BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
'I was sold for 2,000 euros'
Women in a brothel
Anna contemplated running away and suicide
Anna is one of an estimated 4,000 women thought to have been trafficked into the UK into a life of prostitution.

Here, she describes how she was forced to have sex and faced ice-cold baths, starvation and beatings if she did not do as she was told.

When Anna was just 12, she ran away from her home in Albania after befriending an older man.

He obtained forged papers for her and took her to Hamburg in Germany where he coerced her into prostitution.

After four years selling herself for sex, she was hidden in a lorry and trafficked into the UK where she was sold on for 2,000 Euros and employed in a brothel.

"In the beginning I was busy. I was younger and slimmer, and I was a new face," she says.

If they see you without make-up -'oh my god' - you are going to get hit if you don't look nice
Anna

She was getting between 15 and 20 customers a day and at Christmas that could be as many as 30.

She found herself under increasing pressure to take drugs.

She tells of a time early on in her abuse when she was with one customer who had asked for two girls.

The other girl was showing her what to do but Anna started to cry when she saw the customer lying on the bed - it was the first time she had seen a naked man.

"The girl said to me to go downstairs and I went downstairs. I was crying and shouting and he [a pimp] started hitting me saying 'don't cry because you put us in trouble - why are you crying in front of a customer?'"

Icy baths

Punishments were harsh and Anna was desperate to leave but too afraid to make a move.

"As soon as the bell rings I have to be ready. If they see you without make-up -'oh my god'. You are going to get hit if you don't look nice."

If she didn't make money, she would be put in a bath of ice-cold water and hit, she says.

"You are not allowed to eat if you don't make money and all the time they follow you.

"Sometimes you think you will kill yourself or try to run away. If they catch you, it's the worst thing."

Scarred by iron

Eventually Anna was rescued during a police raid on the brothel.

By that stage, she was covered in scars and bruises, and permanently felt sick.

"I have got a scar, I was burned with an iron on my leg and I was beaten."

From there, she was sent to Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre before being taken in by the Poppy Project which looks after trafficked women and children who have been forced into prostitution.

She told the BBC she was recently refused the right to stay in the UK and is currently fighting attempts to send her back to Albania.

Now aged 20, she does not want to return to her home country for fear of being found and forced back into prostitution.

However, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said she could not give any guarantees that victims would not be deported after being rescued.


Your comments:

I felt very moved reading this story, the poor people forced into this situation. Obviously to me, nothing is done about the men who bring these girls/boys into this world of prostitution and drugs, you can't just deport these people even if they were willing, which most are not, they need help, and the perpetrators should be named and jailed.
Jackie Smith, Devon, UK

I am so shocked by this story and I wonder why human beings are so cruel. I live in Kenya where such stories are a bit common but I didn't expect this from Europe. I hope the authorities are doing all they can to stop this. I am a man, I am appealing to all men out there who must make themselves happy with other women to please make sure they do it with adults! Please make sure you are not enjoying yourself at the expense of innocent poor children.
Andrew Atina, Nairobi, Kenya

So much for safety and sanctuary. Ms Smith is a woman, I bet she's happy she's not twenty and of eastern European origin. I always thought the UN charter asked that people (or should I say numbers in these days of Home Office targets) not be returned to a place where they could be subject to torture. Really sends a good message to these girls and their tormentors. "Go to the British police for more of the same". Maybe the Mash song is relevant: "Suicide is painless"? Get your act together Ms Smith.
barry cox, Haywards Heath.UK

I FEEL VERY SORRY FOR WHAT HAPPENED to you. Please keep God in your life at all times. Let God handle the people that did that to you. Don't let what they did affect how you feel about every man, there are still men out there that are loving and they will cherish your body. They will never use and abuse you. I will keep you in my prayers at all times. God bless you.
Britttany Bailey, Dublin Ga, United States

I think it is absolutely appalling to treat women like this, especially young girls. Their lives are ruined. Catch the traffickers and pimps and shut them up for good.
roma

At 10 "customers" a day, that makes it 15,000 men that have abused this child/young woman. And none of these fine 15,000 British citizens is willing to speak up for her, and the politicians merely turn their heads. Just marvellous, isn't it?
Wouter Montfrooij, Columbia, Missouri, USA

The system in Albania means that if anyone finds out what has happened to her she will be ostracised by her family, her marriage prospects will be nil, not least because she is well over the age she would normally marry and she is not a virgin, in fact she has been used by many men therefore she will be useless for all things except further prostitution. Another factor is revenge, the people who kidnapped her in the first place will want her dead and they will exact revenge on her for returning to identify them. The other aspect is revenge by her family, it depends on community power and wealth. The mindset of Albanian men to their women folk is obviously something that politicians of all parties believe is a myth. However if Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is so positive that this young lady is going to be safe why doesn't she take her place, or better still send her own children and see what happens. As for the virtual low life that instituted this system and perpetuate it they should be found, locked up and the key thrown away, or better still sent back to Albania with the proviso that they are given to the mothers of the girls they kidnapped
Colin Jacobs, Rochester, Northumberland, United Kingdom

The whole thing just sickens me to know that not only are these poor women forced in to this so called "trade" but that the "demand" is so high that these women were seeing nearly more than 20 men a day. Prosecute the "demand" as well!
Mrs Chauhan, Leicester

I am an MA student, studying International Communications at the University of Leeds. I have always felt very disturbed after reading such news. But, its not something new. Women and children trafficking is one of the evils of this contemporary world. After finishing my degree I would like to work towards eradicating such problems.
Vijayeta Tandon, Leeds, UK

I honestly cannot see how England benefits from deporting people like this. There are plenty of people I'd much rather see deported. And deporting her would pretty much obviate the point of having rescued her, wouldn't it? A little oversight to ensure that one hand knows what the other's doing would save money and allow for compassion in the long run.
Steve Rapaport, London



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Anna tells how she was sold into the sex trade



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific