A21 in AprilBy Annie Dollarhide
17 Apr 2012
Have your heard the news? We’ve successfully prosecuted three traffickers! Three court victories in the past three weeks have caused joyous celebrations in our A21 offices around the globe. The last case was our largest conviction to date with two traffickers sentenced each to over 15 years in prison and a collective penalty fine of 200,000 euros. We are grateful for our legal team who relentlessly fights for justice and freedom. Our partners, staff, legal team, and founders continue to fight for girls like Ira.*
Ira was a beautiful young girl who moved from her village into the city to work in a restaurant as a dish washer. At 17 years old she was left to create her new life and survive on the meager income she made. One night while having coffee with some friends, three charming men approached their table and began bantering back and forth and offered to buy them drinks. The last thing Ira remembers was the café, her friends, and laughter. When she awoke, she was in the backseat of a car crossing the border into Poland with the men from the pub. Except no one was laughing. In fact, no one spoke to her even though she begged for an explanation, begged for her wallet, begged for her passport. Silence.
Ira’s nightmare would repeat as her trafficker rented her out to various men for hours at a time. Over and over and over her nightmare repeated. After being pummeled and beaten enough times, she would succumb to resignation, or worse, pass out from pain. But then something happened. Something she hoped for yet didn’t believe would occur. She was rescued by local police and taken to our A21 shelter in Kiev, Ukraine where she received medical aid, psychological care, and now is smiling, laughing, and believing she has the ability to rebuild her life…a life of freedom. We recognize that redemption comes from all sides and everyone plays a part in bringing freedom to girls like Ira.
With your continued support and care, we are able to stand in courtrooms and bring freedom, open shelter doors and welcome strangers, and sit around tables to laugh and dream of new futures. If would love like to get more involved with the fight for freedom, visit our newly designed Get Involved page or check out our new blog to read updates, hear about our heroes, or learn about new initiatives. *Ira’s name has been changed to protect her identity.