We have been in Moldova a couple of days now. This little country that lies between Ukraine and Romania is beautiful despite all of the terrible corruption, extreme poverty and constant devaluing of human life. It is said to have the most amount of trafficked victims in all of Europe--one million missing in one year!
Today we headed south to a little village where we met a woman who has forever changed my life. For five years now I have been fighting this massive injustice of trafficking human beings: I have read, researched, spoken to groups, supported ministries, challenged people to get involved and do something, but on this night I walked away with a real story that sank deep in my heart. The issue became more real than ever as I held my baby girl and played with her little girls who, I later realized, were born in a brothel.
Our little team gathered together as she shared her story with us and it went something like this:
Times were really hard; my husband lost his job and we couldn’t find any work. We would do anything except take our kids to the streets to beg. One day a lady came to me and said there was work in Moscow in the markets. We decided that I would leave my husband and two little kids to go work in Moscow and send the money home to feed my family.
Everything was good for the first few months. The lady who recruited us women was a Moldovan and had a family back home too. We trusted her with our lives, until one day we came home to find out she had taken all of our identification and documents. She told us she was moving us to a new location for work. Never would I dream of the horror I would live through for the next four years of my life. We were taken to an abandoned factory where hundreds of trafficked people were working. Men were forced to pack weapons and drugs; ladies were made into prostitutes, beaten and raped again and again. I birthed two baby girls in two years. They took the babies away and kept them in a basement with other babies of other women. They only brought them up to be fed and we were given whichever baby they brought to us, whether it was ours or not. The babies were being born and grown in order to be harvested for their organs and sold on the black market. This evil really does exist.
One day I could not handle this life any longer. I wanted to die. A Belorussian man who was working near me told me not to give up, but to pray and trust God and we would be rescued. I started to believe and pray.
Several weeks later, a couple of men escaped, which led to the Russian Army shutting down the factory of hundreds of human slaves. We were told we would be sent home. I had to pick two babies that I believed in my heart were mine to take home.
When I returned home with my babies, life did not get easier. My husband left me with now four kids to raise, my mother cursed me until the day she died and my brother wanted nothing to do with me. My father heard my story and believed me enough to let me live with my children under his roof. People shamed me and believed I got myself into a life of prostitution. I could not get a job due to the fact that my documents said I had been trafficked. I was beaten by the traffickers so hard so many times on my head that I developed a tumor. I had to make a decision to get treatment in order to live and raise my children and try to protect them from the evil life I had experienced. I had to have chemotherapy three times. I am too weak and my body too abused to do physical labor for work. When once again I found my self hopeless a wonderful ministry picked me up and helped me start a new life. They built a chicken coup so now I can raise chickens and sell the eggs at the market. They come and check on me and my children often.
I sat and listened to this beautiful woman tell her awful story and left the room a few times to watch my baby girl play with her sweet children, two of which were born in the brothel but saved from having their little kidneys, lungs and beating hearts being taken from their bodies.
Some stories are never forgotten. Some will bring tears to your eyes, some will change your life forever. This one did for me, and now I will pass this story on because this woman deserves for her testimony to impact others, to cause us to react and do something, anything, to free the captives, to speak on their behalf.