Update: Reaching Out Romania

Fighting the battle against human trafficking and providing shelter and care for its victims

Attempt by the Ministry of Labour to close the Shelter

Iana Encouraging the Young Women in the Shelter

  • Child victims of human trafficking fall under the general licensing category of ‘children in difficulty’, but there are not any specific laws to protect the children who have been enslaved. Since 2004 the Ministry of Labour was to define the standards for trafficking in minors, but that has never happened.
  • In June, local authorities wanted to close down the Reaching Out home by revoking their license to operate.
  • Since the shelter is the only one run by a Non-Government Organization (NGO), the Ministry of Labour thought that by closing it they could then declare that Romania does not have an issue of trafficking.
  • A huge scandal ensued once the US Embassy and Romanian media became involved exposing the lack of investigation, lack of assistance and corruption of the system.

Results of US Embassy Involvement and Media Coverage:

US Embassy Bucharest

US Embassy Bucharest

  • Every day more people from within the system are pushing for reform as they testify publicly about the evident corruption within the Ministry of Interior and the Prosecutors Office.
  • A network of NGO’s formed to amend the anti-trafficking legislation that was modified by the Ministry of Interior and that benefits the trafficker. Deputy Adriana Saftoiu will now take legislation to Parliament to address and protect the children who are trafficked.
  • The operating license for the shelter was granted to Reaching Out Romania for another year.

Death Threat: Police Corruption Exposed Yet Again

Due to the under-cover work of a woman police officer an entire trafficking network was arrested. The day she finalized her mission she was at home and looked out the window to see why her car alarm was sounding. On top of her car was a funeral wreath with a note in her mail box that read, “If you don’t stop now, this is how we will take care of your child.’’ Only 2 people knew she worked under-cover and only those same 2 police officers knew her address. At that moment she realized that it’s not the traffickers she has to fear but her own police colleagues.

A Battle Won!

Iana Matei

Following the actions of the media, the US embassy and many requests and documents addressed to the Ministry of Interior, Reaching Out Romania received a letter 2 weeks ago to withdraw the order that places Non-Government Organization’s (NGO’s) under their subordination; a model not practiced in other European Union countries.

Iana said, “This is not the battle I would choose, it is the Lord’s battle, I put the whole situation in God’s hands, I left it there and I don’t intend to take it back. I believe that this was a fight that the Lord picked. I certainly didn’t and I couldn’t win it in this wonderful way so it must be Him. God has never lost a battle, we give Him glory!”

The war is not over,” says Iana, “So please keep praying while we push for reforms here.”

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