Fiet Gratia

The testimony of a victim of human trafficking: “I could not go on, i was desperate”

My name is Nicoleta, and I am from Romania. I would like to share my story.

I always wanted to be loved by my family, to have a happy home, and to feel my mother’s love. But instead, since childhood I felt rejected and despised by my parents. I lived with them until I was 18 years old, when my mother sold me to a family member.

I arrived in Spain on a day I will never forget. I had been deceived, thinking I was coming to care for elderly individuals, but that was not true. When I arrived they took me to a house. They cut my hair and put makeup on me. They gave me some cards with Spanish words on them so I could begin to learn the language.  After one week, they took me to a sex club and they made me prostitute myself.  I had to give them all of the money I earned. All I received was abuse, harassment, insults, and contempt.

After being forced to work for two years in prostitution in a sex club, they tried to sell me to some Albanians to get more money from me. In the end, they moved me to a different club, where I was again sexually exploited, in worse conditions than before, for six more years.

I continually asked myself, “Why did all this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?” I was desperate and I felt alone. All I wanted was the love of my family. I could not even talk with them without being controlled.

During Christmas one year, a family member came to spend the holidays with us. She saw that I was not doing well and she realized what was happening to me and what they were doing to me. She offered me the possibility of going with her to a different club where the treatment was much better than the others. I was there several months until I decided to return to my family in Romania. Finally I had escaped my nightmare, at least that is what I thought.

When I arrived in Romania, I learned that my parents had separated. I asked my father if I could stay in his house, but he ended up kicking me out because I didn’t have any money to pay him. The same thing happened with my mother.

Since I had nowhere to go, I decided to go to one of the largest cities in the country to find work. I got a job as a seamstress and was working there for two and a half years, until I was diagnosed with a serious illness and they fired me from the company.

I was hospitalized and received treatment for six months, at times balancing between life and death. In those moments my family again showed me that they only wanted my money and that I wasn’t important to them at all.

When I was discharged, I had no place to go, so I began a relationship with an older guy I had met during my time in the hospital. I trusted him and told him my whole story, but in the end he also deceived me and brought me to Spain to be prostituted.

I could not go on. I was desperate.

One day I met a woman who helped me escape the situation I was in. She told me about the NGO Fiet Gratia and the work they provided with women who were victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. So I entered one of their safe homes in Madrid, and went through a process of restoration during two years.

Now I am working as a social mediator in one of Fiet Gratia’s safe homes, and I am very happy to be helping women who have experienced the same things I have.