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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Have Your Say
Anna at the well in her village

The Republic of Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and has the highest human trafficking rate in the region.

One in six adults has left the country to work abroad and although the money they send home does help there is a price to pay.

For Crossing Continents, Olenka Frenkiel told the powerful story of 16-year-old Anna who was abandoned by her mother seven years ago.

We asked for your comments on the issues that our programme raised. A selection of your comments are below. This debate is now closed.

Trafficking in persons is a global problem, but as an international community, we do not have a global policing force that is sufficient enough in size to deal with this concern. Local policing is just as important as international policing, but a lot of the time, once problems cross borders, it becomes forgotten about. There needs to be accountability for both the demand and supply side of this problem and globally, we have not done enough to overcome the hurdles of a newly globalised world. Technology and tracking will increase response times and we need people specialised enough to harness this technology and people to implement the information in a timely matter. I, no doubt, think that education is an important contributor to the problem, but intervention and implementation are also needed.
Scott Kang, Chicago, US

Although it's true to state that Moldova is a very poor country this is only part of the problem. Roughly 80% of the nation's wealth is concentrated in the hands of 20% of the population. This 20% live in an area of 10% of Moldova. This island of opportunity is the capital Chisinau. By British standards its still a poor town but until the wealth is spread more evenly into the countryside then the desperate situation will grow. If you walk around the streets you notice most of a generation has gone. The people of Moldova are helping themselves because nobody else will do it for them. With good luck, better government, closer links with Romania, federal agreement with Transdniester and in 20 years time things will be a good deal better.
A P King, Shropshire

I would hope that the media would stay on this story and someone could organise a relief campaign
Matthew, Chicago, US
Poor regions of Europe like Moldova deserve the same kind of attention the world gave to regions damaged by the tsunami. I realize that long term solutions are the best, but stories such as Anna's are so moving that I'm sure many people would be eager to donate money for charitable causes inside Moldova. I know Americans would, even though most have no knowledge of the country. I would hope that the media would stay on this story and someone could organise a relief campaign. So much need in the world, but I pray that these children will not be forgotten. God Bless them all.
Matthew, Chicago, US

The situation in Moldova is a tragedy. And I think it is a disgrace that the plight of this country is widely overlooked by the EU leaders caught up in the media obsession with Africa and the Middle East. It's about time millions more in aid were given to those suffering in our own geographic region, Moldova being a prime candidate.
Matt, Ipswich

What is often missing is practical advice on how we can help. You can add your voice to campaigns such as Stop The Traffic. There are families in Europe (us included) who can sponsor or take in such abandoned kids, but the red tape and political hype tells us it's worse to take them away from their (starving) culture than to offer them homes in another. Clearly it's better to give aid in their own country but that can be a long battle during which such kids starve or get trafficked.
Siobhan Cooper, Luxembourg

UK industries all turn a blind eye to where the cheap labour comes from
Paul Dimmick, London
Whenever trafficking is mentioned, we always seem to talk about the supply, and never the demand. This isn't just about girls being forced into prostitution, UK industries all turn a blind eye to where the cheap labour comes from when there's a profit to be made. We create the demand and then moan about immigrants that make up the supply, it's just hypocrisy. I have been to Moldova twice, both times I've been humbled by the generosity and hospitality of the people I met. Instead of patting ourselves on the back for abolishing slavery 200 years ago, perhaps we could do more to expose its modern form and tackle the demand that destroys the lives of those trafficked as well as those left behind.
Paul Dimmick, London

Galina & Anna's story was incredible and at the same time utterly heart-breaking. It made me cry. It's clear that poverty drives parents to extremes because they feel they have no other choices left to them. Perhaps one can also argue that this is one of the more distasteful dark side effects of globalisation - where everything has a price or can be exploited for monetary gain, but where the deep and longer lasting human effects are incalculable on the personal level. This was one of the most extraordinary and touching stories I've ever heard broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Ivan Ratoyevsky, Leeds, UK

It seems as though there is no use having any decent education in Moldova at all. People with higher education cannot apply their knowledge anywhere! That is why they are leaving. We hear about poverty in such regions as Africa and South Asia every day. However, I feel that there are many places in Europe like that desperately needs more attention from the Western media and international organizations.
Maria S, Ukraine

Trafficking must be attacked with the law, by attacking poverty and education. Laws should be strong enough in countries like England to find and prosecute the traffickers, while victims should be treated as victims and not illegal immigrants. People don't leave their homes and move to strange countries with no reason, and other than war that reason is almost always poverty. Creating sources of income is important in places such as Moldova. And people must be educated about the dangers. Girls like Anna can be greatly influenced by what they see in the media and see both adventure and a better life in a foreign country.
John Stevenson, Cairns

The governments in the receiving countries are also at fault
Anna, Limassol, Cyprus
Education is the best way to deal with this problem. Many women as well as men are unaware of the dangers when accepting jobs abroad. The government needs to set up agencies whereby the work offered is checked and then monitored. Most end up in cabarets or brothels and some who where promised work as waitresses end up in forced prostitution as well. The governments in the receiving countries are also at fault, they need to monitor these places and offer advice and help to the women who work there. The women are obviously unaware of their rights and are too scared to seek help, many are imprisoned and have no way out. All the government can do is offer frequent visits to their homes to make sure they are ok, they are being educated, their homes are secure and they have enough food.
Anna, Limassol, Cyprus

I lived and worked for two years in Moldova as an English teacher. At the time I was the only English person in the country. With average wages of around 35 a month, and no help for the 40% unemployed, people are reduced to searching rubbish bins for stale bread and potato peelings. Withered cabbage leaves left lying around at the market are quickly snatched up. In this atmosphere of desperation, people are on the look out for any chance of improving their situation, hence the frequency with which many Moldovans are lured into being trafficked.
Clive Colman, Evesham

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Crossing Continents


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Moldova's abandoned children
04 Apr 07 |  Crossing Continents
Country profile: Moldova
07 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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