Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, and poverty means vulnerability. Sometimes, as noted in yesterday’s post, a family will either abort or abandon children that they can’t afford to keep. So Moldova’s orphanages are filled with children who are not truly orphans, but are simply abandoned. Being the poorest country in Europe, and having the responsibility for so many orphans means that the orphanages cannot do more than simply keep their little charges alive. When an orphan reaches the age of eighteen, they are given a small amount of money and a bus ticket to the nearest city. Traffickers know this and often cruise the bus stops by the orphanages looking for young girls to whisk away into a life of prostitution. And, having no other life skills, they really have no other alternative.
Sometimes, in exchange for money, the orphanage directors will cooperate with the traffickers by letting them know when girls will be released. And sometimes, the orphanage directors, themselves, become traffickers, opening the orphanage as a child brothel, and selling the girls into a life of prostitution when they are released.
Rescuing these girls from prostitution is the focus of several ministries here in Moldova. In Trans Istria we saw the construction site of a church that wants to house girls, teach them life skills and job skills, and help get them started into a better life. The church doesn’t currently have enough money to finish the building project, so they are using the help of missionaries who come as volunteer help. Even if you are not skilled in construction, but you want to help, any extra pair of hands is very gratefully put to work in various ways, and for whatever length of time you can come. You can contact us through the GoMissions website for more information.
Our visit yesterday to Irena and Olga, the mother and daughter team that works in the Pregnancy Crisis Center in Chisinau is another organization that helps these at-risk girls. Orphans and the rescue of prostitutes is not the primary focus.
Stella’s Voice is a ministry based in the UK that also rescues at-risk girls. You can contact them on their website for ways that you can help their ministry help these girls.
Traditionally, law enforcement (worldwide) has jailed and prosecuted the prostitutes, themselves. But the fact is that few prostitutes choose that lifestyle. The ones who do choose to go into prostitution have all been molested as children, so that they have come to believe that it is only through sex that they have value. Therefore, it is not only wrong to jail prostitutes, but also a waste of resources, since it only effects the supply in a very small way without diminishing the demand at all.
The only country in the world that has been able to drastically reduce prostitution (by 80 percent) is Sweden. Instead of prosecuting the prostitutes, Sweden prosecutes the johns—and does so publicly. In fact, anyone traveling to, from, or through Sweden for the purpose of buying the services of prostitutes (sex tourism) is jailed and denounced in the Swedish media.
Unfortunately, Moldova is far too poor to address the problem of prostitution at all. But the western countries to which these girls are trafficked do have the resources. Any country that really wants to help these girls, or at the very least to stop prostitution within their borders, should follow the Swedish model. I suspect that the problem is that most politicians don’t care about prostitutes and/or the police are in some way involved (financially or by receiving favors). My criticism is not limited to the countries of Western Europe, but worldwide, including my own. It is within the power of our government to stop prostitution. But do they want to. America, do you want to stop prostitution?