Loanna was born in Africa. Her mother disappeared when she was very young and so she lived with an elderly woman, who treated her as her own child. Loanna did not attend school, but spent her early childhood looking after the woman.
When Loanna was 13 the woman died. Loanna spent the next few years staying with various friends and sleeping rough.
Some of these 'friends' beat Loanna and forced her to work for them. She was raped by a number of men. She could not go to the Police because she knew they would not help as they only helped rich people.
One day an English man called Stuart stopped to talk to her. He said he could help her and asked if she would like to do domestic work for him in England.
Loanna travelled to England with Stuart. He had all the paperwork for this trip and did all the talking with Immigration officials when they arrived in England.
When she arrived at Stuart's house, Loanna was told that she would be working as a masseuse. She was shocked at this and refused. She was beaten and threatened that she would be arrested if she did not do as she was told.
Loanna was locked in the house and was forced to have sex with up to seven men every day.
After 6 months the house was raided by the police. Loanna was held and sent to a Detention Centre. Stuart visited Loanna in there, threatening her not to tell the truth, or she would be sent back to Africa and killed there by his friends. Loanna was told by friends she made that if she returned to Africa, it was very likely these threats would be carried out, as it was known to have happened to other women who had reported their traffickers and been sent back. The visits were stopped after Loanna revealed the truth, but she still received threatening phone calls, often from people she had never met.
Loanna was eventually released from the Detention Centre and was assisted by the Poppy project. She received counselling for her anxiety and depression and was provided with secure accommodation and support services.
She is still scared to go out alone and worries that she will be found and punished by her traffickers.
Katarina was a student in Romania. She built up a friendship with a friend of a friend named Alex, who invited her to the UK and told her that she could stay at his house, he would even help her with the air fare.
When she arrived in the UK, Katerina was held prisoner in a flat where she was repeatedly beaten and raped.
Alex told her that she could have her freedom, but she would have to work as a prostitute to pay back the money that he had paid to bring her here. Katerina eventually gave in and began work, paying all of the money she made to Alex.
When she missed one payment she was dragged from the street into the boot of a waiting car. Once again Alex held Katerina prisoner, and once again she was repeatedly raped and beaten. Katerina was forced to return to work as a prostitute for over a year until Alex decided that he would sell her on to some other men. While trying to carry out the transaction Alex was arrested.
Katerina was introduced to the Poppy Project and after providing secure accommodation we referred her to a counselling service. She was given lots of support around coping with her fear of leaving the house and also assisted with access to legal advice and interpreting among many other services. She was supported and guided to enrol in classes and also explored voluntary work.
This was not the end of the ordeal for Katerina. Alex made threats to have her family killed if she cooperated with the police investigation, in addition there were at that time, no laws to prosecute traffickers and Alex walked free.
Although Katerina is happy in Britain she fears for the safety of her family back home as Alex has many connections. She misses her family and would like to go home but believes that she will never be able to return. Her parents have received many anonymous phone calls and she is concerned for the safety of her siblings.
Stories taken from www.poppyproject.org
Human Traffiking is nothing new, like a virus it can adapt and evolve, infesting any society and culture.
Since the fall of communism, there has been a marked increase in women from Russia and Eastern Europe being trafficked in to the West. Most of these women were lured by men they trusted, who promised them a life with better opportunities.
On arrival, these women find that they are actually being sold into sexual slavery. There was a recent media report of an "auction" of two terrified teenage girls taking place in an airport coffee shop.
If the stories, of the "lucky ones", those who escaped are so horrific, imagine the suffering of those who are not so fortunate, those who are trapped in a cycle of fear and abuse.
For more information, go to www.humantraffiking.com. Also, the MTV Europe's Exit Now campaign site give guidance of how to raise awareness in your area and has links to different organisations which help these women.