TALITA STORIES

Here you can read short stories about women who changed their own lives. All names are fictitious and some details (such as age, nationality etc) have been altered to protect the women's identities. All stories are approved for publication by the woman herself.

Destiny

In 2010 the police uncovered a large sex trafficking ring after intensive surveillance and wiretapping. The female ringleader received 6 years in prison for human trafficking – one of the severest sentences for such a crime in Sweden. The dozen women who were exploited in prostitution by this sex trafficking ring had been intimidated into obedience through voodoo rituals in their home country. The youngest girl was 16 when she cane to Sweden. She allegedly owes the sex trafficking ring 60 000 Euros – money she would repay by having sex with Swedish men.

Destiny was 17-years-old when she was brought to Talita by her lawyer. The trial had taken a large toll on her, and she needed to deal with her trauma. She shared how she had been locked up and terribly mistreated. She also told us how it had taken her an entire month before she built up the courage to report anything to the police, but in the end, she went to the police, and in her case, meant that her abusers were sentenced. Five years have gone by, and Destiny has transformed her life. She now has a permanent residence in Sweden, studies to become a florist, and last summer we had the pleasure of attending her wedding.

Tatjana

Tatyana knew that she would end up in prostitution, but didn't know what it entailed. Tatjana was born and raised in a country in Eastern Europe. Her father left her, her little brother and mother when she was very young. They were allowed to live with relatives, but were treated horribly. Her relatives referred to her as a dog, and she was even forced to eat food from the dog bowl. They had difficulty finding the money to survive. Due to the circumstances at home, Tatyana started selling her body at a brothel at the age of 13. After a number of years in the brothel, she was offered a marriage proposal and moved to Sweden. She knew deep down that she would be forced into prostitution in Sweden, but she had no other choice.

Tatjana became more and more broken with each passing day. The man she married, who was also her pimp, offered her body to several men each day. She never saw the money. In the end, she managed to escape. Tatjana needed a lot of support and help to move on. Above all, she needed to feel valued and loved. She had never experienced that. Today, Tatjana is doing well. She has a residence permit in Sweden, is married and has children, and studies.

Jasmina

Jasmina came to us at the end of 2015, placed by the Stockholm Police Prostitution Group. At that time, she had been sexually exploited at nightclubs in different countries in Europe and then ended up in prostitution here in Sweden. During the days before she arrived at Talita, she had thought about taking her life, and tried to drown her inner pain with alcohol and cocaine. After completing the hard work of working through her traumas for a year in our program, she moved out at the end of 2016. Jasmina is doing well today. She has her own apartment, is studying to become a trauma therapist, gives lectures on prostitution and human trafficking, participates in interviews and is one of the initiators of Talita's outreach activities.



Serena

A woman in Nepal suspected that a girl, who we call Serena, was on her way to becoming exploited in human trafficking. This woman contacted her relatives in Sweden – the country Serena was travelling to. After receiving word about Serena, the organization Freethem in Uppsala contacted Talita. We travelled out to Arlanda Airport, where the border police led Serena directly to us – without having the time to call the unknown men should had received instructions to contact once she arrived. It later became known that one of these men had been previously convicted for sexual crime. After Serena lived in Villa Talita for several months, she felt ready to return home and take part in The Gender Equality Agency and IOM’s return program. Today she is a trained police, provides for her family, and still keeps in contact.

Claudia

During a crackdown of a criminal gang who engaged in pimping activities, the police found Claudia, a young woman from Romania. She was extremely anxious when she was brought to Villa Talita, worrying about her 1-year old son who remained in Romania and who she had not seen in two months. She avoided giving details to the police in the beginning. However, after conversations and encouragement from other women in the Villa, she decided to tell everything. A few days later she was noticeably happier and more relieved. On an excursion together, Claudia climbed high up in a tree with a bottle of bubbles in her hand. She giggled with joy as she watched the bubbles float away through the sky.

When she returned home to Romania, Claudia participated in The Gender Equality Agency and IOM's return program. Later on, Claudia came back to stay at Talita while she testified against her traffickers. Claudia's courage to testify helped result in her traffickers receiving a sentence of 2.5 years of prison and deportation, while Claudia received damages that will be targeted towards her and her son’s healthcare, future, and wellbeing.

Miriam

In the summer of 2014, Stockholm Police’s Prostitution Group conducted a crackdown on an apartment brothel. A young woman, Miriam, was found and placed at Villa Talita. That same evening, all the women in the house sat down together and listened when Miriam shared about her life and what it was that forced her into the horrible situation she found herself in. She, a young, single mom with three small children in her home country, had been forced to bear the entire financial burden of her family. The heaviest to bear was her debt of 300,000 SEK that her ex-husband had left her with – a debt she paid to the Enforcement Authority in her home country by selling herself in Sweden over one week of every month. The alternative would be even worse: conviction out of her home and the risk of losing the custody of her three children.

We visited Miriam in her home country and investigated in detail how the debt was configured and how it could be paid off. Today, Mariam has a new job at an office, which enables her to provide for herself and her three children, while Talita helps her pay of the debt. Miriam never needs to travel to Sweden and sell her body again. Here is one of the messages she sent us to express her gratitude:

"Thank you so much for sending me money! My life really changed thanks to you. You helped me to free myself from that situation. BIG THANKS once again to everyone in Talita and all the sponsors, to allow me to get back to a normal life and be an ordinary woman and mother. I appreciate that “strangers” from a foreign country are interested in the life of an unknown woman. For me, Talita is a place where angels live and I still don’t have words to describe how grateful I am for what you did for me."


Jenny

Jenny was 20 years old when she came to Tallita, placed at Talita by the police's Human Trafficking Group. She had grown up in an ordinary Swedish family, but when she was little she was raped by her step-father, who later sold her to other men. As a teenager, Jenny began to harm herself by selling her body.

Jenny chose to stay and be part of Talita's rehabilitation program. There were periods when she felt complete despair and was almost ready to give up, but she didn't! She managed to exit prostitution and today she is studying her dream profession and runs our outreach work with another woman (Jasmina) who has also gone through our program.


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