April 26, 2008
Trapped
Watch the program: Part 3 | Part 4

"Injustice anywhere creates injustice everywhere" -- Martin Luther King

I am writing this to make sure people do not think that these two womens' stories are rare.

The latest reports from Nigeria claim that over 50,000 women and girls have been transported to Europe just from the Edo state, to feed the growing sex industry and supply cheap domestic work.

Seventy percent of the world's poorest are women and girls, and despite the fact that they produce two-thirds of all work globally, they derive less than 10 percent of the profit.

The Union of Hopenow has a special focus on this group, but also on an increasing number of women from other African countries including Kenya.

People often ask me how do you do this work, day in day out with trafficked women, hearing their tragic stories and fighting the system. You must be such an optimist? I am sure someone has said this before, so my apologies for this plagiarism. My answer is that I am not an optimist but rather a prisoner of hope. I have faith that the goodness of the human heart will always prevail in the end, despite all the suffering and evil in the world.

In my everyday work with trafficked women I am privileged sometimes to be a witness and gentle guide, marveling at the ability traumatized individuals have to restore their equilibrium and at times even undergo a profound transformation. The ability for the nervous system, given the right environment, time and space to heal, is truly remarkable.

I wish to thank the people who trained me in Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a short-term, naturalistic approach to healing trauma developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine, and I now integrate the SE approach into my psychosocial work. However, I am still confronted by chaos, despair and how the relentless stress of been denied residency, a safe haven, can eat away at an individuals nervous system like a hungry cancer. There is often so much beaurocracy, indifference and ignorance.

I provide assistance and trauma therapy to a wide group of women and try to treat each case as unique. One of my roles as a voluntary, consultant for the Red Cross, has been to coordinate various actors involved in trafficking cases, in order to try to develop methods that can be used as models for best practices

People can fall prey to trafficking at any point in the migration process. I have an increasing number of cases which reveal that rejected asylum seekers in the country of destination, for example Denmark, are contacted by traffickers who have patiently "groomed" them while they waited for an answer from the authorities.

The moment they receive deportation papers, the traffickers offer them the possibility of flight to a new country. Vulnerable people, then enter into a new spiral of debt that will often include forced prostitution or other forms of forced labour in a new country.

Human trafficking is very lucrative, because human beings can be sold many times by criminal networks and described as "High profits but low risk." Unlike other commodities like drugs or weapons, it is often impossible to prove that trafficking has occurred.

Victims of trafficking, often deny having been trafficked, as they are frightened of what the consequences will be when they are deported. They therefore often decide, that protecting the people who have smuggled or and trafficked them, is the best survival strategy in the long run. This is just one of the reasons, why it is notoriously difficult to gain solid convictions in this area and why the organization, union I have set up -- Hopenow -- supports a change in the law, to provide long-term protection and even residency, in cases of trafficking where the country of origin cannot guarantee protection from the criminal network which trafficked the person.

In the last 11 months having receiving an award for voluntary work in Denmark, I have provided a service to over 50 trafficked women, and over the years, hundreds more.

I cooperate with a wide group of partners N.G.O.s in Denmark and Africa, hospitals, the Red Cross, researchers, government organizations, prisons and the immigration services in order to achieve a professional service.

I want to thank all the people who have supported my work and all the new members and the members to come in Hopenow. Our task lies ahead and although it seems overwhelming I have faith that together we will succeed.

It is up to us to make Hopenow grow into a dynamic, alternative organization that strives to provide a professional service for trafficked women, working together with other dedicated people and also forging links with people and organizations in Europe and the rest of the world; doing what I call the blood, bones and flesh of the social work.

In my opinion too much money is often frittered away on vast administrative costs and governments have far too much emphasis on the façade of help but do not employ enough workers, providing direct, action and strong interventions to help these women and girls.

I really hope that we can all be more informed, reflect and take part in an ongoing debate as a result of this excellent film that Anja Dalhoff risked so much to make. Truly independent, documentary film makers are essential in a democratic society and unfortunately are a dying, breed in an increasingly commercial world.

It was a great privilege to be consultant and narrator for the film and I am glad that my decision to go to Nigeria was correct, despite massive opposition that resulted in dismissal from my work. This struggle and conflict, I am now deeply grateful for, as I would never otherwise have formed the union of Hopenow, which I believe will grow and flourish.

"The greatest tragedy is not the brutality of the evil but rather the silence of the good" -- Martin Luther King.

-- From Michelle Mildwater, psychotherapist and project leader for www.hopenow.dk/
Consultant and narrator, Trapped
I wish to let you know that not all traffiked prostitutes are victims;most of them know what they were getting themselves into right from benin city,Nigeria;The sad thing is that most prostitutes being traffiked now are underage girls whom are so naive and lost and are so scared of their 'Madams';the annoying part of it is whencaught by the police these young girls refuse to denouce their traffikers
Prostitution cuts across all countries Western or African.
I am tired of your documentary potraying Nigeria as a country of squalor and Criminals,all your documentary shows is dirty areas of Nigeria,Nigeria is a beautiful country,and if a few ppeople because of their greed get into prostitution then that is their problem.
All I am saying is that try and potray Africa in goodlight because I am a Nigerian woman studying in Europe and I am tired of your dirty documentaries about Nigeria and Africa as a awhole.
CNN - Calculated Negative(s) on Nigeria. I really don't know what you guys stand to gain with your very unbalanced reporting on Nigeria. Can you imagine Anja, telling the world that it was unsafe in broad daylight to walk the streets of Lagos and Benin so she had to stay in the car. Did anyone notice the car that took Anja to the village in Edo state, she specifically choose the worst of the worst, all to portray Nigeria as a jungle. All the scenes of life in Nigeria was on slums and villages. Can anyone tell me, if actually Joy is a true Nigerian, why was it impossible for her to trace her family, the same girl that had no papers to identify herself to the Danish authorities. Did anyone notice Joy's accent, if you don't believe try going to the Liberian Embassy in Victoria Island and listen to the way they talk.
To the issue at hand, I still insist that these girls are in their predicament by choice, either theirs or their parents'. Look at the sick woman that could not speak a good sentence of English claiming that NONE of her children are in school and she is teaching them herself. Can you imagine her ready to give up her children to a total stranger, this gives you an idea of the mindset of the people. There are poorer places in Northern, South Western and South Eastern Nigeria but the people there have DIGNITY, they will NOT descend into massive exportation of prostitution to the world. The parents in Edo state are obviously not interested in the education of their children, as far as they are concerned, the children are just tools for making money from Italy and other EU countries. Anja, kindly get your facts right and re-visit Nigeria with an open mind. We are not cave men and women, prostitution is a world wide phenomenon. Have you seen want is happening to Sri Lankan girls in Lebanon. Do you know what Chinese and Russian girls are doing in Dubai, what about the several "ESCORTs" in the UK from 3rd world countries. I believe our Leaders in Nigeria will watch these clips and they will eventually wake up to their responsibilities. I am so appalled by what i saw in these series............Tosin (Proudly NIGERIAN)
Trafficked women in desperate need of (our) help
Watching Trapped was a harsh experience. Even though at my place we are now used to the fact that women and children who are sold into prostitution are living and working as slaves, it is nevertheless hard to witness. And it’s not a matter of national shame or blame but of telling the tale of living human tragedies happening right on our doorstep. Everyone can see that trafficked women like Ana and joy are in need of protection and help from the authorities here and in their home countries. Political action is required, something which demands that voters exert pressure on their elected politicians.

I head an organisation of 6000 ordinary Danish women, which has been working to help trafficked women for quite some time now. We are trying to avoid that any woman or child is abused, kept prisoner, being sold and bought like a piece of property or forced to work as a prostitute by criminal organisations. We urge every citizen to report any suspicion of sexslavery in their neighbourhood to the police. We also urge Danish and European politicians to offer the victims protection, safe stay and an alternative career to prostitution. Only thus can we make victims of trafficking cooperate with the police about arresting and imprisoning the villains behind the crime.
Lone Chodavarapu, Active Women of Denmark

Kvindehandlens ofre råber på (din og min) hjælp
At se “Trapped” var en barsk oplevelse. Hjemme hos os ved vi godt at kvinder og børn, der bliver handlet til prostitution, lever og arbejder under slavelignende, umenneskeligt barske forhold. Derfor er det alligevel svært at være vidne til. Her betyder spørgsmålet om national skyld eller skam intet i forhold til at gøre opmærksom på ulykkelige menneskeskæbner på vores dørtrin. Alle kan se at handlede kvinder som Joy og Ana i ”Trapped” har brug for hjælp og beskyttelse fra myndigheder i vores og deres egne lande. Men det kræver politisk handling, og forudsætter at befolkningen lægger pres på vores folkevalgte.

I landsforeningen Aktive Kvinder i Danmark, som tæller 6000 almindelige danske kvinder, har vi længe arbejdet for at hjælpe sexslaver. Vi vil gerne gøre vores til, at ingen skal udnyttes, holdes fanget, sælges og købes som et stykke ejendom, og tvinges til at arbejde som prostitueret af kriminelle netværk. Vi opfordrer alle danskere til at melde det til politiet, hvis de har mistanke om sexslaver i deres lokalområde. Vi opfordrer også danske og europæiske politikere til at give ofrene tilbud om beskyttelse, ophold og alternativer til arbejdet som prostitueret. Kun sådan kan vi få ofre for kvindehandel til at samarbejde med politiet at anholde og retsforfølge forbrydelsens bagmænd.
Lone Chodavarapu, formand for Aktive Kvinder i Danmark
Great story

theank you so much for caring we will all be free soon
god bless you for the good work every woman girl in the world is somones child
I agree with ederekoko and the anonymous posters protesting these stereotypical images of Nigeria.
I just watched this story on CNN and I have only one point to make:
What response does Michelle expect from a poor villager when she cues her response with the leading question:
Q:What would you like for your child?
A:Education etc etc
Q:In Nigeria?
A:No...

Ofcourse the villager sees this white woman as an opportunity & her salvation and
responds as Michelle expected.
Stop asking leading questions to get the answers that you want in order to prove your point!!!
Anja Dalhoff is doing a great job exposing the exploitation of Nigerian women abroad, and should be given some credit. I sincerely hope that our dear corrupt leaders (Past and Present) have watched the documentary as well ( of course from Plasma TVs from their mansions in Europe purchased with stolen oil and Gas money, initially meant to help these prostitutes in the first place)

The Nigerian problem has to do with corruption , selfishness , Tribalism , disregard for the rule of law ,lack of direction , lack of love for one another ,and a large and growing class difference resulting in oppression of the poor , increase crime , mass emigration, etc .If the government is ready to provide education , create jobs , build and maintain basic infrastructure ( I believe we make billions from Oil and Gas exports ), it would be very unlikely that these women would get involved in this disgusting business.

Some are offended at the manner which Anja portrayed the country, well, I support Anja and welcome more documentaries in future, and contrary to what some said, I am not tired of these documentaries, I would actually encourage more from Anja .There is no point pretending all is well when that is not the case, these women deserve a better life and better future..

Finally, in response to the blog on the issue of “DIGNITY “, I would like to affirm that I am proud of my Nigerian South-South origin , I didn’t quite understand why the blogger was taking a swipe at common people from a certain section of the country, perhaps the issues she raised are best answered by our dear leaders from the immediate past administration (this gives me an “ an idea of their mindset …” lol ); please also remember to ask them why they didn’t provide Universal Primary Education for the lady you mentioned “ Look at the sick woman that could not speak a good sentence of English….” from the resources of the mentioned “ slums and villages ..” that provides 90% of the country’s wealth (lol) .

Great documentary!
I have witnesed forced prostitution first hand.... I was a very good "client" when I worked in Kosovo and Macedonia. There the majority of the girls come from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. In the beggining I was too drunk to see what was happening most of the time. In time I realized that these girls were not there and doing that by choice but forced to do so. I had read about white slavery before but as many people do I did not believe that THAT could be happening nowadays. Whit slavery/forced prostituion is alive and well all around us. To say that these girls all do it out of greed is ignorant. I encourage you to watch the film "Human Trafficking", it truly gives you a good idea how these women are tricked and used. I was able to help a few escape knowing that I could get killed myself if the boss found out I was doing it but I sleep better at night knowing that I did help some. These girls need and DESERVE our compasion, not scorn...
how can the militants in nwfp pakistan can be dealt with when they are supported by the ngos such as the sarhad ryral suuport organisation and the mecenaries of taliban connection left over from the fundamentalist government of qazi hussain ahmed such as the so called secretaries in the planning and development department with additional secretaries in the finance department and the big lot of bearede officers left over by the maulans and the clean shave gentleman in the government from swabi district who are bent upon creating a mess of development intitiatives in the province in the form of pleasing the local talibans such good examples is is ikram khan in pn d bashir in finance raza in pnd and so on
Anja, I live very close to Denmark and consider yourself wanted by all Nigerians. Look at your documentry, full of lies and deceit!
Joy is not even a Nigerian, she is a Liberian!

What a shame! I hope you guys rot in hell for always trying to Slander my country!
Ive been following the Trapped Documentry ,I just wanted to say that I tought Anna was extremely brave to share her story. I do however hope that she was paid for it , as she is clearly in need of the money, as I am sure the documentry was an asset to CNN.
Thank you for the Documentry
I.Botes
New Zealand
This is Totally an untrue story. Ur story says one cant walk in broad day light, i have been staying in this country for 21 years and i know the situation is same even in the US u have the problems of armed robbery, CNN has a one sided story of many things, that why people now prefer other news station. Imagine u only showed all the slums in Nigeria and i think u paid people to talk. Even Newyork city and New orleans have worst slums. Why paint the black race in another color. I would never want to travel to europe not even for a million dollar, sorry to shame u but Nigeria is the best country. One love All
I have been very interested in this documentary because it serves as one of the reliable sources for my master thesis. I want to be as objective as possible. I do respect the views of my fellow african brothers and sisters but i have some remarks to make. It doesn´t matter where Anna or Joy come from. The bottom line is, both are africans and victims of human trafficking. Even if any of those involved in this documentary have been paid to testify, let us focus our attention on the message behind it. I do regard it as a wake-up call for us all. The masterminds behind this criminal enterprise target citizens obsessed with the idea of travelling to Europe. I do believe that, by projecting these images, Africans are meant to grasp the arcane machinations behind this organised criminal network. This documentary may equally offer invaluable insights into the lives of thousands of women working in the sex industry in Europe, be it innocent victims or guilty whores. They all face an equal fate. And for the money-grubbing individuals, there is always a high price attached to greed and deceit.
That said, i think it will be also uplifting and inspiring to Africans, if reporters paint the blissful picture of Africans who have travelled to Europe legally, set up ambitious targets, achieved them by heading the right way and are now basking in glory in Europe or in Africa.
(cameroonian student living in Germany)
I must applaud the cameroonian student living in Germany for his profound analysis of the problem. The message to me seems to be: stop criminal acts such as human trafficking - regardless where on this planet it occures. Reportings are or seem always somewhat subjective (like are comments) - but one has to get to the bottom line. I don`t have the impression that this is about blackmailing Nigeria, which is in deed a beautiful country; it is solely about human trafficking, which is another global(isation) problem - that`s the point. It has to be pointed out and dealt with appropriately.
I see as one of the problems, that people in the so called 3rd world still see Europe or the US as the place where you find milk and honey on the streets and therefore pay a lot of money to ... traffickers ??? in order to take their children/relatives there for a "better" life - not having the slightest idea of the reality abroad. Why not run this program in e.g. cinemas of the home-countries affected?!
thanks to Michelle for the documentary. If that is the truth about nigeria why should it be hidden to the world, afterall we see such documentary here in spain every day. So is no longer new.
My comment is specifically for Tosin"the proud nigeria". Why are you angry hearing the truth? how long can you people continue to hide this stuff, you mentioned Edo state is not interested in Educating their children, so that is another clue for mitchel to work on part 3 of the documentary. what is the federal body doing in educating their citizen if the state can not. remember the class room had no chairs, we didn't see any teacher, the children where not actually in good condition. So what makes you think if they grow up they won't search for a good social life else where. There is prostitution all over the world. According to Spanish survey, Brazilian, Ecuadorians and eastern Europeans are the highest in prostitution in Spain. Nigeria or black girls are the least but the only difference is the black girls pay huger amount to their pimp compare to others. Tosin which part of Nigeria are you from so that the next documentary can happen there and i bet you will be surprise Edo will even be better. all nigeria cities are same stop throwing stones none is best
VIVA LA VERDAD
i think good and bad are well balanced in this universe that is why we are surviving.
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