For years Anna could not find work in her hometown. A very kind person offered her a job on a mushroom farm abroad. All Anna had to do was borrow some money, pay a few fees and hand over her passport. They would take care of the rest.
Anna worked in terrible conditions on the mushroom farm. She was intimidated and physically abused. The employer withheld her wages, saying she owed them money.
One day, the police raided the farm.
The police arrested all of the workers. They were held in detention for having false passports and no working permits.
The police knew Anna had been trafficked and gave her the choice: press charges, or go to jail. But it wasn’t so easy. The traffickers had threatened to hurt Anna’s family.
Anna had no money for a lawyer to help her. And the traffickers’ lawyers claimed she was lying and had violated the law.
The judge could not find enough evidence to charge the traffickers. Anna was told she had to leave the country.
But there was a problem. Anna could not pay back the money she had borrowed to go abroad. So she stayed. A family employed her as a domestic worker. They exploited her, but she was too scared to go to the police. She was trapped...
The police arrested the owners of the mushroom farm and interviewed the workers.
As Anna was a victim of human trafficking, the police referred her to an NGO. They arranged shelter and a free lawyer.
At first, she was too scared to give evidence. She remembered her employer threatening to hurt her family. She was also worried about having a false passport. Her lawyer explained that, because she was trafficked, she would not be punished for this.
With the support of her lawyer and time to recover in the shelter, Anna felt much more secure. After a month, she decided to press charges.
The traffickers were prosecuted. And Anna was granted compensation for her unpaid wages.
She used this to pay back her debts and start a small enterprise back in her hometown.