Moldova is the poorest nation in Europe and has one of the highest orphan rates in the world.
The combination of absentee parents and poverty led to the devastating crisis of human trafficking. Over the past 20 years, an estimated 400,000 children and young adults have been abducted from Moldova and sold into sexual slavery.
Most victims end up in the sex trade with a false promise to earn money as a waitress or receptionist. The recruiters typically are people the victim knows and possibly their own family members. While boys and men can fall victim, the industry zeros in on women, children and the disabled.
Moldova, officially Republic of Moldova, declared itself as an independent state in 1991 and is the poorest country in Europe. There are currently 2,913,281 inhabitants in Moldova, many of which are in danger of human trafficking. Due to the poor economic state, an estimated quarter of the population has emigrated and are working abroad.
Our first trip to Moldova revealed to us the poverty and need for a hope and a better future. We listened to the stories from the kids about alcoholic and abusive parents, living alone with no money or food, parents forced to work outside the country, and simply lives with no hope.