Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Reason we're Freezin': A True Story from Hungary Plunge or Pledge to Make a Difference

Ilona was 16 years old when I first met her on stroll. Skinny, unkept and nervous, smoking a cigarette. Dark over-exaggerated make up covered her scared young eyes. 
Budapest at Night
Illona is just one of thousands of girls I’ve seen on the streets here in Budapest who was tricked into believing there was legitimate work waiting for her. Orphaned and living in poverty in Maldova she was an easy target for the pimps. Once across the borders, her documents were taken, she was beaten, starved and raped into accepting her new fate. If she ran, they told her, they’d just go and get her young sister. That was all it took.

 After a year on stroll, she still believed that someday she’d earn enough to buy her freedom and take care of her family. I knew better. The pimps would over-work her young body, making as much money off of her while they could.

Soon, her addiction would be out of control and her body too tired to work. Then, she’ll be thrown away and replaced by the next victim. This is the vicious cycle. I’ve seen it over and over again.  
The Hungarian team has reported that they do not know of ANY recovery programs for sexually exploited women in Hungary despite a large number of Hungarian women being exploited in and outside the country. This spring the SA Foundation Hungarian team will open the FIRST and ONLY long term recovery program for survivors of sexual exploitation and their children! As it is too dangerous to try and rescue women locally their focus will be to rescue and repatriate women being exploited in other European countries.

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