Woman tells of trafficking ordeal

Woman tells of trafficking ordeal

A young Romanian woman who was trafficked into Northern Ireland and forced to work as a prostitute has spoken to UTV about her ordeal.

Aged just 20 years old Anna, not her real name, was walking along a street in North London where she was training to be a nurse when she was grabbed and bundled into a car in 2011.

Two armed men warned her that her mum would be hurt if she didn't do as she was told. They then brought her to Luton Airport where she boarded a plane to Galway.

Anna explained: "I didn't know where I was going and I didn't know what was happening to me and I just hoped I could escape from the place I was going to go."

With little to eat or drink and continuously beaten, Anna was held in same room for four months and forced to work as a prostitute between 15 and 20 times a day.

I think this is a very big problem here.

Anna

She continued: "Those months were very bad - I didn't see the colour of the day, I just knew the time was passing and I couldn't count the days. If I was screaming I was beaten. They couldn't hit my face but they were hitting my neck, taking my head and pushing me into the wall and would put me in the shower."

Anna said there were at least 20 women trapped in the same brothel. They were often beaten in front of her, she explained, and told her they had been trafficked.

She was taken to brothels in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Derry and Belfast until - with the help of one of her clients - she was finally able to escape one night.

Anna was so traumatised by her ordeal that she tried to kill herself in Belfast Lough.

"I just wanted to go there and never come back," she said. "I was so cold."

Police figures reveal two men have been convicted of human trafficking so far this year and 33 potential victims have been rescued. Anna believes there are many more than this.

She is now helping the PSNI try to track down her captors.

Anna said: "In a week in Belfast there would have been ten, eleven, twelve, fifteen, just from this place where I have been but the amount of people altogether could be more."

Lord Morrow brought a bill to the Assembly on Monday which, if passed, would see men who purchase sex criminalised instead of those who sell it.

Meanwhile Anna said she is now planning to study law in the future in order to try and help people like her who have been caught in the nightmare that is human trafficking.

© UTV

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