Across the world, millions and millions of women and girls live in the long shadows of human trafficking. They live in fear and pain.

Because human trafficking is operated in dark, it is hard to tell the exact number of its victims.

Human trafficking is the trade of humans for forced labour, sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.

Luiza Karimova was a victim of human trafficking but she got a way out of it. When she was 22 years old, she left her home in Uzbekistan and traveled to Osh, Kyrgyzstan with the hope that she might get work there. However, without her Kyrgyz ID or University degree, Luiza had a tough time finding employment. She accepted a job in Bishkek, the capital city in the North of Kyrgyzstan. A woman offered her a waitressing job.

But things took a turn for worst after arriving in Bishkek. Luiza recalls that they were all held in an apartment and took away their passports. The people who brought them here, they told them that they have to be photographed again for their new employment documents, to be registered as waitresses. She felt that all of this was a bit strange but all of them believed that.

Then,  Luiza and the other woman were put on a flight to Dubai. They handed them the fake passports instead of the real ones and sent them to an apartment after landing. They were to be a sex slave and do whatever the clients would want. The next day she was sent to a night club and was told that she has to earn at least $10,000 by the end of the month.

For 18 months, her life was in the night club. While leaving the night club one evening, Luiza saw a police car approaching and instead of running away she stayed and got herself arrested. She was deported to Osh, and she spent a year in jail as her passport was fake. She filed a police complaint against the traffickers and the three traffickers were captured.

However, after her release from the prison, she was left to live on the streets. She went back to the sex industry until she was approached by Podruga, an organization that assists women subjected to sex and drug trafficking. Podruga offered her work which she wasn’t sure if she was fit for the job or not. She slowly began to trust them.

Now, Luiza works to prevent the exact situation in which she found herself. As an outreach worker with Podruga, she visits Saunas and other places where sex workers maybe. She often meets girls who often dream of going to Turkey and Dubai to earn more money. She advises them not to go as there is nothing good there.

Luiza provides women with health safety resources and information about legal aid as she wants to secure their futures.

To stop the trafficking of women and girls we have to inform more people about the full consequences of human trafficking and how to detect the signs.

It is critical to start raising awareness about this in schools and colleges so that they don’t become victims.


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