if I was working, through a lawyer, even if my husband was in , I always had
€ 100 for my mother, always...
   Was this money enough to live in Rumania?
My mother worked in the fields and got 20 a month. Let’s say that the rent is€ 50,
she had my son to maintain.
   Your father didn’t give anything to her ?
No, my father remarried another person, I had my sisters to think about who were
studying, I had taken it on to help them, in fact I have a younger sister who’s very
clever…my mother said to me: “no, you have to go to professional school, so you can
start to work right away, but she wants to study, you can see that she has the stuff for
University“. I decided: “no, if you feel like doing this thing I will pay for you, I want
your dreams to come true“. I don’t know, I wanted to study foreign languages at
school but my mother said to me “You have to go to professional school to have a job
and then you can earn, therefore I wasn’t allowed to study, I went to school to learn
embroidery, I am good, but I don’t really like it, I did it because I had to”…

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         When your mother saw your husband arrive alone in Rumania didn’t she ask ques-
         tions?
      Yes, but he always told lies, my mother doesn’t know what’s going on here, at home
      we said to friends, to people, that my husband had hosted some illegal foreigners,
      that in Italy you can’t host illegal foreigners; the police discovered it and because he
      wasn’t working they sent him away, they took away his documents, they sent him
      away. I was working so I stayed.
         What happened when you came back to Italy?
      I came back to Italy alone, I was alone, alone…and I contacted that person, that Ital-
      ian man who was from Treviso. He lived with the Rumanian girl. He was married, he
      was Sicilian, he had a family in Sicily but he lived with a girl. He was about 55 years
      old and he lived with the Rumanian girl who had children and she was a prostitute
      too. I went to see him. He worked in the north. Not that he worked, he dealt with cars,
      he bought cars. In the meantime before I took my daughter back to Rumania I con-
      tacted this person and I went, I met him for the first time in the station in Padova, and
      there was all this caution when he said to me on the phone: “I will be dressed like this
      and you will see me with a newspaper in my hand and you will follow me”…All this
      caution, I didn’t know what would be like that. I went to talk with him and he explained
      to me: “Look, I have various apartments all throughout Italy, you work there, you
      work one week in one apartment, after a week you go to the other apartments and
      then you have to give me 50% of the earnings“.
      I told him, I thought that I could go in the morning and come back in the evening and
      I told him I couldn’t do it because I had a daughter…When he heard that I had doc-
      uments he was very surprised, he said: “Ok if you have documents they can’t do any-
      thing to you I can send you to any of the apartments, if the police come you can’t…and
      think that in a week you can earn € 3000, 4000, € 5.000 therefore you work three
      months and you will be fine“.
      I told them I couldn’t do it because I have a daughter, he said look think about it and
      then call me later.
      I thought about it, I brought my daughter with these intentions, that when I came
      back I would start to work. I went, I took my daughter and I left her there. I told my
      husband “I’m not staying in Rumania. I’m not giving up my documents and I am
      going back to work, I will send money, you in the meantime find yourself a job and
      carry on like that“.
      I came back, I contacted this person, who was very charmed because he worked with
      the Rumanian girls, and those two girls who my husband had brought worked with
      him and he had a little apartment in Treviso for the girls, one where he lived with his
      Rumanian girlfriend and two children, and I know that he had been working for 10
      years with the girls. After all the stories about buying girls from the Albanians, from
      the Rumanians, that he had places to rent, that he rented to the Albanians, to the
      Rumanians, that he had a street and Albanians to keep the girls in the street because
      they had to give money to him.
         Did he work alone or with other people?

156
I don’t know who he worked with at the beginning, I think he worked alone but he
knew Albanians, Rumanians, when I knew him he was alone with his wife. All this
business with the apartments lasted two years, before I came in, before I knew him,
therefore his wife had worked in the street and she knew various people, after they
began to work with the apartments, it was the wife…
   When you talk about a wife do you mean the girl he lived with?
The girl he lived with, because she said she was his wife, she went to the apartments,
she became a friend…in these apartments there were Colombian or Dominican girls,
who were ex-prostitutes who had worked in nightclubs and had opened, because they
were a certain age, 35 years old, they had opened these apartments and through ads
in newspapers got girls, therefore they knew this person in Treviso who sent the girl
he lived with at the beginning.
   His girlfriend continued to work for him?
Yes, yes, she continued to prostitute herself. When I knew her no, because she was
pregnant, she was expecting the third child, but went to work just the same, she want-
ed to, and she said that: “I…- because he had been in prison, he had been arrested
2,3 times for exploitation and she worked to get him out and she said — I want to
work because I can’t stay at home and see the other girls and tell myself that they
have to go and screw for money and I am living off their bodies. …I get busy, I want
to work because I can make more money than them“.
   Excuse me, but she had clients even though she was pregnant?
Yes, she worked when she was pregnant but they didn’t know she was pregnant, she
worked before it arrived, therefore I didn’t see her working when I arrived, she had
stopped, there were other girls in the house.
   When he was in prison did she collect the earnings?
Yes, no, I know this story the way she told it to me: “I, C. we want to help you because
I have gone through this too, when he was in prison everybody turned their back on
me, friends, the other guys turned their backs on me, I had to work, I was pregnant
but I had to work in the street to keep him while he was in prison”…therefore she
said: “I understand you and what you’ve been through, but you will see that in a few
months you will be able to put money away and everything will be fine“.
She told me this, told me that she understood, we became friends.
They gave me this advice: “C. leave the apartment in Padova, anyway you haven’t
paid the rent - the landlady was looking for me on the phone and I never answered -
you come and live with the other girls, leave the apartment and come…we won’t ask
you for any money just that you contribute to the expenses, buy some food, but
because you’re always away working, only when you’re there are those few days, or
when somebody has stopped working, otherwise it’s not a big expense“.
My first job was in Brescia. At the beginning they didn’t trust me a lot…because he
said that I had reported my husband, because these two Rumanian girls said that I
didn’t get along with my husband, that I threw them out of the house and therefore
he at the beginning, even though these two Rumanian girls said she is a good girl, he
was afraid that I would report him.

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          Did he know your husband?
      No, no, not him, he didn’t trust me a lot, so he didn’t speak directly to me on the phone,
      so these two girls told me: “C. we have spoken with him“, therefore they acted as
      interpreters, he didn’t give me his telephone number, they took me to the house there
      with the other girls. I talked with his wife, so she talked to him, he didn’t trust me,
      OK, I leave for work and so these two Rumanian girls said “She is good, she no“. He
      thought that I had reported my husband and he didn’t trust me very much, and after
      these two girls said to me: “Look we have spoken to him, he’s given you the place,
      this is the address you have to go to” because he didn’t come to the apartment that
      often, there was a girl that he said was his right hand, she organized the girls in the
      apartment….
      I argued many times with her, because, she created discord between the landlady
      and the girls.
      The landlady who took 50% after, therefore the maitresse as they say, for example,
      when it was her week to go to the house, and after I had to substitute for her, she said
      “Be careful because a girl who’s coming could steal your money, therefore keep
      watch, be careful with her”; there was already trouble with the woman since I’d come,
      and she was always like, she said that we made less money.
          Did every house that you went to have a “maitresse”?
      Yes, yes…therefore I’ll tell you about my first place…it was in Brescia. I left for Bres-
      cia, they gave me the address, from there I took a taxi, I stopped in front of the build-
      ing, a man was waiting for me, a Dominican…I go inside, the rules of the house
      are…I am because, they could be men, women…therefore either men or women,
      the rules of the house are… for a week you don’t go outside…there is a telephone in
      the house that already before you arrive…therefore the landlady, to create a house,
      the maitresse, made an agreement with this girl, so I say “What is this girl like?”. “She
      is blond, tall, blue eyes” The maitresse already put the ad on a magazine and it said
      blond girl, really beautiful …warm, 1,70 in height, size 5“. They already knew even
      if they said five like that…they said that so clients would come. The rules, you could-
      n’t go out of the house for a week, how long I stayed in the house, you had to answer
      the phone, before going into the house you had to show your passport or your permit
      to stay, the other girls were illegal, therefore all without documents, I was the only
      one with a permit to stay, therefore he had said that he didn’t have problems send-
      ing me in any apartment because if the police came they couldn’t do anything to me…
      I started to work, I got up at nine o’clock in the morning, turned on the phone, that
      person stayed in the house with me and if I needed something went out to buy it for
      me…we made money. In the evening I went half and half …at the end of the week
      I made, for example, € 1000 in a week, 500 I gave to that person, five hundred I kept.
          What nationality were the maitresses?
      I met Dominicans, Colombians…Brazilians…therefore after you’ve finished the
      week you went back to Treviso, you give those € 500, you paid the expenses and the
      food, you bought food, you bought condoms and what was left went to Treviso and
      money for travel, the train…I went half and half with him.

158
Therefore a third was mine, but if they made 5000 € 6.000 a week…you did a lot,
you did 30,40 clients a week.
   What were these women like with you?
They were a little bit stingy, they only bought what they wanted to eat, therefore they
ate a lot of rice those Dominicans. They said that if you cooked it made the house smell
and if the client came, or it was almost lunchtime, because two or four telephones
were always ringing, ringing. So you were eating when the client arrived and you had
to go with him right away, they were always controlling you, I had to hurry…
   They called you and fixed the appointment with you?
Yes, them: “Hi where you from, what are you like, what’s the address…and when
you’re in front of the door call me…- he called and said I’m down here…come up to
the first floor…second floor and I’ll open the door“. He came in, the maitresse hid
herself, because they were always there with us in the house…
They hid in the other room, or in the kitchen, they had a basket always, this is what
they did, they put rice or flower petals in it…and you put money, you showed it to
her, and you discussed the price. You begin at 80 and go up…80 is for normal rela-
tions… no 80 is oral sex…a hundred is normal relations…hundred and 50 is anal
sex, and if you want something more from 150 and up to pass more time…and there
were, you had to do them fast, otherwise the woman would get mad. When the client
arrived you talked with him…
   They had to pay beforehand?
Yes, he gave you the money…and what…oral, normal or anal…what, you had to
say “what…”, he gave you the money; at the beginning you went, you showed it to
the woman. If there were two girls, but here in two, only here in Bari, I have worked
in other apartments in a…she had the list, first client 80 euros, second client 100.
I showed it to her and put it in the basket…and I wasn’t to touch the money, only in
the evening…once I put it in, I couldn’t use it, not even see how much money I had
made. That was the basket, because in the apartments in the north I always worked
alone in the house, in Bari you worked blond and brunette, therefore I worked In
Pavia, Brescia, Modena, I worked in Treviso, I worked in Verona, in various apart-
ments according to his directions…in the meantime I worked for a month and went
home.
   The apartment was in a larger building?
Yes, the blinds were pulled and the lights were on, therefore no sound. We had to put
Scotch tape… so as not to make noise in the house and for this reason they didn’t let
us go out, they said the police would realize otherwise.
We worked from nine in the morning until midnight, and after the night we counted
the money, took off the makeup, ate, had a shower.
Rich people and people of modest means came, some came who said I only have €
50, please, there were some who were a little aggressive, others who talked a little
with you, all types…
   When they gave you less money… what did you do?
You always have to ask the lady…if for example the day was going OK, maybe in the

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      morning…if the morning started well, if you had made 500 euro for example, the
      lady accepted; or else she didn’t accept, she said “Let him go”; if there were morn-
      ings that started…the phone rang and the people didn’t arrive, you also accepted
      50, but quick.
      The clients were all ages…I worked in an apartment in Verona, it was a police apart-
      ment, that is he lived with the Rumanian girl and she had her apartment, she was a
      prostitute, they lived together, I worked at his place, he came home at night and I
      gave him the money; he was a policeman because this guy in Treviso said “You see
      that this one is a cop”. In Verona I worked alone, the lady took the week off, came in
      the evening, in the meantime she phoned me in the day… “How are you… how much
      have you made”, and so on, she came at night and I gave her the money.
      In Pavia was an apartment where the landlady paid a person € 50 a day to stay with
      me, they were afraid that we would steal the money…
      And I had to ask for money at the beginning, because some clients said: “Look, I’ll
      give you half at the beginning and if you…let’s have oral sex, and if I like it after I’ll
      give you more, I’ll say whether we’re going to have normal relations”, he gave me 50
      but to satisfy him I also had to have normal relations.
         Did you have a schedule to respect?
      No, only that you had to be as quick as possible, for example there were others who
      said I gave you a hundred you have to do it again, and you, no, no: “Go away“, and
      there were others who got angry…
      Once they stole my documents. After working in the north this person sent me to Bari,
      where I made € 9.000 a day, where I got to know another person, another Italian,
      different from here, here I really entered into the racket, in a big racket, let’s say.
      I got to know other people, Colombians, they had various apartments of Colombians,
      I was the blond girl and they had the dark girls.
         Do you have a memory of your first time in an apartment?
      Yes in Brescia, I put the condom backwards and I don’t know…I felt…it was really
      strange, I couldn’t believe it, because I believed in being faithful. My husband, nev-
      er, I had never betrayed him, not even in my thoughts, and when my husband brought
      us three girls I told him “Even if I arrive dying of hunger I will never do it, never do
      what you are doing,…”; I didn’t believe I could do those things.
         If you needed a doctor where did you go?
      There wasn’t time, because you were too busy every week, we didn’t have time for a
      doctor, because we finished the week and left Saturday night from the apartment or
      Saturday morning so that Sunday morning you were free, everything was closed,
      Sunday evening or Monday morning you had to leave for another place. If you were
      sick you had to go to the emergency and buy medicines, you went to the pharmacy
      and bought medicines.
         Have you ever had particularly traumatic experiences?
      Yes I was a bit shocked when I had to do a sado-masochistic client. These are a
      bit…they’re not normal people, I had never seen this side of sado-masochism…You
      had people…the way they dressed, the way they behaved, the way you had to stick

160
it into their anus, piss on them, shit on them, excuse the terms, that these are things
they ask you to do, to hit them…to…they cross-dress and they dress up, in our
clothes…but they pay you very well.
They came with various equipment, the ladies told you to do them, because they paid
really well, they didn’t do anything to you, they didn’t touch you and you had to hurt
them, and…it was sort of OK because you said I hurt him, he doesn’t touch me and
in the end he gives me money too…this was the most traumatic experience.
And the young men, the young men were, many young men, there was a client who
came with various accessories that he attached here to his nipples and his testicles,
like little clips that you had to squeeze hard, then…”Am I hurting you?” and them:
“No no… “and then you had to kick him, people who said they worked in the bank,
or were lawyers…yes, very elegant clothes, and then they gave you two to 200-300
euro for services like that…, this amazed me.
    Were there ever arrests?
Yes, yes, once here in Bari they got me together with another girl and a the lady from
the house, they took us to the police station, they took our pictures and said find
another hole and they let us go.
Only in Bari, but you felt…you had to be careful, so let’s say in the North I was lucky,
I wasn’t caught…here in Bari they caught me once, only once and after…we
exchanged with other girls, I worked as the blond and another girl was the dark one…
    Let’s go back for a minute… how did you end up in Bari?
I came to Bari because he told me: “There’s a place in Bari where they make a lot of
money, you go there and see how it is…other girls have worked there so you go
there“. I arrived here and I worked for a week in a house, there were two Colombian
girls and two Colombian ladies s, and they also had a racket, but all Colombian, their
co-nationals and we Rumanians were the blond girls.
They had dark girls, and it was all run by an Italian, another Italian, we had to make
money right away, therefore if you made 5000 there here you made more even
9.000 in a week. If I made 5000 I had to give half to the maitresse, half of my half I
had to give to this Italian and after what I had left I had to give half of to the other in
Treviso…but as you make more here, it was possible. And I was here and I worked
with them until this Italian said: “C. look, I propose you leave that guy in Treviso
because you can see how much money you make here and so work with us and leave
that one.”

I was here a week, they caught me therefore I worked two days and there was that
arrest, I went back to Treviso and I worked in another apartment in the north. After
these guys found other apartments and they called me again and said: “Send us C.
again”. Here they change girls, because the clients want different girls, new ones, I
came to Bari again. As these people in Bari have different apartments…five or six
apartments he said: “I will let you work a week here, a week here, a week here, still
in Bari, Torre a Mare, Santo Spirito, all the rounds here and you forget about the guy
in Treviso. In the meantime I had given money to the guy in Treviso because he told

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      me not to go around with money, give the money to me, and I told him…: “Look, I’m
      going home in two weeks and I want you to give me my money“, then I left Bari, and
      I worked another week, I left and he said “…you know, I put your money in the bank,
      I don’t have it but if you go home I will send the money to your home“. He never sent
      the money home.
         Therefore you went back to Rumania?
      Yes, I left again for two weeks because I stayed two, three weeks, after I came back
      and I saw that he didn’t want to give me any more money and I accepted the propos-
      al of the guy in Bari.
         Why didn’t he give you any more money?
      I don’t know why, he said to me: “As you don’t have a house now“, because I had left
      the house in Padova, I was in a house with them, but the girls fought among them-
      selves, you left something and something else disappeared, and I told him: “I want
      you to help me, instead of giving me my money back, you can help me to rent an apart-
      ment, then I’ll get a house of my own, instead…when I arrive, I want a house
      too”…and he said to me: “I’m talking to a person, wait, wait”…and it wasn’t true
      because he didn’t want to give me my money.
      In the beginning I trusted him because all the girls said that they hadn’t had problems
      with him keeping the money. After I arrived here in Bari, I worked in various apart-
      ments.
         What did you say to the protector inTreviso?
      I fought with him and I told him: “I’ll report you, you deceived me and don’t want to
      give me my money,…”, so I gave him a deadline: “If you don’t give me my money
      within a month - given that it’s near Christmas - I’ll report you, I’ll go and report you“.
      In the meantime my husband changed his last name, got a divorce from me in Ruma-
      nia, changed his last name and came to me in Rumania, saw what I did, what job I
      was doing, we started to fight and he was here in Milan and I was here in Bari.
      In Rumania you can get a divorce right away, in three months, and you get married
      in a day in our country, a divorce right away, not like here. He paid the lawyer and
      had the first hearing and I wasn’t there, the second he got the divorce and my daugh-
      ter as a minor was given to me in custody.
         Did your daughter stay with your mother?
      No, with my mother-in-law, my mother-in-law kept her. After he came to Italy, we
      met and saw each other, he was in Milan, and I was here in Bari. He was jealous, the
      jealousy had started, I couldn’t go back now because I needed the money, I told
      myself, before I worked for € 1000 from four in the morning and now in a week I earn
      2000-,to 3000 euro .
      After he came to Italy, because this person in Bari always kept me busy, if I said to the
      one in Treviso “Look, for this week don’t take any appointments for me”, whereas
      this one always, always, he didn’t let me go because he said:“ Now you’re ruining my
      apartments, you can’t do whatever you want“.
      There was already troubles because a group of guys who said there was a protector
      behind us came to do it free, said that they made money on our territory, they start-

162
ed to break the doors down at three in the morning, the police started to figure it out,
there was trouble, and we had to move from one apartment to another.
On one day I was at Torre a Mare, I had worked…my husband had come back, he
was in Milan, we were fighting. He had found me a job in Milan with a company that
would hire me after December, after the holidays.
On the second of December I was arrested, I was working at Torre a Mare, in the house,
in the afternoon a policeman came as a client, in the afternoon they arrested me. And
my husband too…
Because he wasn’t allowed to re-enter within five years once he had been expelled,
he couldn’t re-enter Italy.
    Why had he come to Bari?
He came to Bari, yes he came, because I no longer went to Milan, he came every once
in a while for the weekend with me we went in a hotel and after he left. He said I was
the lover of this person, why was this person so jealous of me, he started to tell me
that I felt pleasure. He made me swear on the head of my daughter that I found no
pleasure in what I did, but he liked the money! Never did he hold me by the hand and
say: “You are my wife, enough, finish it“.
In the end I, after, understood that these are just fake scenes. And I always said,
because I grew up in a mentality for 17 years in communism and the men always make
the decisions and the woman always has to respect them, from the moment my hus-
band was arrested the first time, finding myself alone, always used to him making the
decisions, everything, even if a lady said to me, do you want to do another hour in the
week, I had to ask what do I do. Finding myself alone in a situation that was new,
never having made a decision, I must do this.
I had to make my own choices, I found myself, I don’t know, lost, badly off…and the
decision I made was a mistake.
The only decision I made by myself…was a mistake (she laughs).
At the beginning my husband said that it was bad, he was making trouble and scenes
but he was making all the scenes in taking the money and tearing it up…or he
said…what are you doing? what are you doing…?”
But he liked the money. Then he came to Bari, I gave him money I spent the week-
ends with him and after he left for Milan and I went to the apartment to work, until
the second of December when I was arrested.
They arrested me for the fact that in 2001 I was an accomplice of my husband, but I
said: “But why was I not arrested in 2001 and now arrested after a year, only because
I lived in the house with him and I was his wife I was also his accomplice?“. But is it
possible that after a year in the meantime they released him and expelled him, after
a year they arrest me and for what?
    You were arrested later in a dragnet on the apartment?
No not a dragnet, I think the telephones were intercepted and they arrested me. This
policeman came as a client, and he said: “How much, how much…it’s too much, I’ll
think about it“. And he went out and after 10 hours he arrived with another. In the
meantime there was a dragnet and this Italian moved here and there, because he

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      knew the person, a carabiniere who always warned him beforehand, so we tried to
      escape and after the carabinieri arrived. That day, I was alone, I don’t know why, they
      caught me, they said “Get your clothes“, I didn’t know anything…they put me in
      handcuffs and took me away, I thought: “They will take my fingerprints and let me
      go after“, when they put a file in my hand, I saw what I was accused of and couldn’t
      do anything.
         Your husband was arrested the same day?
      Yes, he was arrested too because he was in Bari.
      He was arrested in Casamassima, or in Auchan, I don’t know, in fact when they took
      me to the police station and I saw his car I said: “My God , he has been arrested“. They
      saw another name and they found him with another name, but I didn’t expect those
      old charges, because he had made a mistake coming back to Italy alone.
         But he was arrested by chance?
      Maybe my telephone because in the meantime the guy from Treviso, they had start-
      ed to investigate him, therefore the one in Treviso, they discovered my number too.
      Therefore my number was tapped, I stayed in touch with my husband and therefore
      automatically his phone was intercepted, once he was caught, I was caught, he was
      caught, the fingerprints showed it…”You were expelled and were not supposed to
      re-enter”…and so they put both of us in prison.
      In prison I was questioned, they told me that in 2001... I said: “It’s true that in 2001
      I knew what my husband was doing, I was an accomplice“.
      But I couldn’t report my husband and I was at home, I couldn’t contribute, because
      those girls, those two girls said, why didn’t the first one say it? Because I never took
      money from that girl…or from the other two that were in the house…I knew what
      was happening, but I couldn’t go and report them. They arrested them and that’s
      it…Why didn’t they arrest me too in 2001? So they arrested us, I sent a letter to this
      Italian asking him to help me pay the lawyer.
      He paid the lawyer, he came here, this lawyer, and he said: “Miss , you are innocent
      here in prison, if you explain your situation, you should get out because you’re inno-
      cent“.
      In the meantime because there was a warrant for arrest in Treviso, they had to move
      from there and go to Bergamo, my husband in Treviso, and me in Bergamo, in the
      meantime the lawyer didn’t come back, I was without a lawyer, I said to this
      guy…”Help me, help me because I will tell everything about Bari, when I gave you
      the money that suited you, now you have to help me.”
         How did you contact your protector in Bari?
      By letter, because he has a bar here in Bari… I sent him a letter…help me if not I will
      tell everything about the racket here in Bari…In the meantime I told how I knew the
      guy from Treviso, but about Bari, I didn’t tell them. He sent me a letter: “I’m sorry I
      can’t help you“.
      In the meantime I was five months in Bergamo and the priests, the prison chaplain
      found me a lawyer, they questioned me three times…they let me out of prison on
      parole in Bari, a fixed address in Bari. I arrived in Bari and went directly to this place,

164
to this person and I said: “Look they have given me a fixed address here and you have
to put me up for a while because I’m going to go to the lawyer to make a petition,
because that Priest also found me a lawyer, in the confessional I told him everything
and I said if I leave there, I will end up in a bad situation and they said to me — because
there were two priests — you go there, we will make the petition and take you in our
community, you go there and try not to do the job you did before“.
I arrived and I told him “You have to keep me here for a while until my petition arrives
and I can go and finish with everything“. He started to tell me lies, that he had paid
the lawyer, he gave me nothing to eat, I had no money; two girls who were prostitut-
ing themselves stayed with me, and I said to him, look: “If the carabinieri come to
check whether I am really staying here, they’ll get me and I’ll be arrested again“. He
said: “No, it’s not true” and he put me to work, therefore I started to work again.
He said to me: “Otherwise you leave this house, get out of my hair“, and so one night
everybody started to yell at me…”If not you leave in the morning and come back in
the night when the girls finish working“.
He sent me to sign on Monday and Friday at the police station, the carabinieri said to
me: “But are you eating, are you all right?”. And they heard me say: “I’m not all right
and I’m not…I’m all right…; they asked me: “What are you doing in Bari?”…I said:
“I’m waiting for an answer to go to Bergamo in a community”…“and who do you
know here in Bari?”… “I don’t know anyone, I am always in the house, when you
receive the authorization tell me and I’ll depart”…
And then this person said to me: “You must stay out of the house, if you’re not going
to work you stay away from morning until night”. But I said: “And if these carabinieri
come to inform me, and they find these girls… I said that I don’t know anyone, what
could I say? They will see that I’m a liar…you said you are always at home and now
we can’t find you there?”.
And he said to me, he convinced me to work, because he said that I had to give him
2500 because he had paid the lawyer. In the meantime I went to the lawyer, this one
in Bari and explained the situation, he told me: “You mustn’t worry, you mustn’t talk
when you go to the carabinieri, you must be,… otherwise you’re going to have trou-
ble“. And I said: “But, he’s making me work”…and he said: “Bear with it a little
longer…until you leave“. And I had to work.
   Where were you living?
In an apartment with other girls…he had six apartments here in Bari.
   How many girls were in that apartment?
Me and another two girls. When I arrived from prison, there were two girls who had
finished their week and were leaving…
And I said to him: “Look, I beg you to leave me alone now; this authorization maxi-
mum 20 days and then I’m going and I won’t bother you any more, leave me alone
until I leave“.
And he said: “All right, all right but think that I’m not going to give you money to eat
therefore if you die of hunger I don’t care, I want my money, all right?” I had
to…because…what could I do? My husband was still in prison.

                                                                                              165
         Had they caught the exploiter fromTreviso?
      Yes everybody, they got the other three girls…the whole racket up there was arrest-
      ed, because in the meantime one girl was arrested, and she talked…there is this guy
      in Treviso, there is a girl C., there is a girl, there is another girl and so on she talked
      about the whole racket until it arrived at me…
      And I started to work.
      I waited for the authorization and on the weekend I found that the two girls had
      already gone and I said…if I go to work with them I will end up in prison again…and
      then on Sunday evening they came, and there was also that other gang that came
      and wanted to have sex free, and he said that if you don’t have sex with them, they
      would wreck the apartment and everything was bad, it wasn’t going well, it wasn’t
      good that you go with 4,5 people and, that evening, Sunday, they all came and start-
      ed yelling… that I was a ball breaker, that they were throwing me out of the house,
      but in the morning I had to go, and they said that “If you don’t do this…tomorrow
      morning we’re going to the carabinieri, I have a friend there, we’ll explain the whole
      situation, we’ll tell them that you’re waiting for an authorization to leave, instead of
      coming to the house to knock and seeing all you, we will leave the telephone number
      and this friend of mine can call and say that this one can go, instead of coming to the
      house and discovering everybody“.
         Was he married, did he have a family?
      He was married, he had a family that I never met, never the family. The wife no, no,
      we never saw her. I know that he had a bar that he worked with his brother, we had
      never seen the brother, therefore only in the bar when we went to get a coffee, because
      it was near the station and when you arrived in Bari you went to the bar first, to say
      I’m arrived, I’m going…
      I told him, I, I, I want to stop, I want to get out…I was afraid that I would go back to
      prison, he didn’t understand that, that I didn’t want to work anymore, because he told
      me you made a lot of money, you, you were a girl who could make money and that…he
      said: “Think, you can get your husband out, you can do many things“. I didn’t want
      to any more. I wanted to get out, I wanted to go to that priest and that’s all. The sec-
      ond day when we needed to meet his friend the carabiniere, I got up first and left.
      At the police station I told everything, they didn’t let me leave, they kept me then and
      then they took me…
         Did you report him?
      Yes I reported him.
         Was he caught?
      No, not yet, because he had many girls, therefore he was never caught. They still have
      to arrest him, but he opened another bar, he has various apartments; the carabinieri
      wanted to investigate this person, who helped him, why, he did that, first he took the
      girls away and then the carabinieri arrived? And he was caught with the girls in the
      house and they always let them go because the girls said: “C. the carabinieri came
      and they found him with us, the house in his name and they let him go, they never do
      anything to him, and therefore they wanted it that way“.

166
In Bari, he might be with those who made trouble, who wanted me to go and work in
a nightclub, there are maybe 15 of them and therefore I knew from the carabinieri
that he might be arrested in these days.
    When you reported him what did the carabiniere say?
They said to me: “Now you have to help us to go to that apartment and stay with the
other girls and pretend nothing has happened, that way we catch him in the act“. But
he phoned me on the cell phone and said: “Where the hell are you? You left the house,
where are you, come right away“; he was really nervous and the carabinieri said:
“Turn off the phone, we won’t risk sending you“.
From there, they took me to a shelter and I don’t know anything else. I left all at the
carabinieri …
    Why did you report him on the morning that you were supposed to go with him to
    the police station?
Yes, because I was afraid, I told him: “If I go to the police, once I tell them I don’t know
anybody…”; they said to me: “But this person who hosts you, who is he?”
He is a friend who helped me, now I’m going, and telling him. Because when I was
released I left an address where I was supposed to go, his house, the one who was
hosting me. When I arrived there, he said: “When you go to the police leave the
address of my brother“, I went to the police and I left the address of his brother and I
said; “Now I am going, I’m saying that this address is not good, go to another address;
this guy (the carabiniere) will say that I am making a fool of him“. I didn’t want to be
stupid in front of the police. Once I say that I don’t know anybody, that I am always
in the house, and now I have to say that I am bored because I want to go out from the
morning to the night. If they don’t find me at this number, it was too much because
the police, each time said: “But are you all right, have you eaten, do you want to say
something, listen, we’re not bad“. I was afraid of them, he said: “…I have this
friend…and if you don’t behave, you’ll be in trouble, I have this friend you have to
be good and stay calm“, and he wasn’t too happy that I went to those priests, but I
was moving, for example when we went to the lawyer he asked him: “If I go into busi-
ness on my own, her?”
The lawyer said, she’s not Italian, only Italian citizens can work for themselves. He said
if she does the same job as before she will be arrested right away, and that hurt. To
him nothing, but I have been in prison, him no, I said “either he goes to prison or…”.
    What was your experience in prison like?
It was ugly because I had only seen prison in films, I thought that when you arrived
there they would beat me, they would hurt me and…I was OK there. I was lucky
because the prison in Bergamo is open, therefore the doors were open, I did courses,
there were nuns, there were priests, I made friends, I behaved well; but I don’t want
to go back there again, and therefore I decided to talk about the whole racket from the
beginning. For this I say, I wasn’t tricked, they didn’t make me, I went alone but after
I couldn’t leave. Because it’s difficult once you’ve entered into it there’s no one on the
outside who loves you enough to get you out. I didn’t have a house anymore, or a job,
I couldn’t say “I’m leaving everything and going“, I was too tied to everything.

                                                                                               167
         If you reported him and they know who he is, why haven’t they arrested him?
      I don’t know, because I asked the carabinieri “Why?”. Because the racket is big, they
      would like… because he already has other charges against him, because when I was
      arrested they had started to investigate the apartments.
      While I was in prison, they started an investigation on him and then my report arrived.
      They told me that it’s still not…I asked the lawyer and he said that he opened anoth-
      er betting shop, that the girls are working again, that he has bought a beautiful car,
      but he doesn’t know anything that I reported him. If by chance one day I see him on
      the street I will tell him I ran off with a client, that I fell in love, that I ran away.
      He went to the carabiniere, they told me that he looked for me at the police station,
      they changed my lawyer right away, he doesn’t know where I am. Now I have a lawyer
      from the Association.
         Now where is your husband?
      My husband now is out of prison, after I was released, after two weeks, therefore while
      I was in the Association, he was released too, and expelled again from Italy.
      For a month and a half they didn’t let me phone, but after I spoke to him. I telephoned,
      because they thought that I was dead because after a month and a half. As soon as I
      got out of prison I phoned them and said: “Mama, I was in prison…”. Because I had
      to, I sent her a letter from prison and in prison I wrote her: “I am in prison- because I
      sent money to my mother- I can’t send money anymore, I hope to get out soon, take
      care of the children“.
         What did you tell her, about why you were in prison?
      I didn’t tell her the reason and when I got out of prison, the first thing I did was call
      my mother and tell her I was well, but I have to go to another town, then I’ll go to
      another city, I will start to work, I will send money. And my mother said: “Don’t wor-
      ry, just as long as you’re well“.
      After for a month and a half, nothing, therefore I didn’t know that my husband was
      out, I didn’t know anything, once I had telephoned my mother she said that my hus-
      band was out of prison. I said: “Mama, I am well, I can’t tell you where I am, only if
      they ask about me, if he asks, tell him that I am well and that I can’t… Therefore I am
      not with him any more“.
         Do you still love your husband?
      No, no, in prison at the beginning you know I said that I forgive him when I was in
      prison, I forgive him because if he made a mistake, I made a mistake too, instead of
      choosing to prostitute myself, I could have made a different choice and not done it,
      therefore as he made a mistake, so did I.
      But after I understood that…I want a family, I want a quiet life, I want…no, with him
      I don’t know…
         Do you think you will go back to Rumania?
      I don’t know if I will go back, now I will be starting in the second shelter, you are free,
      you can go home, but as I have a fixed address, I can’t move, I will have to ask for per-
      mission or make a petition. And in the meantime my son had an accident and hurt
      his eyes, he could be blind. I feel like it’s my fault, for everything I’ve done, I can’t be

168
near my children…
The little girl is with my husband now, he can have custody, because he can say, she
was a prostitute in Italy, she was in prison in Italy, her children haven’t heard from
her for a year, one who was brought up by my mother, brought here, she doesn’t send
me a cent. Maybe he has started with the paperwork, if he takes custody away…
   You are unable to get in touch with your daughter?
No, I talked to her, but she is very cold with me, at first she said: “Mama, when are
you coming back, Mama, mama, mama, mama”… but now nothing…
She is five years old and the boy is eight, and I understand from all this what has hap-
pened, that it happened when I had to make a decision, to think a thousand times and
that I need to think about my children first and in fact I should’ve opened my eyes since
the beginning. I thought that for me was true love, everybody makes a mistake.
   How have you been in the shelter?
Very well, very, even though I have been through some awful moments, like when
the psychologist asked me: “But you must forgive yourself“, I said: “Dr., I cannot for-
give myself because I will only be able to do it when my life takes a different course,
when I am fulfilled, when I have my children near, when I have a job, when I am calm,
and can look back and say that from when I did that thing really the moment has
arrived to forgive myself“.
But as long as I hear my children crying, that they are not well, my mother who says
every time that she is going to work in the fields to keep my son at school, therefore I
don’t enjoy anything now, yes I have left the life, I have food to eat, I am calm, but I
feel bad, I feel bad.
When my life changes now, when I have a new job, I can have my own home, I will
bring my mother, my sisters, my daughters, I will be happy if I’m here. Now, I can’t
forgive myself, no, no.
   Do you have documents now?The permit to stay?
Yes, the first expired, and until now I have had four permits to stay. While I was in
prison it expired, but with the new law it’s a crime, I couldn’t renew it, but it expired
a few months ago…Now, with the law they have given me a permit for humanitari-
an reasons. When I have a job, I will have a pay check and they will see I’m behaving
well, because nobody says that if I have a permit now, that they will give me anoth-
er. You have to respect the whole process.

   Had you ever heard of associations,groups,that help the girls get out of the racket?
I heard when that girl who reported my husband in 2001 returned to the street, there-
fore a friend of my husband saw her on the street. I said…I didn’t know of associa-
tions, I thought of social workers and said: “But this one makes a report, puts him in
prison, after two months she’s working on the street again?”…and I didn’t trust any-
body. No, I didn’t know anything about associations, I never heard anything, never,
never. I thought that there were social workers who took girls off the street.
I hope that those who exploited me are caught very soon. They really hurt me, because
there are people who have children, babies. I wasn’t forced into it but…I was amazed

                                                                                            169
      at how he changed, that at the beginning when I gave him money everything was
      fine, he said you are my friends, you are everything I need, how he changed when I
      came back from prison, when I had no money, when I needed help and he turned his
      back. He said “Whore“, he asked me to have sex with him.
      I had to, for the fact that I was in his house, I had to go to bed with him and so why
      before you told me that we are friends and now you ask me to do all those things?
                                                                               (C., Rumania)




170
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         AA.VV.,Sulla prostituzione femminile di strada in Emilia Romagna,rapporto di ricer-
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      fare? Il fenomeno della prostituzione e della tratta degli esseri umani, ed. EGA,Torino,
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         DALLA COSTA M.,DALLA COSTA G.(a cura di),Donne e politiche del debito.Condi-
      zione e lavoro femminile nella crisi del debito internazionale, Franco Angeli, Milano,
      1993
         DEMETRIO D.,Raccontarsi,l’autobiografia come cura di sé,ed.Cortina,Milano 1995
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      ciazione Diritti Umani e Sviluppo Umano,CLEUP,Padova,2003
         EURISPES, Rapporto Italia 2001. Percorsi di ricerca nella società italiana, Roma,
      2001
         EUROPAP,TAMPEP,Darsi da fare per la salute.Sviluppare servizi rivolti al mondo del-
      la prostituzione in Europa,Comune di Roma,1998
         FABBRI D.,FORMENTI L.,Carte d’identità,ed.Franco Angeli,Milano 1991
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   MAGISTRALI G.(a cura di),Il futuro delle politiche sociali in Italia.Prospettive e nodi
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libri neri C.N.C.A.,ed.La Meridiana,Molfetta (BA),2003
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NA (a cura di), Donne violate. La legge regionale 41 del 16 dicembre 1997, Regione
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2001,Bologna,2001
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venti nel mondo della prostituzione migrante,Asterios Editore,Trieste,2001
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                                                                                              173
Meetings and Seminars
              AA.VV., Fame e sete di giustizia.Tratta di esseri umani, Atti del Convegno Nazionale
          Brescia 8-11 marzo 2000,Caritas Italiana,2000
              AA.VV.,Stop tratta,Atti del convegno internazionale,Bologna,23-24 maggio 2002,
          On the Road Edizioni,Martinsicuro (TE),2002
              AA.VV., Terre di mezzo,esperienze ipotesi utopie nel Pianeta Prostituzione,Atti e svi-
          luppi di un convegno, San Benedetto del Tronto (AP), 16-17 gennaio 1998, Associa-
          zione On the Road,C.N.C.A.,1998
              ASSOCIAZIONE MIMOSA (a cura di),Report 2002,Lavoro di strada con la prostitu-
          zione migrante.Un anno di attività a bassa soglia sul territorio della Provincia di Pado-
          va,Atti del Convegno,Padova,maggio 2003
              ASSOCIAZIONE MIMOSA (a cura di), Report 2003, Il fenomeno della prostituzione
          migrante a Padova,Atti del Convegno,gennaio 2004
              ASSOCIAZIONE ONTHE ROAD, REGIONE MARCHE, Oltre le terre di mezzo. Ipotesi
          per nuove politiche sulla prostituzione, Convegno Nazionale, 22-23 settembre 2003,
          San Benedetto delTronto (AP),(materiale non pubblicato)
              BARBERI A., ZANNINI T., Progetti sull’inserimento socio – lavorativo delle vittime
          della tratta finanziata dal fondo sociale europeo, Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri,
          Ministero per le pari opportunità,Roma,ottobre 2003
              CENTRO DOCUMENTAZIONE E STUDI “PRESENZA DONNA”(a cura di), La prosti-
          tuzione coatta: nuova schiavitù, Atti del convegno,Vicenza, 28 ottobre 2000, Regione
          del Veneto,2001
              CENTRO DONNA GIUSTIZIA, Lungo la strada della tratta, Atti del Convegno inter-
          nazionale,Ferrara,23-24 febbraio 2001,Regione Emilia Romagna,Comune di Ferra-
          ra,2002
              COMUNE DI FONTANELLE,PRESIDENZA DEL CONSIGLIO DEI MINISTRI – DIPAR-
          TIMENTO PARI OPPORTUNITA’, Seminari formativi per operatori sociali di accompa-
          gnamento nei percorsi di protezione sociale di donne vittime di violenza nel contesto
          della prostituzione e della tratta e forze dell’ordine delVeneto, aprile – maggio 2001,
          Fontanelle (TV),(materiale non pubblicato)
              COMUNE DI VENEZIA,SERVIZIO CITTA’E PROSTITUZIONE,Il contrasto alla tratta di
          esseri umani a scopo di sfruttamento sessuale: strategie di intervento e buone pratiche,
          Corso di formazione,Venezia,ottobre-gennaio 2000/2001,(materiale non pubblicato)
              LANGT.,RUSSO A.,L’inserimento socio – lavorativo delle donne vittime di tratta: pro-
          fili normativi e spunti di riflessione per le azioni cofinanziate,Roma,2003
              MINISTERO PER LE PARI OPPORTUNITA’,“Azioni in favore dell’inserimento socio –
          lavorativo delle donne vittime di tratta”,Conferenza nazionale,24 – 25 ottobre 2003,
          Torino
              MINISTERO PER LE PARI OPPORTUNITA’,I progetti per l’inserimento socio – lavo-
          rativo delle donne vittime della tratta.Schede di sintesi
              PRESIDENZA DEL CONSIGLIO DEI MINISTRI,Dipartimento per le pari opportunità,
          Vie d’uscita.Tratta delle donne. Percorsi e progetti, Atti del seminario nazionale di for-
          mazione per operatrici e operatori dei progetti di protezione sociale e del numero ver-
          de contro la tratta di donne,Roma,29-30 gennaio 2001,

 174
   PROVINCIA DI GENOVA - CENTRO PARI OPPORTUNITA’, Fantasmi della notte. Il
traffico di persone a scopo di sfruttamento sessuale. Progetti di protezione ed inseri-
mento sociale a confronto, Convegno 11- 12 gennaio 2002, Genova, (materiale non
pubblicato)
   PROVINCIA DI TREVISO,Assessorato Pari Opportunità,“Il fenomeno della prostitu-
zione”, Brussa L., Seminario di studio, MoglianoVeneto (TV), 17 ottobre 2000, (mate-
riale non pubblicato)
  Pubblicazioni:
  REGIONE EMILIA ROMAGNA,W.E.S.T.- Women East SmugglingTrafficking,Confe-
renza di lancio,16 febbraio 2004,Bologna,(materiale non pubblicato)
  TREPPETE M.(a cura di), Non solo signore della notte,Atti del Convegno, Prato,gen-
naio- febbraio 2002,RegioneToscana,2003


                                                              Reviews and other pubblications
   AA.VV.,Donne senza.Il mercatino del riutilizzo come esperienza d’integrazione del-
le donne senza fissa dimora, suppl.al n.di ottobre di Stage, AL Veneto, novembre 1999
   AA.VV.,Speciale prostituzione in Aspe, n. 5/6, 1989
   ANDREOLI V.,Il cliente in Rocca, n. 20, 15 ottobre 2002
   BARBETTA P.,BOI G.,Comunicazione interculturale in contesti di consulenza in Con-
nessioni, n. 2, dicembre 1997
   BELL N., L’Europa organizza la clandestinità in Le Monde Diplomatique, supple-
mento mensile a il manifesto, n. 4, aprile 2003
   BENINI P.,Processi migratori e relazioni sociali in Animazione Sociale, n. 10, ottobre
2003
   BENZI O.,Sulle rotte della tratta in Sempre, n. 3, marzo 2001
   COMITATO PER I DIRITTI DELLE PROSTITUTE (a cura di),Contro la violenza,novem-
bre 2002
   COMITATO PER I DIRITTI DELLE PROSTITUTE (a cura di), Lucciole news, n. unico
ottobre/novembre 2002
   DA PRA POCCHIESA M., DRAGONE A.,TRUCCO L. (a cura di), Questa è la leg-
ge…Art.18 e dintorni (D.L.vo 286,25 luglio 1998).Disposizioni legislative su prosti-
tuzione,immigrazione,minori,Associazione Gruppo Abele,A.S.G.I.,in Pagine. Il socia-
le da fare e pensare, n. 2/2001
   DE ROSSI C.,Immigrazione clandestina e prostituzione: dall’analisi sociologica alla
pratica di lavoro in La Rivista di Servizio Sociale, n. 3, ottobre 2001
   LEOGRANDE A.NALETTO G.(a cura di),Bada alla Bossi-Fini.Contenuti,“cultura”e
demagogia della nuova legge sull’immigrazione Lunaria,Roma
   MELLOSSI D.,Multiculturalismo e sicurezza in Emilia Romagna: prima parte in Qua-
derni di Città Sicure, n. 15, gennaio 1999
   MERELLI M.RUGGERI M.G.,Sicurezza,insicurezza nelle donne migranti: prima par-
te in Quaderni di Città Sicure, n. 16, aprile 1999
   MIELE R., La nuova legislazione sugli stranieri, I Quaderni della rivista 3, Gli Stra-
nieri,Rassegna di studi,giurisprudenza e legislazione,Union Printing Edizioni,1999
                                                                                            175
               PEREGO G.,Lacune,incertezze,ritardi: Bossi – Fini,inizio“acefalo”in Italia Caritas,
            n. 9, ottobre 2003
               PEREGO G.,Regolarizzare l’inatteso,ora tuteliamo le persone in Italia Caritas, n. 3,
            marzo 2003
               QUADERNI DEL CENTRO NAZIONALE DI DOCUMENTAZIONE E ANALISI PER L’IN-
            FANZIA E L’ADOLESCENZA, Uscire dal silenzio. Lo stato di attuazione della legge
            269/98,Istituto degli Innocenti,n.27,dicembre 2002
               RIMOLA M.,l’intreccio tra domande che genera risposte in Animazione Sociale, n. 2,
            febbraio 2003
               TRAPPOLIN L.,TREPPETE M., La violenza contro le persone che si prostituiscono,
            Rapporto di ricerca in Quaderni del gruppo di ricerca “Migrazioni & Prostituzione”,
            Dipartimento di Sociologia,Università degli Studi di Padova, 1/2002
               UFFICIO PROGETTI E DOCUMENTAZIONE SUITEMI DELLA SICUREZZA - REGIO-
            NE EMILIA ROMAGNA (a cura di),Sicurezza e differenza di genere: Bologna,Piacenza
            e Ravenna a confronto in Quaderni di Città Sicure, n. 19, gennaio – febbraio 2000
               VIOLANTEV.,Governare la globalizzazione in Rocca, n. 7, 1 aprile 1998


Web sites
            ECPAT Italia
            Consulente in diversi programmi di cooperazione allo sviluppo promossi dal Ministero
            degli Affari Esteri italiano nel quadro della lotta al traffico di minori per scopi sessuali.
            www.ecpat.it/progetti
            Regione Emilia Romagna
            www.emiliaromagnasociale.it/wcm/emiliaromagnasociale/home/prostituzione.htm
            Vita
            Informazione sulTerzo settore
            www.vita.it
            www.giustizia.it/cassazione/leggi
            Terrelibere
            Altre forme di comunicazione su migrazioni, antimafie, economia globale, pace e
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            www.terrelibere.it
            Migranews
            Notiziario costantemente aggiornato sugli immigrati in Italia
            www.migranews.net
            Associazione OnThe Road
            Materiale scaricabile sulla prostituzione e progetti diretti a donne vittime di tratta
            www.ontheroadonlus.it




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