Learn about human trafficking – read real survivor stories

Human trafficking stands as the world’s second largest criminal enterprise generating a profit of about 31.6 billion USD every year, with approximately 80% of the victims being women and girls. In particular, trafficking for sexual exploitation brings 27.8 billion USD per year and worldwide there are 1.39 million victims of the commercial sex trade. Russia is one of the countries of origin, country of destination and country of transit for human trafficking victims.

According to experts from Moscow commercial sexual exploitation involved 80 000-100 000 persons in Moscow, while in St. Petersburg it involved around 20 000-30 000 people.

We see a rise in the number of sex trafficking victims being recruited, trafficked and sold by their traffickers online. The new and vastly expanding marketplace provides traffickers a broader, “invisible”, and less risky platform to find and exploit vulnerable youth.


  • Real Stories


Katya* was born in a small city, in a poor family that already had three children. She never knew her father and her mother died when she was five years old. Then her siblings were placed in the orphanage.

Katya had difficulties in school and at age 12, she ran away and went to live in the streets. There she met a 20-year old man who promised to help her and he took her home and off the streets. He lived in another city and therefore covered all the expenses connected with Katya’s movement. Katya believed he was ready to take care of her and she trusted him.

He cared for the girl, but soon began to say that they need money and Katya should help him earn money. He gradually convinced her to provide sexual services to men. He found customers and became her pimp. At 14 years old, Katya became pregnant. She ran away and asked for help calling a support hot line. She was placed in the orphanage for under-aged moms, where she gave birth to a child.

Now Katya is learning how to care for her son. She returned to school and continued her studies. Katya now participates in the JewelGirls program. Making jewelry has helped her to cope with her negative emotional state. After the birth of her child, she has created many new beautiful and pieces of jewelry. Katya wants to be a designer and plans to go to college.



Through a social network Olga*, 17 years old, became friends with a woman who introduced herself as HR manager of one of the biggest employment agencies. The woman offered her an au pair position in Moscow and said that employer was going to cover Olga’s expenses for accommodation, food, transportation and to give her two months’ salary in advance.

Olga decided to agree as her mum was taking care about her all alone and wanted Olga to work somewhere. In the day of Olga’s departure the woman wanted to accompany her to the airport. In the airport Olga and they were stopped by the police and the woman was arrested for recruiting and selling young girls to prostitution.

Now Olga and her mother are participating in the psychotherapy course with SafeHouse Foundation’s specialists. Olga is learning to trust people again and she is also participating in trainings as well as being involving in different Foundation’s activities. She has found part-time work and wants to continue her education and find a legal work in Russia.



Hope* was born in Nigeria, 19 years old. She lived in Benin, in a large family. She wanted to continue her education after school. Family members worked, and they helped her pay for tuition. However, for a family it was great expense.

One day her friend introduced her to a woman who offered her to go to work in Russia. The woman said that in Russia there is the opportunity to work in cleaning – to clean house and offices. She also promised to assist Hope with registration of necessary documents and offered to pay all the costs. Hope agreed. Then the woman helped Hope with tourist visa to Russia, and before the flight she announced  that the amount of Hope’s debt was 45 thousand dollars. Hope  flew from Nigeria (Lagos) in Russia (Moscow).

In Moscow, she was met by a man, was taken to the apartment and that man took away her documents. Two weeks she lived without work, after which she was moved to a small city not far from Moscow, where was forced into prostitution. After couple of months she was brought again to Moscow where she was forced again to work as a prostitute.

There were days in which there were no customers, but most customers were too many, and she had to serve them for very long without a break and rest. Periodically, she was unable to eat or no money to buy food. Pimps and customers offered her alcohol and she drank, so it was easier to deal with the situation. In order to control the pimps tried to contact her family in Nigeria but the girl’s family moved, and they could not find them. They are also constantly threatened and intimidated Hope and reminded her about her  debt.

Only in two years she was able to escape and she was referred to SafeHouse Foundation by NGO within a framework of referral mechanizm. Hope was provided with psychological assistance, she got new documents through the Embassy and came back home.