The COALESCE project aims at providing support to female migrant victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in Europe through gender-specific psycho-social, legal and economic support and assistance.
Within the framework of the COALESCE project we are happy to announce a series of blog posts that bring forward the stories and perspectives of migrant women victims of trafficking in their integration journeys in Europe.
Today we bring you “Unforgettable: I started from scratch”, written by a women accompanied and supported by our partner SOLWODI (Germany).
Involving five European countries – Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Lithuania, Ireland, and Germany – our partnership is set to develop synergies and complementarities in facilitating needs identification, assistance and support, and improve transnational cooperation among frontline professionals and practitioners in the field of trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.
This project is funded by the European Union Asylum Migration and Integration Fund.
Learn more about the COALESCE project here.
“Unforgettable: I started from scratch”
Life, as they say, cannot be predicted. Wanting to live a normal life is asking too much but, what is the dream of every child that has been born into this world? Well, they can still dream. They are still babies, and their parents are responsible. A very important question is what happens to the child when parents or the family that is supposed to love and care for the child are the ‘problem’ – when they are the oneshurting the child. An innocent child, a sweet girl. I didn’t ask to be born. It wasn’t my fault that I was born into this world, and I didn’t choose my parents or family. I did nothing wrong. I grew like every normal kid until life took a U-turn when my mother remarried. I never knew my father. Having a new daddy changed everything for me: I became the bad blood, the one who everybody blames for everything. I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes, like every other child. When I did, they hit me at the slightest provocation. I never understood why everything changed, why they hated me. I mean, what does an 8-year-old child know?
Continue reading this story…
Within the framework of the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the #COALESCE partnership presents the Mind the Gap Reports: a needs analysis for the integration of migrant female victims of #HumanTrafficking for sexual exploitation/abuse in 6 different countries. Read the full reports here in English:
Debunking ‘sex work’ #2 Language, Migration and Trafficking with Anna Zobnina and Marie Merklinger
We hope you all enjoyed the second instalment in our Debunking ‘sex work’ series, which saw Anna Zobnina, Policy Coordinator for the European Network of Migrant Women and member of the Executive committee of European Women’s Lobby, and Marie Merklinger, activist and member of SPACE International, in conversation with Olesia Sagaidak from Radical Girlsss.
If you missed it, you can watch it in full on our Facebook page!
We are so excited to have kicked off our series of online events entitled Debunking ‘Sex Work’: Conversations about Prostitution! Last week saw conversation #1 hosted by our very own Esohe Aghatise, who talked to Gail Dines, PornlandAuthor and Founder and President of Culture Reframed, on the theme of Pornogrpahy and Prostitution. You can watch the recording of the event here.
Check out our event page on Facebook for updates on all of the exciting speakers that will join us from around the world each week.
This series continues every Thursday at 12 noon EDT / 5pm UK / 6pm CET until 1st July, so follow this link to sign up to watch on Zoom (with Italian translation available) or follow the event on Facebook Live!
We are very pleased to start a new project COALESCE, which began in January 2021, funded by the AMIF Fund and led by the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS), in partnership with Cyprus Refugee Council (Cyprus), CARITAS Cyprus, IROKO Onlus (Italy), Marta Centre (Latvia), European Network of Migrant Women, Immigrant Council Ireland, Solwodi (Germany), Klapeida (Lithuania).
Coalesce is a two-year transnational project involving five European countries: Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Lithuania, Ireland, and Germany.
Read our press release to find out exactly what the project is all about!
In her interview with Radical Girlsss to mark the EU’s Anti-Trafficking Day 2020, Rachel Moran, whose own book Paid for: My Journey through Prostitution we consider a must-read for everybody, was asked about what advice she would give young women today. She talked about the modern challenges posed by social media and the way young women are constantly bombarded with images and messages about sexuality, as well as the importance of arming ourselves with information, learning from the feminists who have gone before us.
“We, all of us – young women and middle-aged women like myself – we need to respect our elders, and that’s something that I don’t see us doing often enough. Because there are women who’ve come before us, who have written extremely important texts and, honestly, if I had read – I’m not sure when Sheila Jeffreys’ The Idea of Prostitution was actually published, I think it might have been during the ‘90s. But I can tell you had I read that book before I got into prostitution, I wouldn’t have gone near prostitution. You know, because it lays out so very clearly the dynamics of what prostitution involves.
To Mark the EU Anti-Trafficking Day 2020, Adriana from Radical Girlsss (the youth wing of the European Network of Migrant Women) interviewed Rachel Moran, the survivor activist, author of Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution and founding member of the survivor group SPACE International.
Can trafficking for sexual exploitation be separated from prostitution? We agree with Rachel that they are part of the same phenomenon: trafficking exists to feed the ever-growing market for women’s bodies. You can read our statement on why we must target demand for prostitution in order to tackle trafficking for sexual exploitation.
For the second year in a row, Iroko was invited to participate in the event Rosso Indelebile (Indelible red), a series of artistic events, which took place in Turin and focused on the theme of gender-based violence. For two years Rosso Indelebile has brought art to various shared spaces around the city not usually designated as artistic locations. Similarly, the theme of gender-based violence is part of our everyday lives and “cannot be enclosed in an auditorium, but must be exposed and talked about by everyone”, by society, as highlighted by Isabella Bulgheroni, a member of the organisation Artemixia, one of the organisers of the event, in collaboration with the NGO MAIS. The aim of taking art onto the streets is to encourage people to ask themselves questions, and potentially find the answers, stimulating both the individual and the collective to try and see the world from different perspectives.
Gender-based violence, specifically, is a pressing issue, with a “war being fought around the world”, as defined by Esohe Aghatise, the president of Iroko. On 29th September Iroko participated in the 2020 installment, attending an event dedicated to migration flows and trafficking – details of which are here (in Italian) – and bringing the testimony of a survivor of trafficking and prostitution, Liliam Altuntas, who has told her story through the book of which she is the protagonist, I girasoli di Liliam’ (currently only available in Italian).
In early 2020 we had the pleasure of meeting Liliam Altuntas, a Brazilian woman resident in Turin who is a survivor – or, as Liliam puts it, a warrior, a fighter – of trafficking and prostitution, an activist with Resistenza Femminista, and the protagonist of the book I Girasoli di Liliam, written by the psychologist, Teresa Giulia Canòne. Sadly, for the time being, the book is only available in Italian, but here Liliam tells part of her story – which we have translated from Italian – and what it means to her to have come out the other side, as an activist for herself and for other women.
I know what it means to hide your past… a past full of mistakes.
Sometimes not even your family want to talk to you. Nobody wants to talk to someone who does drugs, who steals, who constantly tells lies, to hear about the person I was…
Today I can truly say who I am. I am a black woman, a foreigner, even though I don’t think the word ‘foreign’ makes sense, because we’re all made of the same stuff, we all have the same bodily functions. Being in prostitution has weighed heavily on me, being someone who went from one bed to another with different men, satisfying their fantasies… For a long time I was forced into it, and then I continued because I believed that I was destined to die alone, without knowing real love…