Trapped in Macedonia

People tend to turn blind eye at what’s happening in the heart of the Balkans. Thousands of women are trapped, tortured and forced to have sex in Macedonia. MSNBC doesn’t shut its eyes and gives detailed description of tragic destiny of several women who were forced into prostitution.

Natasha is 21 year old woman from Moldova who was desperate to leave dreadful poverty in her homeland, such as lack of running water, or no money to buy electricity. She believed to a story by a person called Ruslan who pretended to be her suitor. He took Natasha to meet some acquaintances and said they would take her to Italy. That was the last Natasha saw of him.

“Ruslan sold me, and I didn’t even know. I cried. I wanted to go home. But I couldn’t do anything. It was too late”, says Natasha.

MSNBC reports that on buses and cars — and crossing borders on foot — Natasha followed a path to sex slavery trodden by thousands of other hapless women, passing, under the watchful eyes of a gang of Balkans thugs, through Romania, Serbia and Kosovo before ending up in Macedonia. In Veleshta, a key transit town in the sex trade where women are beaten and raped into submission, Natasha was bought by Meti, an ethnic Albanian pimp wanted by the Macedonian police on smuggling and prostitution charges.

Natasha says that she was forced to sleep with more than thousand men during her nine months in Veleshta. Besides the Albanians and Macedonians, there were men from “France, Germany and the United States,” she said, referring to soldiers from the NATO peacekeeping mission in Macedonia and nearby Kosovo.

“They were as bad as the rest,” Natasha said. “They did anything they wanted to us. And besides, if Meti heard me asking them for help, he would have killed me.”

MSNBC says that Natasha was being rescued by a man called Safat with whom she had been forced to have sex. The man couldn’t bear Natasha’s anguish over being tricked into prostitution, so he bought her from her pimp and sent her home to Moldova.

In Europe alone, officials estimate that more than 200,000 women and girls — one-quarter of all women trafficked globally — are smuggled out of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics each year, the bulk of whom end up working as enslaved prostitutes. Almost half are transported to Western Europe. Roughly a quarter end up in the United States. Human rights activists say the numbers do not tell the full story, because most women remain silent rather than turn to frequently corrupt authorities for help, reports MSNBC.


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