“He had promised me the only thing I wanted, a sense of security of a life of happiness,” Nikki said. “But on the way I found out that he sold me.”
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in Europe but recent changes in EU legislation gives hope of a new framework to prevent trade of human beings and protect the victims. According to a Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls.
“You had to be tough in order to survive,” Nikki said about her journey to safety, adding that conditions “were barbaric”. Nikki has been living in Malta for the last 13 years and today she runs her own a hair Salon in Swatar. “Here I found what I had been looking for all along; an opportunity to live,” Nikki said.
Individuals who do not have access to support remain the most vulnerable to human traffickers. “In Europe there are trafficking rings that prey on asylum seekers, in particular where there is lack of an asylum system; where asylum seekers live in the streets or depend on others for support. This makes them the most vulnerable for exploitation,” Ms Fadela Novak from UNHCR’s Europe Bureau said during a recent visit to Malta.
In 2011 the Maltese Government launched an anti-trafficking action plan which was welcomed by UNHCR and human rights agencies.
The UNHCR office in Malta worked with a local production company to develop five Public Service Announcements (PSA) TV spots to raise awareness about how protection status is changing the lives of individuals who found safety in Malta. Read more.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter