Posts tagged Moldova

Student’s Paper on “Half the Sky” book and more

The following paper was written by a first year student of mine in a Composition I class this past semester.  I was proud of how Marcus pursued this topic and read the book “Half the Sky” to help with his research.  Read on…

Escape Sex Slavery by Investing in Education

There has not been a time where prostitution in society was not present. Over generations passed, the concept of providing sexual favors for money has always stayed the same except for its variables. This is when reality becomes terrifying. Women today are experiencing being taken from their homes to be exploited for sex. Locations around the world have different experiences with sex trafficking and how it affects their society. In more of the eastern parts of Europe, the girls victimized in sex trafficking tend to be in their mid-twenties, whereas stated by Jones, et al. (2011), in most parts of Asia, they can be starting at the age of twelve. Though the ages can range from each location, the fact is that all of the girls lack an education to prevent themselves from being deceived into the prostitution rings. Although in many cases explained by Jones, et al. (2011), women had been able to earn scholarships to pursue their education, but given their societal surroundings of poverty, they are not able to do so. As an alternative to high labor jobs, women are given the hard choice of prostitution to provide for their family. Even though a few cases of prostitution may be financially beneficial for the families in impoverished countries, sex trafficking of young girls should be banned so proper investment into their education would protect their future and they would not be damaged psychologically or physically.

Many cases of human trafficking are directly caused by poverty. Especially for women victimized by poverty, are left with few options to provide them with a financial income and even smaller amount for the ones without a decent education. This is a major problem because children are not able to get a chance at education. Aside from girls having their education taken from them, they are damaged mentally and physically from prostitution. Ostrovschi, et al. (2011) provides that, “several countries in Eastern Europe, including Moldova specifically, are well-known for high numbers of women being trafficked for sex work while being frequently subjected to high levels of violence and abuse.” Not just Eastern European women are exposed to such abuse; all around the world there are different ways that their captors abuse their workers. In Europe, girls who tried to escape had dogs released on them. Many girls stated they were treated like trash and had higher chances of being killed. Combining the high threat on women’s lives already tormented by being trafficked initially, it is almost guaranteed that they will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders as well as depression and anxiety. From Ostrovschi’s, et al (2011) analysis, there are four different syndrome clusters that have affected women after their exposure to sex trafficking. “PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder); anxiety disorders excluding PTSD (panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and somatization disorder); mood disorders (depression ad dysthymia); and substance disorders (substance abuse, substance dependence, alcohol use and alcohol dependence)” (pg. 235). Many of these disorders are created over the time spent in prostitution rings and are especially enhanced when the women are exposed to a different environment. “African women are trafficked to Europe, Chinese and Vietnamese women are shipped to some Pacific islands and Mexican women are sent to the United States (Basil, 2009)”. The change in location would create language and cultural barriers, degrading the women’s identity. The loss of their identity makes it easier for the women to be taken advantage of, having no mental strength to defend themselves. Having this isolation keeps the women invisible and much harder to identify. Staying in a place where no one understands you brings little hope for when cases of escape arise.

Having a lot of psychological problems arising from sex trafficking, there are also many physical factors that come into play that effect girls. In many situations, especially in parts of Asia, young girls are damaged physically because of the age difference of the client to the employee. An example being a twelve to fifteen year old girl having to sexually please a forty year old man has explicit consequences. The picture of that situation is unbearable to most, but is a frequent occurrence that goes unnoticed. These girls can end up being damaged internals because of pre-pubic intercourse since their bodies have not fully matured. In other cases where girls have already passed this stage, run the risk of becoming pregnant. Though there is a lot of precaution with this in brothels, because they could lose a worker if one were to get pregnant minimizing profit. Having this low level of concern for their workers can bring up far more problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases. Many are familiar with HIV/AIDS and most would believe that this is the most severe case, but it is not. To surprise it is more of the less severe diseases (syphilis and hepatitis B) that we do not find as bad that usually the girls in these countries perish from. This is an oversight for us because we have the medical care that solves these problems. Unfortunately for these girls, they are not able to get the constant medical attention for these illnesses. Many women are not given the freedom to do anything except for their work, having to live like a high security prisoner sentenced to life. In some cases the girls would probably never see the light of day, constantly having to work “red light district” hours since that is their main objective. Sending aid for these women is the most logical and best choice, but there has to be more thought put into the solutions for them to actually take benefit to the victims.

(to be continued)

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Who are following these girls (Part II)

I’m picking up from where I left off with Philip Cameron writing about the organization he founded “Stella’s Voice”  in Moldova, check out this website with an interview with one of the orphans.

“The magnitude of this misery in Moldova is astounding.  Over 450,000 girls have gone “missing.”  Nearly half a million girls have vanished into the night…and as the clock counts down more will join them…”

…As Chrissie (Philip’s wife) and I began to comfort orphaned children it became evident that what they craved most was a smile and a warm embrace.  I realized my personal mandate was not just bringing them “stuff”…what these precious orphans needed from me was to be their Dad.

That’s where I met Stella.  She was a small handicapped girl, with a pronounced limp, but who possessed a huge personality and spirit.  We formed a special bond and she became my ever-present helper during trips to Modolva.  I joyously watched her grow from a young girl to a delightful teen.  But then on one of my return trips I walked into the orphanage and Stella was gone.  No one seemed to know where to find her.  I was heartsick.

I searched relentlessly for her. I would ask everyone: “Have you heard where Stella went? Do you know how she’s doing?” Then one day my answer came…Stella was dead.  She became a victim ensnared in Europe’s vicious sex trade.  She was used by men over and over again, contracted AIDS, and perished, homeless, helpless and victimized until she took her last breath.

Stella and innocent girls just like her are abused because they have no place to call home when they turn 16.  And the sex traffickers are sickeningly clever. They approach girls like Stella pretending to be a friend.  Here’s how they deceive: A woman may approach a girl on a bus and ask if she would be a live-in nanny for her children.  Or a man may approach a girl and tell her that his brother owns a restaurant in Italy and needs workers for the kitchen.  He’ll pay $300 a month.

The innocent and homeless girl will jump at a chance to be a part of something and traffickers prey on this vulnerability…Instead they are sold into the sex trade for as little as $3,500. And then, there is no escape.  A girl is raped 30-40 times a day with their owners profiting as much as $350,000 per year until they are ‘used up’ or dead.  The only way for us to dry up this market of innocent girls was to establish homes where good could triumph over evil…one girl at a time.  An in doing so, Stella’s “voice” remains alive for girls who would otherwise be homeless, powerless and eventually silenced.

In 2007, the original Stella’s House was born…” Check out the website…

However, I believe the traffickers have moved to Central Asia where they can prey on other young girls who are vulnerable and unprotected because it is not talked about.  People are becoming more aware in Kazakhstan but there is much work left to do to create a safe environment for girls.  Did you see what happened to the young girl in Afghanistan who was kidnapped to marry some guy in the military and they tortured her to go into prostitution.  She fought it tooth and nail. (literally she lost several finger nails and had her ear burned) I may blog about that tomorrow.

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“Courageous” AND who are following these girls?

We watched the movie “Courageous” a second time on New Year’s Eve and the message comes across loud and clear.  All children need daddies who can love and protect them from outside evils. Trafficking is an ever present evil especially when children are targeted. Noteworthy to see the men in the two hour movie take responsibility for not just being “good enough” fathers but also doing their duty of reaching out to other youngsters who have no role model to look up to. They resolved to be exceptional fathers.

Who are following the girls (and boys) in the former Soviet Union with ideas of hurting them for their own financial gain?  Are they reading this blog now? Read yesterday’s blog to find out why I ask these two questions.

What I’m reading about “Stella voice homes” there are too few dads to meet the needs of Orphans in Moldova and perhaps Kazakhstan now.  Please read on about what one man with a HUGE father’s heart wrote:

About Stella’s voice from the founder, Philip Cameron.

“…this fragile girl is an orphan in Europe’s most impoverished country: Moldova.  Though Communism dies here, there are vestiges of that sad mindset still in place. Incredibly, Moldovan orphans are treated as outcasts, common thieves, parasites…though they have done no wrong.  They are rarely encouraged, often ridiculed, all but starved and housed in conditions unspeakable.

In this environment young girls have no self-worth or self-esteem. They think of themselves as forgotten and forever lost.  When you speak with the girls they cannot even define the concept of “hope” though in their language there is a wonderful word for it.

So as the clock ticks away a mere girl of sixteen shivers on her thin cot.  She is hungry but she is used to that as she has gone to bed hungry every night of her life.  But tonight is different.  This is the last time she is allowed to sleep on a cot and take a meal of thin soup.  Soon she will be out on the street with nowhere to go and no one to turn to.  You would think she would be glad to escape an orphan’s misery but this is not the case.  Because she’s heard the rumors and wonders why so many that left before her simply disappeared.

She does not know she’ll likely walk right into the arms of sex trafficking profiteers.  Before being discarded she will become merely a profit center for her perverted captors and their clients in Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

The magnitude of this misery in Moldova is astounding.  Over 450,000 girls have gone “missing.”  Nearly half a million girls have vanished into the night…and as the clock counts down more will join them…”

(to be continued)

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Who is following this blog…and why?

WordPress has done an amazing thing by sending out an annual report to their bloggers of some of their personal statistics for 2011.  What is interesting can be somewhat unsettling as well.  Who is really following my blog and WHY?  Since I returned home to the U.S. after 3 1/2 years of writing every day on this blog about Kazakhstan, I blogged sporadically so thus I only had 164 new posts for 2011. (I’ve dedicated this blog now to mostly human trafficking issues) In total I have written 1,334 new posts since the fall of 2007.  My busiest day was May 19th with 349 hits, a record high for me for this year.  Otherwise, I have been straddling around 100 or 150 on average for most of this year of 2011.

Here’s what I find troubling, the top key word searches were “Kazakhstan girls” or “Kazakh girls.”  That happened several years ago when I had innocently titled a blog “Little Girl in Pink.” LOTS of hits on that one blog entry where I finally took the photo of the young Kazakh girl down.  I believe there are some strange viewers out there who have wrong motives for wanting to see these girls. Maybe these viewers move on to other sites that show lewd pictures of girls and I mean young girls. Apparently trafficked girls in the U.S. get started as young as 13 years old on average. According to Steve Graham from Australia (CEO of ACT) there are 1.2 million children trafficked every year throughout the world.

Here’s the breakdown of who is following this blog and from different continents.  Europe actually includes Kazakhstan in its statistics which I find amusing:

Europe: 17% United Kingdom, 13% Kazakhstan, 8% Turkey, 7% Germany, 6% Poland

North America: 90% U.S. 9% Canada (I know who my Canadian follower is) The others from the U.S. I’m not sure who they are but hopefully friends and family

Africa: Ghana 23% (I know who that American follower is), Morocco 17%, South Africa 14%, Egypt 13% and Algeria 6%

South America: Brazil 46%, Argentina 18% (other countries but too fragmented to mention)

Oceania: Australia 81%, New Zealand 15%

Asia: Philippines 24%, India 15%, United Arab Emirates 8%, Malaysia 7%, Pakistan 4%

Asia has me most confounded, why isn’t China included in these statistics?  Is it because the Chinese are not allowed to have WordPress or even have any blogging?  I would expect North Korea to not have a showing but why not Korea? My biggest WHY is how come the Philippines so high? They have a very literate population in English, as does India.  I can understand why Australia is so high, I just have a new follower (mentioned above) who heads up ACT (Against Child Trafficking). I also have friends I have met over the years from Australia and New Zealand.

To me this was interesting to speculate on and tomorrow I will write more about Stella’s Voice.  It is something that I hope would start up in Kazakhstan. Children who are released out of Kazakh orphanages because they are “grown up” at the tender age of 16 or 18, I can’t remember which, are to fend for themselves. Traffickers know how to pick them off very easily because they are so vulnerable. What I read about the situation in Moldova was horrifying.

(to be continued)

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Bare Necessities and More Star Spangled Verses

Yesterday someone sang a verse I hadn’t heard before to our national anthem. It struck me that I only knew the first verse because we hear at every game back in the U.S.  This person sang from the heart which brought tears to my eyes.  Actually, truth be told, the tears were rolling down my cheeks, I couldn’t stop crying.  I know that every country represented in the Buddy Bears has their faithful and loyal country men.  In fact, I just met a girl named Olga from Moldova who was so tickled to see a photo of the Moldovan Buddy Bear when I showed her my slideshow of photos I’d taken.  Probably Moldova’s is one of my favorite because it shows the artist’s humor of being from a small country that noone seems to know about.  Take a look on the map and you will find Moldova next to Ukraine.  Kazakhstan is a much larger country, too big to ignore but people do and I hope that that changes.  It is an amazing country next to my own, of course.  I would hope that all Kazakhs and Kazakhstanis love their country and try to promote it by being the best they can be.

I know this is premature to blog about the Star Spangled Banner before Fourth of July but I think the words are so rich and meaningful.  Since I have lived in other countries away from my homeland for almost 16 years, I believe it makes me even more loyal and more patriotic to be an American.  Our country where we are born is part of our bare necessities, just like having one’s own family.  I am also very blessed to have a wonderful family as well. The last three verses of the American national anthem:

“On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:

‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

A home and a country should leave us no more!

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

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“Beary” United Buddy Bears Exhibition in Astana

Belonging to Astana’s International Women’s Club has its perks.  I received the following update on the Bear exhibition that I wrote about in my blog yesterday. This colorful display opens tomorrow to the public, but I was privy to it several days ahead of time because it is right in my own backyard from where I work.  I think I got some great photos yesterday of countries you will recognize.  If you live or are visiting in Astana, you must see them for yourself.

The “Buddy Bears” stand together hand in hand and promote tolerance and understanding among different nations, cultures and religions. Each bear represents a Member State of the United Nations and has been individually designed by an artist from that state. The „Kazakh bear“ has been designed by the prominent Kazakh artist Leyla Mahat, the „German bear“ by Frank Rödel.

Since 2002, when the first exhibition of the „Buddy Bears“ took place, more than 20 million people from all over the world had a chance to see them. The bears have travelled to all of the five continents. Thus, they have already been in Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Sydney, Cairo and Buenos Aires. Wherever they were, the “Buddy Bears” became a special attraction and made the exhibition venue a place of interaction and meetings. Today, within the framework of the year “Germany in Kazakhstan 2010” 125 “Buddy Bears” will come to Astana, among them, of course, the bears designed by Leyla Mahat and by Frank Rödel. On invitation of the Akimat of the city of Astana, the “Buddy Bears” will remain until the end of July 2010 next to the Baiterek-tower. Visitors will have the chance to experience, how the interaction of different artistic styles creates one piece of art that spreads joy and promotes mutual understanding and tolerance. Each visitor of the exhibition will experience a small trip around the world, as each bear is individually designed in a manner related to his “home-country”. The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Akimat of the city of Astana have the pleasure to invite you, the interested public and representatives of the media to join the opening event of the exhibition “United Buddy Bears” on Saturday, 15th of May 2010 at 16:00. The event will take place between the Baiterek-tower and the National Archives, on “Nurshol”-Boulevard (former Vodnoseljonyj bulvar”).

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Nuriya’s GREAT Grandmother

My grandmother Lati (in fact, she is my great grandmother) was born in 1910 in a small village at the foot of a mountain situated about 150 km from Almaty. She was the first child in her family. At the age of 5 or 6 she lost her mother who died of some disease. Since her father was a young man and the house needed woman’s hands, he married again. Usually it is hard to live with stepmother but my granny was lucky to have a kind woman who could love and replace mother. Granny Lati always told “though she wasn’t my mother, she brought me up like her own daughter”.


So, when she was 8 or 9 her stepbrother was born. Germans have a proverb “One child is egoist, two children are half egoist, three children are children”. But in spite of this, the family of my granny was united.


When my granny was full of age she got married (at that time Kazakhs could marry even at the age of 13) “bai”- a rich man whose wealth was estimated at thousands of sheep, hundreds of horses and cows. She became his third or fourth wife. The attitude of other wives of her husband to her was awful. They treated her as a domestic servant because she came from ignoble family and was the youngest of the wives. In the end, maybe unfortunately or fortunately, the newly married couldn’t be compatible. My granny divorced with a little girl on her hands. She took her little child and went 30-40 km on foot back to her father’s house. It was a brave and at the same time objectionable action at that time, because women were afraid of divorcing. She realized that people would blame her, it would be hard to rear a child without a husband but my granny was a woman of character and did what she thought best. I think it was really hard for her to live among people who treated her as a white crow (maverick) to some extent.


When five years passed, she met a man who became a father for her three children. It seemed that at last came an end of her unhappiness, but suddenly news of the Great Patriotic War broke in her house, which just was restored to happiness and poise. Again she was hit hard by her destiny. Her husband was called to arms. Hard times came not only for her but for all women throughout the Soviet Union. All women worked their fingers to the bone. Those who were in rural areas had scanty nourishment, all the food was sent to the soldiers who fought for the future of their country, children, and generation. I remember my aunt, who was in fact my grandmother, told that her mother always gave more fried wheat to her son because he was the only son, the transmitter of life and had a strong resemblance to her husband. My aunt always remembered that with indignation and laughter at the same time.


When the war was over my grandfather was considered as missing in action. In 1970s young pathfinders found his grave in Moldova. My granny reared her children alone, faced many difficulties of life but could keep her kindness, compassion and readiness to help others. She always told that people should do all the good to help each other and be kind-hearted, and even if a person whom you helped didn’t pay back in kind, God would do it. It’s like in Kazakh proverb “If you give with right hand, you will receive with left hand”. My granny lived to a great age and died at the age of 85. Though I was only ten when my granny died, I will always bear in mind her proverbs, which became principles (guides) of my life. 

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“Too Young to Die” Part II by Alexandr

The next period of their life I would say is “the dark time”, from historical point of view, of course. I call it that way, because I and my mom do not know anything from those times, only few things. My great-grandfather became a spy, but had not had told it to his wife for a long time. They have always been moving around. They had been all over the Soviet Union and neighbor countries. My great-grandmother was alone most of times, and once she asked: “Why you never talk about your job?”, on what he answered: “I want you to live!”. They lived in wealth, but they never had neighbors, because they used to live near mountains or in forests, so people would not see them.


Great-grandfather would bring clothes and other stuff, what could not be grown by them from time to time. The food that they had been eating was all home made. By the time, my grandma was born, but unfortunately I do not even know what year it was. She was the only child they had. He was afraid his wife and daughter to be hurt, therefore he would always give instructions on what to do in some situations or if he would not return home. Eventually, it happened.


By the end of World War II he did not return on the week he was supposed to, not the week later, and not even the month later. Three month later his old friend from the military academy came to their house and gave my great-grandmother a box. He said her husband wanted her to have it if he would get caught and killed. It was a shock for her, no matter the fact that she knew what kind of job he had, and that he had been always preparing her for the thing like this. She opened that box and there were all the medals he had achieved, all the certificates, jewelry and keys of the house in Moldova with the last letter, where he wrote how much he loved them and suggested to move to Moldova and get a “real life”.


After a while my great-grandmother went back to normal, and moved with my grandma to Moldova, the country where she was born and where she met her husband. Starting from that time she had never had a single male in her life, not even a friend. She would never let anyone else in her heart. It hurts too much. Elena raised her daughter Sveta and tried to spend all her free time with her. May be it was too much, because my grandma Sveta grew up, put her career on the first place, and had been visiting her mother very rarely. Later she gave birth to my mom Alena and gave my mom to my great-grandmother for rising.


Sveta had big success in her career, eventually, she was chosen to the Senate of Moldova, but she was missing everything else. She would visit her mother and her daughter very rarely yet. Elena had great times with her grand daughter and everything what I know about Vladimir, Elena and Sveta, I know from my mom. Later my mom got married, moved to Germany, where I was born, and then we moved to Kazakhstan. Five years later mom brought Elena from Moldova to Kazakhstan, and we surrounded her with love.


On the January 3-rd of 2007 my great-grandmother died. I was very upset, especially because I was in USA at that time, and I was informed about it only after the funeral.  Mom called and told me that she had bad news and I did not need any other words, I knew what happened. Elena had been coming to me in my dreams 3 days after her death, until the day she was buried and I was informed.

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