Romania is a significant source of sex and labor trafficking victims throughout Europe. Romanian men, women, and children are subjected to labor trafficking in agriculture, construction, domestic service, hotels, and manufacturing, as well as forced begging and theft in Romania and other European countries. Romani children are particularly vulnerable to forced begging and sex trafficking. Corruption is a prevalent issue: government officials have been convicted of human trafficking crimes, and there have been reports of local officials obstructing trafficking investigations. Married against her will at 13 and forced to steal by her husband in Spain and Belgium, Christina now lives in a youth shelter and is going to school.
My name is Cristina. I’m 15 and I come from Romania. I lived there and then went to England.
I stayed with my little sisters and brother. I minded them, always at home with them.
And then, one day, my mother married me off.
A friend of hers came to our house and said he wanted to marry me. I heard this and cried, and did all kinds of things not to marry him.
She said, “It’s my decision. You must live by it.”
My husband was 18. I was only 13 and couldn’t do anything.
He was mean. He didn’t know how to act with a girl 14 or 15. He acted as if I were a woman of 20 or 30.
Then I went to Romania where they made my passport and stuff. After that I went to Spain.
I stole and he stayed home. I never wanted to steal but I had to or he would hit me. He saw that stealing wasn’t working in Spain, so we came to Belgium.
I thought that what was doing was wrong and I wanted to stop, and so the police arrested me. I got myself arrested voluntarily. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be here.
They put me in a center and I started to live a normal life.
When I think about it all, I feel really sad. It’s not…
As told to the European Commission