Masthead for Europe Out of the Shadows


In recent years the coerced movement of humans in Europe has dramatically increased, with Italy experiencing a 600% uptick in 2015. (Source) Organized crime rings exploit 700,000 to 4 million new victims of human trafficking each year, typically luring them across borders where they are more vulnerable to abuse. But statistics alone can hardly convey the harsh reality of humans forcibly traded across the continent. The majority of trafficking victims in Europe are young adult women who are trafficked for sexual purposes(Source), with the exploration of children sharply on the rise. Trafficking for forced labor makes up one third of all trafficking occurrences in Europe where the victims are forced to work in industries such as agriculture, fishery, construction, manufacturing, and textiles.(Source)


Photo of Michael

Michael was looking for jobs on the internet when he met Lorant, who offered him the chance to earn a lot of money working as a male escort in the United States. Michael and several other men accepted the offer, left Hungary, and traveled to Florida, where Lorant instead forced them into prostitution for 18-20 hours each day without pay. Lorant forced eight men to stay in a one-bedroom apartment, confiscated their identity documents, and threatened to kill them if they asked to leave. Police discovered the trafficking scheme after neighbors reported unusual behavior outside the men’s living quarters. Lorant was convicted of human trafficking and racketeering and sentenced to 11 years in prison. (Source)
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Photo of Blessing

When Blessing Okoedion was 26, she headed to Spain for a job she had been offered at a computer store. But the job offer was a ruse. Her work visa had been faked by human traffickers. There was no computer store job. After a brief stop in Spain, her captors sent her to Naples, Italy. They told her that she owed them 65,000 euros — more than $70,000 in today’s dollars. And they forced her into sex work on the streets of an Italian town. (Source)
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