My name is Anja. I come from a small town in the east of Latvia. It was a very difficult life because my mother suffered from illness, and there were not very many ways to earn money. My cousin introduced me to a friend of his called Georgs, who said that he could arrange a job for me in Ireland, working as a nanny.
I was 24 when I left Latvia for Dublin with Georgs. We met an Irish man at the airport, and drove in a van to a flat somewhere. When we got there, Georgs said that I had to pay back all the money I owed for my transport. I said I thought that I could do that from my wages as a nanny, and he laughed. Then all of a sudden he punched me in the stomach, and when I bent over with no breath, the Irish man grabbed me and they both raped me.
When they’d finished, the Irish man took my papers and said that there were other ways I would be paying back the money I owed. Georgs said that if I didn’t do as I was told my family would be hurt. He said the police were on their side and that the other three girls in the apartment were watching me too. I felt I couldn’t trust anyone. I just tried to get through one day at a time. Men came to the apartment and I was told to let them have sex with me. Some of the men were very rough. Some would get angry and say things like, ‘You could at least pretend to enjoy yourself.’ I had no control over what happened. I became numb.
Eventually the police came to the apartment and I ended up in safe-house accommodation run by a charity called Ruhama. My caseworker there has really helped me. It is slow, but I am starting to see a future for myself again.
Case Study courtesy of Ruhama : www.ruhama.ie