Romania is a gateway for those crossing from Asia into Europe. Every year thousands of men, women and children are trafficked into and through Romania for purposes of prostitution and forced labor.
New Stories from Romania
Romania a sanctuary of recovery away from oppression
May 3, 2013
Coming from situations of exploitation, our survivors say they had never felt more alone, caged and oppressed. Even after they were able to leave those situations, they said they would feel lost and overwhelmed with the freedom they were always meant to have. Our farm program in Romania is set in the open countryside where everyone can be close to nature. Our staff provide support and guidance to help our survivors start to piece together their once shattered life dreams. Help us continue our work in making this farm program a safe sanctuary for recovery and optimism.
Romanian court breaks open trafficking syndicate
April 25, 2013
Prosecuting traffickers is often slow and tedious, and a just outcome is not always upheld. However, a huge breakthrough came yesterday for two of our young women. Their traffickers who had been charged separately, will now be charged in an organized crime case. The court found they were from a syndicate that trafficked minors from Romania to Austria for prostitution. This not only brings justice, but will lead to larger sentences and further investigations into this trafficking route. We need your support to ensure that the right voices will be heard, and more will be brought to justice.
Romania sowing and reaping
April 11, 2013
With a mixture of expertise, keen sets of hands and teamwork, our farm in Romania is set for a rich harvest this year. A number of survivors attend courses on the farm for vocational up-skilling, an important step in their recovery journey. Survivors gain farm management skills and experience, which opens up options for alternative employment opportunities. The harvested crops are sold locally, with proceeds going directly back to help with operational costs and wages for the survivors. We are well positioned to grow this enterprise to cater for more, but we need your help to make this happen.
Romania changing lives through the sound-waves
April 8, 2013
Johanna is only 16. She was sexually assaulted at the age of 12, and this would not be the only time. Since she was 15, traffickers started grooming her for the sex industry, and forced her to take drugs too. Johanna knew she was better than this, but she really did not know what a ‘normal’ life was like. Fortunately, her parents knew something was wrong. We host a local radio talk show to discuss the issue of human trafficking and her parents responded and asked for help. We are ready to start this journey of recovery with Johanna. Be a partner and join us in making the ultimate change today.
New home opened for survivors in Romania
April 3, 2013
We are excited to announce the first new bedrooms for survivors are now ready at our farm just outside Timisoara. This is at our organic farm which accommodates our survivors in an environment where vocational and life skills are gained, income is earned, and recovery is made. We are hopeful to provide accommodation for a further 25 survivors by the end of the year. Support us today, and help us continue creating an environment of love, comfort and optimism in Romania.
Maria: To Hell And Back
March 27, 2013
Maria and her sister were exploited in some of the worst possible ways. Later, Maria witnessed the brutal murder of her sister by their traffickers, a stress so great she has amnesia from that time period. To add to her heartache, her mother passed away whilst both daughters were being exploited. After her rescue, Maria’s recovery wasn’t made easier as she lost her home and faced life on the streets. With our help, Maria found a permanent home and a new vocation. Recovery is difficult. We need your support to continue helping those who have truly seen some of the worst the world has to offer.
4 for the price of 1 – Traffickers Now Targeting Whole Families
March 25, 2013
We are shocked to report on a new trend uncovered in Romania – the exploitation of whole families. A Romanian family was repatriated this week from the UK after the father was exploited, and his wife and young children were on the brink of exploitation. They returned home weary and afraid, but with a sense of relief that they were very lucky to be rescued. Traffickers are always on the move. They continuously evolve their complex web of routes and means of trafficking in order to benefit as much as they can from those at risk. We need your support to ensure this shocking new trend stops now.
NFS Giving Support and Acceptance to Those Who Need It The Most
March 20, 2013
In search of better opportunities in life, Alexandra fell into the wrong hands and was trafficked to France for sex. After her rescue and returned home, Alexandra’s hopes were dashed as her family, who after learning about what happened, decided to have nothing to do with her. Support and acceptance from close ones are crucial for a successful recovery from exploitation. Alexandra is making good strides but her journey will remain an uphill battle. NFS is committed to ensuring Alexandra and others continue to recover, but we still need your support to ensure they remain free from exploitation.
Children Raised in the Midst of Exploitation – This Needs To Stop
March 15, 2013
Irina is 19 years old and gave birth to a baby boy Antonio, this week. Irina grew up in a children’s home and was left vulnerable to exploitation as a teenager. She was recently rescued after being trafficked for sex, and is now on a brighter path for her and her young one. Whilst we celebrate the joy brought by Antonio, we lament the tragic circumstances surrounding his birth. These situations are not uncommon, with around 15% of our beneficiaries in Romania having one or more children under ten years of age whilst under exploitation. Support NFS now and together we can put an end to this.
Romania Mobilising Local Volunteers for Upstream Change
March 12, 2013
We are excited to share that NFS Romania is holding an intensive camp this week for its new volunteers. The camp will run for three days and the volunteers will be provided specialized training from NFS and local anti-trafficking agencies. The aim of this camp is to encourage rich discussions for ideas to be shared and preventative solutions to be created in the school system and local at-risk communities. We are excited to see a young group of volunteers so eager to make a difference, and can’t wait to see the effects of their efforts.
Luana: From Desolation To Hope
January 31, 2013
Growing up, Luana was severely abused by both her father and brother. She was later exploited through various means by her boyfriend and sister, just for their financial gain. Luana sought help from NFS Romania, and was recently supported to start a professional Nail Design course. She is also receiving assistance with prosecuting those who so callously betrayed her safety and trust. Coming from a once dark and desolate past, her future is now bright like the sparkle our staff see in her eyes as each day progresses.
A Close Call For Michaela
January 23, 2013
Michaela is 16 years old and sought refuge in our protected shelter last week. Michaela is a singer and musician, and came from a well-to-do family. She decided to leave home due to strained relationships with her family members and their strict rules on her socializing with friends. Michaela was subsequently put in touch with a trafficker through mutual friends, under the elusion of living a “dream life” in Romania or abroad. Michaela said she is terrified of what could have happened to her, but is looking forward to her now bright future with the support of Not For Sale Romania.
Lorena Looks For Reconciliation With Family
January 8, 2013
Lorena is 18 years old. She grew up in a loving family but her life changed when her mother died, and her relationship with her extended family began to break down. Young and at her most vulnerable, she was charmed by a man and through lies and deception, was led in a world of prostitution and exploitation. Since Lorena entered rehabilitation, she has come a long way in overcoming the challenges in her relationship with her family. Yesterday, for the first time, she expressed her wish to return home for the purpose of reconciliation, which she feels will be so crucial to her own recovery.
Happy Holidays from Romania!
December 27, 2012
A Message from Not For Sale Director Mariana: "We spent a wonderful Christmas together in our new home at the Calacea Farm, singing carols and offering gifts to each of the beneficiaries. As we celebrate and give thanks for this time together, we wish to send a special message to thank all those have made our work in rehabilitation and recovery of trafficked survivors possible this year. We wish you all the best for the holidays and a very happy New Year!"
December 20, 2012
17 year old Marie is the latest survivor to arrive at NFS Romania. As a child, she was sexually abused and exploited in child pornography by family members on the internet for money. The continued interaction with strangers online exposed her one particular man who manipulated her into believing that he was in love with her, and following numerous promises to marry her, Marie decided to run away from the hellish conditions of her home to be with this man, who went on to prostitute and violently abuse her. A long road of recovery lies ahead for Marie but for now, we are thankful for her safety.
Disabled Young Man Rescued from Forced Begging
December 3, 2012
Nicolai lost the use of his legs from the knees down following an accident years ago. It was his disability and ensuing poverty that led him to his traffickers; who offered him a home, food and a means of income and even support to prosthesis. Despite the little he received from them, Nikolai became dependent on his exploiters and when they took off one day, he was soon forced to beg for his survival. Nicolai was eventually rescued and came recently to Not For Sale Romania, where he is been enrolled in the individual rehabilitation program and can begin hoping for a better future.
Police Raids Lead To Assistance For Newly Rescued Survivor
November 27, 2012
Recently, the Romanian Police from Timis County conducted raids, in an attempt to rescue women who were suspected of being trafficked in the area. Whilst Not For Sale Romania received a new beneficiary who had been trafficked since she was 17, staff at Not For Sale Romania were met with challenges from law enforcement, who failed to treat the girls with the appropriate respect, not helping in the precarious nature of the situation. An example of challenges on the ground. However, we are pleased to report that the survivor slept well the first weekend at NFS and now begins her recovery.
October 19, 2012
Alina is very new within the reintegration program at Not For Sale Romania. However, her process of rehabilitation will take more time than usual as she unfortunately suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, the state where a trafficking victim begins to feel positive emotion toward their trafficker. “In case she didn’t ‘earn’ enough money for her traffickers, her body was cut and they put salt on [her]” reports Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania. She has built walls that will take time to break. Not For Sale will continue to work towards assisting her in as most beneficial manner as possible.
Survivor To Testify Against Traffickers
October 10, 2012
From Not For Sale Romania we are pleased to report a real story of courage. Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania, reports that a survivor of human trafficking has decided to take part in court-hearings against her traffickers. The trial could potentially begin as early as next month. Mariana mentions how this “wouldn’t be possible without the financial and moral involvement of the team [at] Not For Sale.” The rehabilitation required in order to testify is immense. This willingness to step forward shows an incredible amount of transformation in the life of the survivor.
Amputee Victim Of Forced Begging Begins Rehab and Repatriation
October 1, 2012
This week from Not For Sale Romania a story of a man from Portugal who came to us in one of the most desperate situations we have seen. An amputee victim of forced beginning, the man had “no support from the origin country, without care from the community, without a reference person, a relative,” reports Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania. Traffickers relocated him and took control of his state pension, the only source of income he had. Now at Not For Sale Romania, despite being early in his rehabilitation, we are working hard to offer him the chance to at last live a life dignity.
Survivor Suffers Relapse
September 24, 2012
As is common when combating human trafficking in Romania, this past week has been filled with both stories of great accomplishment and others that are of a more negative ilk. First, a family was successfully reintegrated thanks to our efforts. However, we must also remember that our work is far from done. Unfortunately, one of our beneficiaries was also hospitalized due to her struggle with schizophrenia. Her disease was set in due to the exploitation she suffered at the hands of her own father. We will keep in contact with the hospital and hope she can recover and return to be assisted.
Survivors Recoup Over Traditional Meals
September 10, 2012
Last week we reported about three survivors of trafficking from Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya who had been received at Not For Sale Romania. This week, we are pleased to report that the women have taken the vital first steps in opening up to our staff in Romania. Over traditional dishes they had each prepared from their respective countries, they began to divulge their stories. “Sometimes, a word, a smile and a hand can be healing,” reports Not For Sale Romania’s Director, Mariana. Over the coming weeks we will provide updates on the women and hope they can continue their rapid recovery.
New Survivors From Africa Begin Recovery
September 4, 2012
This week from Not For Sale Romania, we received three survivors of trafficking from Rwanda and Nigeria. The women have not yet been able to divulge their stories as they begin the long and arduous process of recovery, however Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania, reports that one girl ‘was calling her Mother. We saw the joy and happiness in her eyes’. Not For Sale Romania has not had too many survivors from the Eastern or Western reaches of the contient in the past. We will continue to support them and hopefully learn of their journey, hoping that it is not part of an unforeseen trend.
Emotional Trial Over For Survivor
August 20, 2012
Last week we reported how a survivor of human trafficking in Romania was taking great strides towards her recovery by testifying against her traffickers. This week, we are able to provide an update on her trial. After seven grueling hours her trial is over. According to Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania, there were “tears of grief and memories...they make one remember the period when one was...a ‘money maker’”. The survivor will now receive psychological support from the NFS Romania team and wait to hear the verdict in three months.
Survivor of Trafficking To Testify Against Traffickers
August 13, 2012
Today from Not For Sale Romania a survivor of human trafficking takes her first steps towards recovery. The survivor was sexually exploited, abused and locked in an apartment for more than two years. Along with 8 other girls she was brought between 6-10 clients per day by her traffickers. “[The survivor] will have a trial in Bucharest. We hope that her endurances which she faced...are coming to an end” reports Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania. She now receives shelter, healthcare and much needed emotional support at Not For Sale Romania.
Calacea Farm Instrumental to Reintegration
August 6, 2012
Staff at NFS Romania this week shared news of a survivor making incredible progress towards reintegration through the vocational skills she's learning on the farm. The 16 year-old girl came to from a history of exploitation within her own home. Mariana, Director of NFS Romania explains, “the past [made] her lose her trust in herself, in people. But step by step she regains her smile". As the Calacea farm continues to grow, more and more survivors can be supported through vocational training. On completion, the farm can provide a home and stable future for over 50 survivors of trafficking.
Not For Sale Romania To Provide New Catering Service
July 30, 2012
This week from Not For Sale Romania a new initiative is to be piloted alongside the Romanian government. In conjunction with the local Mayor’s office, Not For Sale will provide a catering service for elderly in the area who struggle to cook themselves. All ingredients will be sourced from the Not For Sale farm in Romania, where survivors of trafficking live and maintain six greenhouses. The farm provides shelter for survivors while allowing them to gain life skills and a sustainable source of income.
A New Source of Sustainable Income
July 25, 2012
In April we reported that Not For Sale Romania, supported by Google.org, completed the 2nd phase of construction on the farm and organic vegetables were planted in the new greenhouses. This week, we are delighted to hear from Mariana, Director of Not For Sale Romania, who mentions more good news from the farm: “Our cow [now] gives us 15 liters everyday, so we don’t [need to] spend more money for milk. From next week we will also make cheese.” The farm enables Not For Sale to create a sustainable source of income and food while providing job training and shelter for survivors of trafficking.
Survivor Makes Strides to Recovery
July 3, 2012
This week, a young survivors of trafficking makes a breakthrough at NFS Romania. Mariana, Director of NFS Romania shares with us the great new that, “One of our new survivors expressed that she is ready to change her destiny. She wants to move forward and participate in a long-term reintegration program. This is an important milestone for any survivors and we are very happy for this!” It is critical that for a survivor of exploitation to fully recover, she must willingly choose her own future. It could take weeks or years, but when it does, it is worth celebrating.
You are Invited to Join us in Celebrating!
June 22, 2012
Mariana, NFS Romania Director reports, "We are very happy now because soon we will be celebrating a special moment in our big family. One of our beneficiary's announced to us that she will get married and she is very happy. She will invite us from NFS Romania to her wedding. Everyday we are experiencing many happy and many sad events, but we are together, and we are supporting each other through the good and the bad. It is very special when we get to support each other through something good, so for now we invite you to join us in wishing them 'Congratulations and Happy Wedding!' "
Breaking News: Iraqi Trafficking Victims Find Refuge In Romania
June 6, 2012
Iraqi trafficking victims find refuge with NFS Romania! Social Impact Director Christina Hebets reports from on the ground in Romania that the NFS team is investigating new trafficking routes where individuals are move from Iraq through Bulgaria and Romania to Western Europe. Many traffickers utilize Romania's porous borders to transport victims to Western Europe. NFS Romania has given haven to several Iraqi victims in the past year, and overall 25% of victims supported in Romania since January 2011 have come from the Middle East or North Africa.
Local Catering Company Enables Sustainability
May 17, 2012
Last week, Adela and Maria, two survivors at Not For Sale Romania became employed at local catering company. The milestone marked a significant step in creating their own future by earning a sustainable income. In 2012, the catering company has provided jobs to 4 survivors at NFS Romania and is one the largest buyers of produce grown at the NFS Romania farm. The relationship with the catering company allows NFS to earn an income to further provide aftercare for survivors of trafficking while creating a channel for dignified work.
The Arab Spring Fuels Trafficking to Romania
May 7, 2012
The Arab Spring brought a wave of civil demonstrations and protest across the Arab world. Political unrest created instability and consequently traffickers took advantage of the vulnerable. Since January 2011, 25% of victims supported at NFS Romania were from North Africa or the Middle East, mainly Tunisia. Most of which were young men trafficked for forced labor. Many traffickers utilize Romania's porous borders to transport victims to Western Europe. Even in the midst of an intercontinental revolution for justice and democracy, the world's most vulnerable remain prey to the profit of others.
Romania | The Model
May 2, 2012
Watch the video to see how Not For Sale is fighting slavery in Romania.
For Survivors, Freedom Means Creating a Future
April 30, 2012
Alex, a survivor at NFS Romania, for the first time is making decisions about his future. Alex grew up in an orphanage in Romania, abused and neglected. As a child, he was forced to into prostitution in a nightclub. For four years, he faced repeated abuse, threats, and was unable to leave. Alex is now receiving holistic support and rehabilitation at NFS Romania. For the first time in his life, Alex has a family and a dignified job at a catering company. By earning his own income, Alex is regaining his sense of self worth and is now free to create his own future.
Romanian Gangs Use Olympics to Recruit Victims
April 24, 2012
Trafficking of Romanians to London for the 2012 Olympics is rapidly increasing. Just last week, within 24 hours, NFS repatriated two girls trafficked to the U.K. In London, police recently discovered 50 Romanian women believed to be trafficked into U.K to work as prostitutes. Organized crime syndicates are recruiting hundreds of Romanians who hope to encounter opportunity, but are forced to beg, steal and have sex. The surge of Romanian beggars is unprecedented and surely organized by gangs who hope to profit from their suffering with the influx of tourist during the Olympics.
Spring Brings Jobs to Survivors
April 18, 2012
Now that winter has passed, Not For Sale Romania recently completed the 2nd phase of construction on the farm. The roof on a building expected to house 50 survivors and at-risk community members was installed while onions, garlic, spinach and strawberries were planted in the new greenhouses. Five survivors of labor exploitation are currently working on the farm and a total of 18 will be employed by end of 2012. Funded by Google.org, the expansion of the NFS Romania farm intends to generate income to NFS Romania rehabilitation programs and provide dignified jobs to the most vulnerable.
Prevention Program Begins Summer 2012
April 12, 2012
Today, Not For Sale completed the first draft of a prevention program to be piloted in Romanian schools this summer. We recognize the need to stop trafficking before it starts through a greater consciousness of human trafficking and options for economic alternatives. We cannot stand to watch girls like Ana, trafficked in Romania for sex, who now at 16 years old is pregnant and infected with syphilis. Not For Sale is providing Ana extensive healthcare and shelter, but dream for a future where girls like Ana have access dignified employment.
Economic Solutions For Today
April 6, 2012
This week, NFS assisted Mara, a 13 year old girl, who was forced to beg for money and live in an abandoned house for two years throughout winter. Mariana, NFS Romania Director, expressed how the incident, “Convinced us once more that we live in a world where childhood is often stolen.” Where it is easy to lose hope, NFS seeks solutions. The NFS farm in Romania will provide survivors like Mara and others at-risk, economic alternatives to design their own future free of exploitation. With construction and greenhouse installation well underway, we’ll be able to house additional workers in May.
Survivor Returns to Her Family!
March 30, 2012
Two days ago, Not For Sale Romania reported that Laura*, a 30 year-old victim of human trafficking, who was trafficked and exploited through a labor trafficking ring has been successfully reintegrated with her family! NFS Romania consistently works to reintegrate survivors of human trafficking with their families as often as possible. If the immediate family is not an option, NFS Romania looks for other creative ways to assist an individual with reintegration into society.
After 10 Years of Forced Labor, Adriana is Free
March 23, 2012
After 10 years of forced labor Adriana* was recently liberated by Romanian law enforcement and welcomed into NFS Romania’s reintegration program. According to NFS’ Program Director; “Adriana was in a horrible place and had been forced to work for over 10 years without receiving any money.” Because of Adriana’s disabilities, her traffickers also used her to collect money from the government that was intended to go to her care, but she never received any of it. She is now being accommodated at NFS Romania and will continue to receive services to rebuild her life.
Report: NFS Romania Assists 5 Child Survivors
March 20, 2012
"This week was a difficult one," shares NFS Romania Director Mariana, "5 new beneficiaries were referred to us by the Romanian Authorities. Girls between 12-15 years old were sexually exploited and forced to beg for a crime syndicate." Despite the challenges Not For Sale Romania faces on the front-lines, the team consistently provides much needed care to survivors, ensuring each individual is able to fully regain their self-worth and dignity. Liberation is just the first step on the road to a new future, a road that NFS Romania is committed to walking with each individual they support.
NFS Romania : Providing Vocational Training for Survivors
March 13, 2012
Providing vocational training is a key part of the reintegration work that NFS Romania is doing to create new futures for survivors of human trafficking. Last month was the first step towards a new future for several survivors at NFS Romania as they began attending courses in the salon where they are learning skills in cosmetology. Those in the training program report that they are eagerly anticipating the growth they will experience through learning these new skills as well as the new opportunities that are unfolding ahead of them.
Justice for survivor of trafficking in Romania
February 29, 2012
Not For Sale Romania recently experienced another victory! One of the beneficiaries of NFS Romania won a trial against her trafficker who had sexually exploited her. This survivor represents another life saved and successfully re-integrated thanks to the crucial work of our team in Romania. This is one of several court victories Not For Sale Romania is celebrating.
See the Impact
In Romania, Not For Sale supports the work of partner, Mariana, to protect, rehabilitate and repatriate survivors of trafficking. The NFS Romania farm offers individuals in recovery opportunities for education, life skill training and new employment, to restore dignity and help re-build the future of those who have been exploited.
On the Ground in Romania
In 2007, Romania entered the EU and border crossing was simplified, enabling more opportunities for the illicit transportation of people and goods from Eastern Europe to the West.
Despite the increasing risks of trafficking in Romania, in 2009, the government restructured its lead anti-trafficking agency, leading to a significant negative impact on the progress towards combating human trafficking. Lack of funding has caused many NGOs to close down or divert their focus elsewhere. Many argue Romania is left without a reliable government agency to provide direction, implementation and protection for trafficking victims.
Since 2011, Not For Sale has provided services of shelter, education, healthcare, extensive counseling, and vocational training to survivors who have been trafficked for labor, prostitution, or even illegal adoption. For a survivor to fully regain self-worth, dignity and integration, the rehabilitation process itself needs to embody free will. Every case of human trafficking is different, and every person reacts and recovers at different paces. Although the strategy remains consistent, the respect for independence, flexibility, personalized care, and unconditional support is what makes Not For Sale Romania successful.
Rehabilitation and New Opportunities
Just outside Timișoara, NFS Romania operates an organic farm to accommodate survivors of human trafficking through rehabilitation and grow produce which can be sold to local restaurants and catering companies. This creates an environment where survivors gain skills, earn an income, and provide themselves with an opportunity for a future. In 2012, Not For Sale completed a project to scale the farm, constructing a building that can house up to 50 additional farm workers, a workshop space to make jams, milk, cheese and two greenhouses to produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.