Romania Update - March 2020

“Focus on Him, not the corruption! When I try to sort the problems out myself – it doesn’t work. Look on Him.”

These words, spoken by Director Iana Matei of Reaching Out Romania, expressed both her anger and her faith in reference to Romanian national officials who want to close down all shelters and simply reintegrate the girls, the victims of human trafficking, back into the community following their rescue.

  • Officials are trying to gain power to evaluate and monitor shelters with the aim to close them.
  • Iana is working with the Ministry of Labour and Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis’ secretary to correctly word new laws to protect children in Romania from being exploited by traffickers and corrupt officials.
  • Finances are needed so that 3 or 4 organizations can rally together with Iana to fight this latest threat.

To send the girls back to their communities would be disastrous. The girls will be exposed,” explains Iana.

  • The girls will not receive the care that is needed.
  • They will return to a community where they were first vulnerable and without work.
  • Rather than being protected by public officials, the girls will be at risk to being used by them.

At Home, in the Shelter:

  • Presently 10 girls are living in the shelter home from ages 13-early 20’s, including 2 mothers with their babies.
  • Prior to the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the girls attended a Roma or Gypsy church service at the invitation of the pastor. The girls felt so well loved and received, not judged but accepted. During ministry at the altar they responded with tears.
  • The girls are now working from home to complete their studies. Written notice is required to go grocery shopping or run a necessary errand.

Agricultural Land in Southwest Romania:

  • The lavender will soon be ready for spring planting.
  • Iana and her son, Stefan, had a productive few days completing the weeding, trimming, preparing the soil of 4 hectares of land with 3 more to go. The weather, however, dropped from +25 degrees to below zero with 20 cm of snow covering the land.
  • The positive is that this snow will slowly seep into the freshly worked soil, moistening it for spring growth.
Needs to believe for:
  • Operational Funds: for food, medicine, court cases, car gas to get supplies, social worker wages.
  • A mature woman to help manage the agricultural land and be a spiritual mother to the girls.
  • Health and safety for the girls and social workers.
  • Though COVID-19 is causing job loss and economic crisis, financial support for Iana’s work is vital for these vulnerable girls.
BBC follows the trail to Romania to find out how traffickers in northern London operate and to speak with Iana Matei, a woman, they say, who knows the traffickers’ technique well. Watch this clip mid-way, about 4 minutes in, to hear the interview with Iana and see some of the girls in the shelter: