These sisters are like David fighting Goliath. They are part of RENATE, the religious network that combats the gigantic business of human trafficking.
Sr. Monica works on foot in the streets. Every week she goes to Rome to rescue young women who have been tricked into prostitution.
SR. MONICA CHIKWE
"It is a mafia network, beginning with the country of origin, to the transit and finally, the destination. They are controlled until the end. These people know where the women are, when they arrive. They know everything."
Therefore, these religious sisters and their collaborators have to meticulously and discreetly work to circumvent the powerful networks of human trafficking.
SR. IMELDA POOLE
"All over these countries there are shelters where the girls are referred and they are safe. We know they are safe, because we are working within a safe environment. We know there are shelters in every country where we work so we work very carefully and clandestinely."
They operate in 27 European countries helping children, women or men who have fallen into mafias of sexual labor or exploitation. Their experience tells them that it is possible to escape the traffickers and have a second chance.
"We had a young girl working in a brothel. The police raided the club and found out that she was trafficked. So she was brought to the houses of the sisters to just relax, to become a human being again and not an object. She stayed there for few weeks and she relaxed. She had some clothing again. She had some offer on possessions and she went back to school.”
This young lady in this story is now a lawyer. Another girl whom they helped, was able to take the murderers of her brother to court, thanks to RENATE.
SR. IMELDA POOLE
"It was really important that we allowed this girl to fulfill her dream to denounce the trafficker and get justice. So we work at every step of the way."
It is a line of work in which everyday there are more people who need help. The refugee crisis is additionally aggravating a problem that engulfs more than 500,000 women every year in Europe alone, for the purpose of sexual labor and exploitation. Around the world, an estimated 21 million people are the properties of this business that generates 35 billion dollars every year.