Christine is a 19 year old Albanian girl. She has primary school education and speaks very little English. She spent most of her teenage years working for her family at home. One day a friend of her uncle offered to take Christine to Europe for work, she willingly accepted his offer and her father gave his blessing. The friend organised all her travel arrangements and they flew to Dublin via London.
When they arrived at Dublin airport the friend handed her over to a man called Jim and it wasn’t until she arrived at Jim’s house that she realized her fate. Jim raped her and told her she had to do everything he said. He informed her that she owed him €50,000 because of her travel and that she would have to pay it back by selling sex to men. Christine was horrified as she never wanted to be a prostitute but she was frightened of what would happen if she refused.
Jim told Christine that if she went to the Gardaí she would be thrown in prison because her travel documents were illegal. It didn’t take Jim much to deter Christine from going to the Gardaí because her only experience of policing was one of corruption in Albania.
Jim took Christine to a house where there were 3 other young women and she was introduced to a life of prostitution. Christine had to have sex with 5 to 10 men a day. Jim or his driver would collect the women’s earnings everyday and the women would receive €20 a day to buy food and condoms. Christine lived in the brothel with the other women and while they were free to go the shops, they could never go too far away from the house because they had to be available 24/7 when men rang to use them.
A few weeks later Christine was taken to another location and this time she was in a brothel on her own. Christine initially felt totally isolated in a new town with no one to talk to, except the men who used her or her pimp. In time, Christine frequently spoke with a friendly woman in the local supermarket, but she was afraid to tell her the truth.
Occasionally Christine would ring her family but she felt too ashamed to tell them what had happened. The only option Christine felt she had was to do as she was told and hope that maybe when the debt was repaid she would get free. Christine often blamed herself for deciding to go abroad and trusting the family friend.
One day the brothel was raided by the local Gardaí and Christine was arrested for not having ID and for prostitution. Christine had a lifelong fear of police and she decided not to tell them her true story.
Christine was granted free legal aid and in time built up a trusting relationship with her legal representative, who having heard her story, formed the view that she was a victim of sex trafficking. In accordance with existing arrangements in this area Christine was granted 60 days recovery and reflection period to recover from her ordeal and to give her time to reflect on her position and decide whether or to assist with a police investigation. She was also provided with safe and secure State accommodation. Christine opted to assist the police with their investigation and she has now been granted 6 months temporary residency.