Friday, December 18, 2015

Dressember: Anna's Story

Throughout her childhood, Anna had seen a great deal of poverty and sickness in Eastern Europe.

The future was never certain, but instead of allowing the constant struggle to numb her from a young age, the pain she saw actually inspired her to the point where she dreamed of becoming a nurse. As a result of her formative years, she wanted nothing more than to grow up and be able to soothe the pain of others.

And so, one day, when her cousin came to visit, Anna sat down and shared this vision to make a difference and help those in need.  After listening to Anna’s aspirations, her beloved older cousin encouraged her to pursue her dreams and suggested that she should move to Greece to study. She convinced Anna that there were a lot more career opportunities in Greece, compared to her home country.

Anna wasn't aware of it, but her father and uncle were in the next room listening to the plans for the future take place. They eventually interrupted the conversation and wholeheartedly encouraged her to go as well.

Surprised, but also overjoyed at their support, Anna, accompanied by her cousin, prepared to travel to Greece for study. She had no way of knowing she was walking into a trap set up by people she thought she could trust.

Upon arriving in Greece, her cousin told her that she owed her €6,000 for the travel arrangements and that Anna was to be put to work as a sex slave to pay off her debt. Feeling betrayed and confused, Anna refused and fought as hard as she could to escape. As a number of dark shadows approached her, she kicked and screamed but no one heard her cries.

The dream she had of helping people and alleviating their pain was quickly being replaced by an inconceivable nightmare. She was beaten, chained to a bed and raped. It quickly became clear to her that the life she came to Greece for was far from the reality she had just stepped into.  

There was no escape from the 40-50 clients she was forced to serve each day. Emptied of the fight within her, Anna gave in to the horror of her new life and was held as a slave for two years. 

However, on a day like any other, she was rescued in a police raid and brought to the A21 shelter. She was immediately given access to medical care, but the workers at the shelter knew that the psychological trauma was going to take a lot longer to heal.  

Three years later, after receiving help and support in the A21 safe house and transition home, Anna’s passion to make a difference in the world was reignited. With assistance, she applied and was accepted into nursing school in her home country. She just finished up her third semester, and is finally living out her dream! 

We are so proud of Anna! Together, we are seeing tragedy turned to triumph.

The content of this blog post was provided by the Dressember Foundation. 

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