When your latte gets colder

RealStars volonteer Ida Kjellberg Stjernström writes about a deep conversation with her rumanian friend Laura.

” If you have the beautiful looks you will get the best job”


Me and my friend Laura has just been out in nature hiking together with a little group of people. Our noses are red and are in a bit of pain after a long day at Macedonia highest mountain.


Macedonia is a country near Laura home land Romania, right now she lives in Norway with her Norwegian boyfriend but as Romania is where her roots are from she knows whats going on in the country from her own experiences.


Its very common that we think about sexual trafficking in Romania, as it is true the country in Europe with highest amount of people for of sexual offers.


She have mentioned this theme a few times during our drip together, and shared some of her own negative experiences being part of modeling in Romania.

She got asked by a man on the street. I wanted to know more and I listen with open ears to Laruas story.


”They are dividing the girls in three different groups. The most attractive looking become escorts for people with money, then they have a mid section of the ones that look decent who become escorts for not as established people, or working at stipp clubbes. As the ones who looks a bit shabby get to be working on the streets.


My body got all cold, I felt frozen. To read about it is one thing, but to listen to a person sharing the experiences from her close friends school is something different.


Most girls have gotten in these positions by mistake.. They are young and curious about the world. While a man very manipulative tell them that this is the job they been waiting for, to earn fast good money, travel and get free accommodation for sharing some of their beauty. It often happens that the girls either get kidnapped or have a boyfriend who these girls choose trusting is in the industry and after a while sell them. Its very common that human trafficking is trying to be in control of the people.


Laura my friend, has not been one of these offer but seven of her old classmates have been in the industry or are still in it, apparently its a very hard industry to leave as they make money of these girls and if they leave they are nothing, so they often threatening them if they want to leave.


”I got the question to become a model when I wan 17 years old, it made me very happy to get the opportunity to work as a model and make money from it”


She was lucky enough to have a different dream that she was strong enough to follow, to become a singer. Therefore she left the model industry early as she could quickly feel that it was something wrong with it. She explains to me that she was very lucky, and that for people that wait a bit longer easily get stuck.


She tells me a story about a class mate who was very beautiful and gifted. One day when Laura logged into facebook, it was naked very sexual picture all over her friends profil. Her body was stained by ciggerate marks and on the picture there was a price. A price for her friend. A price for her life.


It feels so near me, this is actually happening right around the corner, and we are ignoring it. We cant see it. I just cant believe how its possible. We are living in a time where we should have enough knowledge to understand that human trafficking is in the past and not now.


Maybe its time for me to open my eyes and stop being naive. This industry is the biggest industry in the world and make over 32 billion dollar every year. I makes me sick  And I cant help questioning if these industry and these money are part of companies around me that I support by buying a drink on a night club or a shirt from a clothing company. Where does your money really go? What industry do you really support? Are we really aware?