**Trigger Warning: The following is a true story of a survivor of human trafficking. This story includes sensitive language surrounding sexual assault. Please consider this before reading further.
Alexandra* is a young woman from Bulgaria. She dropped out of school after 8th grade, and immediately started working in agriculture. After a few years, she met and fell in love with a man, and soon married. Not long after the wedding, her husband proposed going to Italy together to earn some money and live a better life. As soon as they arrived, he sold her to another Bulgarian running a brothel there.
In the brothel there were 40 girls of different origins, mostly from Eastern European countries. They were forced to live in two rooms, which they were allowed to leave only when serving clients. Every girl who went out without permission, was severely punished by the traffickers. She did not have the right to protest or protect herself, otherwise she received more beatings. Alexandra was forced to serve up to 50 clients a day. She became pregnant by clients twice, and was forced to have abortions.
After spending almost three years in the brothel, Alexandra managed to escape and went directly to the police. After her signal, the police raided the place and arrested the traffickers.
Since coming back to Bulgaria, Alexandra has been a part of the A21 transition program. There, besides safety, shelter and food, she receives all the medical and psychological help she needs in order to start her recovery. She is also offered all the social and legal support she needs, including ongoing education and professional qualification, job finding, etc.
*Alexandra’s name has been changed for her protection.
The Dressember 2018/2019 grant for A21 will benefit a new Freedom Center in Bulgaria. We are so excited to see a Freedom Center open in Bulgaria in 2019. Through this center, girls like Alexandra can receive more support and care than ever before. Sign up for Dressember 2018 and be a part of our impact.