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September 4, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The Moldova Project: Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative in Michigan Part 2

By Jeany Miller More Blogs by This Author

Continued from yesterday's story.

A Horrifying Reality

Sharon Williams, president of Caring Alternatives, Inc., explains that human trafficking involves much more than prostitution. Begging, free labor, and harvesting body parts also fall under the category. And this means that no age group is exempt from the horrors of the trade. It also means that the victims who fall prey can be subjected to any number of cruelties. 

Just outside of Moldova, some women are trafficked for the explicit purpose of having babies. Immediately after being born, the infants are taken from their mothers - not to be cared for, but so that their body parts can be harvested and sold to wealthy patrons willing to pay top dollar. 

“Humans are business commodities in and around my country,” Nadia says.  

Perhaps this explains the 30,000 young women currently missing in Moldova, which is the foremost country in Europe for human trafficking. Overall, this trade is the second most profitable in the world, and as Nadia explains, it is often occurring “hidden in sight” by a network of covert individuals working to do nothing but sell people. Even people allegedly in Moldova to improve its living conditions are often involved in human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a global issue,” Mrs. Williams explains. “Miami, Florida, and Toledo, Ohio, are both hot spots for activities like prostitution and begging. It is our job as caregivers and social activists to provide the help necessary to give victims better lives.” 

Meaning

Improving the lives of people in Moldova is just what Nadia has been striving for. This young woman is highly educated, she speaks Russian, Romanian, and English fluently, and is also proficient in both Norwegian and Turkish. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and is working toward her master degree in clinical psychology.

But scholastic aptitude is just one of Nadia’s many traits. She also longs to see the day when her country is a safer place for children and adults alike. “I volunteer at Moldovan summer camps sponsored by non-profit organizations and churches,” she says. “These camps vary in length; some are seven, 10, or even 14 days. They offer day sports, games, group counseling, and evening educational programs to children from area orphanages. Our goal is to challenge these kids to pursue their educations and take care of themselves.” 

Caring Alternatives, Inc. is teaming up with Nadia to further assist the efforts in Moldova. Basic goals of this collaboration include teaching English to Moldovan children; holding teachers accountable for their classroom lessons; and providing trauma work during counseling sessions.

“Right now, we want to work more closely with human trafficking victims,” Sharon says. “Education is key, but we have only a small opportunity. We need to find ways to educate vulnerable children and teach them social skills to make good judgment decisions. They lack the ability to function and think critically in the real world. Our efforts can give them a sense of purpose and keep them out of the human trafficking industry.” 

“I don’t want to just work for money,” Nadia concurs. “I want my life to have meaning.” It is for this reason that after obtaining her graduate degree Nadia plans to remain in Moldova and help the children in her home country. 

All Help Is Appreciated

If you would like to help Nadia and Sharon with the Moldova Project, please call Caring Alternatives at (734) 242-8711.You can also email sharon@caringalternatives.com or lennie@caringalternatives.com. The present goal is to raise funds so additional counselors from Caring Alternatives can travel to Moldova and begin working with other area agencies. Groups interested in partnering with or collaborating on this project are also encouraged to contact Caring Alternatives.

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