Albania Mission Against
Human Trafficking

Women's Project harvesting beans in Kallmet

MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change. The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

Mona has been trafficked for three years. When she was fifteen years old, she fell in love with a guy who was about twenty two years old. Her family was very conservative, so she used to meet him secretly for five months. When her brother was told by his friends about her relationship, he went immediately to his father and told him everything. Her parents told her to break up this relationship but she did not. One day when he appeared at her school she felt her heart beating fast. They started their secret relationship again. She was afraid of being discovered again by her family, so they decided together to go to Italy. Mona’s boyfriend arranged their illegal trip and they departed by night.

During that trip she was raped by her boyfriend and his friend. She knew then that she was going to be trafficked but she couldn’t escape. They blindfolded her with a scarf until they got inside the brothel, after which she didn’t see her boyfriend anymore. Mona realised that they were not in Italy, but she was sent to Greece. One year later, she was sold to a tutor who sent her illegally to Italy. She was a sex slave there for two years. She heard the tutors saying that she was an asset for their brothel, since she was very beautiful and the clients would pay a fortune for her.

Mona has been isolated many times, held in a small mouldy room, without toilet facilities and without food and water for two days. She was very badly beaten. In case she refused to serve to the clients, she was threatened with being sent to that room again.

Mona has been rescued by somebody who was there as a client. Maybe he was not a client but she didn’t mind, she needed to have faith in somebody. She told him her story and that she discovered she was pregnant. He promised to return for her and he kept his promise and he took her away with him. When they got very far away from the brothel, in another city, he advised her to run away.

She found a way to call her family, but her father told her that she was not his daughter anymore. After that, she called her aunt who lived in Italy and stayed with her for some months. She was seven months pregnant when her tutor found her and beat her so badly that it caused her abortion. He threatened her that in case she would denounce him, they would kill her sister. Mona couldn’t live with her aunt, since she was not safe anymore. Her aunt paid somebody to bring her illegally to the UK. She was afraid that the driver would be a trafficker too, but in that moment she was so desperate that she didn’t mind what was going to happen to her. She has been travelling hidden in the van for five days. Eventually, the driver told her to jump off the van while he was driving slowly and to run for help.

“I was in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, and I was horrified, but I kept walking. I had the idea that somebody was following me but I couldn’t even turn my head. By daybreak I saw a man. He asked me questions but I didn’t know any English so I couldn’t answer him, I only pronounced my name. Then he called the police”.

Mona needed a lot of time to recover, and she had her moments when she thought it was worth dying rather than live with her sad memories. But then she told herself “I have been through many tortures and have survived, I am stronger now and will do it”.