A young 18 year old Romanian girl, Nicoletta,
was in Italy with her mother and younger sister when befriended at a restaurant by Anton an attractive young man who said he owned restaurants in London if she wanted a job there. Against her parents advise she took him up on the offer but was escorted to Belfastinstead with another Man who told her to destroy her Romanian passport but she secretly didn’t and at Belfast International Airport she was questioned and deported back to Spain. She managed to get home to her parents but weeks later Anton arrived again at her home in Italy and abducted her , this time her father managed to stop the trafficking before she was forced to board another plane. Her Father sent the family back to Romania for safety.
6 months go by without incident.
Then one day when she was walking to the shop she catches sight of Anton in a car in her village. Her heart drops, she starts to shake. She quickly runs home.
A week later, Nicoletta was out front of her house and a car pulled up. Anton and a police officer got out of the car. They told her to get into the car. She refused. At this point they physically forced her into the car. She kicked and screamed and resisted. The police officer pulled a gun out and threatened to kill her. She was so frightened.
Anton and the police officer drove Nicoletta to a flat in what she believes was the capital city. They locked her in and left. Soon another man came and said he needed to take a photo of her for her new passport. After he took a few photos, he asked Nicoletta to undress. She did not want to. He grabbed her hair and began to beat her face off of the bed, the chair, the wall. He then raped her. At this stage Nicoletta was drifting in and out of consciousness.
This was the start of what Nicoletta calls the week that ruined her life. She can barely speak about what happened to her. But from what she has said, we know that she was sold to different men for sex over and over again.
A week later, Nicoletta was taken to yet another airport. Anton and Nicoletta boarded the flight to what we believe was Dublin. A man picked them up at the airport and they drove to Belfast.
They stopped in Belfast at a café and during this meal, by chance the car was parked illegally. Two police officers came in and asked for the owners of the car to move it on. The men said for Nicoletta to stay at the table. They would be back in a minute. Nicoletta saw this opportunity to escape. She ran until found herself in a crowded shopping centre. She heard two Romanian women speaking and approached them. She told them she had escaped from two men who had hurt her. They helped take her to the nearest police station.
The PSNI, as first responders, referred Nicoletta into Women’s Aidservices.
We know from experience of supporting female victims of human trafficking that they have endured extreme trauma. To overcome the complexities involved in this, can take a very long time. However, we know that with the appropriate support and pathways of care victims can learn to rebuild their lives again.