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Trafficked to the UK: Samara’s story


Trafficked to the UK: Samara’s story

Traffickers are targeting young, vulnerable women like Samara* with believable offers of a better life. Give now to stop sex trafficking in the UK.

Love was all Samara* wanted.

But Samara’s dreams were shattered when her ‘boyfriend’ betrayed her in the worst way imaginable.

He used her to make money, trafficking her from Romania to the UK for sexual exploitation:

“It was not just horror, but more than horror. It didn’t matter to him that you are a woman.”

Restricted from going outside alone and with no access to money or her passport, Samara couldn’t even reach out to her family. She was trapped in a nightmare.

Meanwhile, the trafficker and his family extravagantly enjoyed spending the money made through her.

“He wanted to brag about himself, that he had money and about what he was doing in England, for all the world to see,” Samara remembers.

For five years, Samara’s life was reduced to a brutal cycle of abuse and exploitation. As a result, Samara became pregnant and gave birth to a baby. She was under the trafficker’s complete control.

Until suddenly, back in Romania, the traffickers decided she’d served her purpose. Kicked out of the house, Samara was finally free. Free, but traumatised and alone.

Samara could have just returned home and tried to put the past behind her. But instead, she bravely went to the police.

Her case was passed to a specialised human trafficking prosecutor, who had previously attended IJM training. He referred the case to IJM.

IJM came alongside Samara with urgent psychological and legal support. She wasn’t alone anymore.

“Once she started to trust me, she felt she could reach out to me in the most difficult situations. She knows she can count on me.” - IJM social worker

Determined to get justice and with IJM’s support, Samara helped build a case against the traffickers and testified in the trial. Four people were sentenced to up to five years in prison and ordered to pay compensation.

“Although he deserved more years, I was so relieved,” Samara reflects.

Two years since IJM began supporting her, today Samara is a strong and resilient mother who is focused on her family’s future. With IJM’s support, she’s got her driver’s license – giving her even more freedom – and completed a floristry course.

“I see hope when survivors manage to work through their trauma and are able to build a new happy life. We receive pictures of Samara’s floristry work and it makes us very happy.” - IJM Romania staff

Samara reached another dream in November 2023 – marrying a man who loves and respects her. Samara and her husband are beginning their married life together with their children in a village in Romania.

“I hope that in the near future I will open my own flower shop. That’s what I see now. May God work on my plans as I ask him to!” - Samara

Around 80% of traffickers are acquaintances of their victims, using their trust as a weapon and a control mechanism.

Sex trafficking shouldn’t happen – not here, not anywhere. Your support is more urgent than ever.

Actress is used to depict survivor and is not a survivor of sex trafficking. The final photo shows the real Samara.

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Read how your support changes lives. Your donations help IJM give child survivors of sex trafficking the chance to enjoy their childhood, and find their dreams and chase them.

"I was told nobody would believe me if I spoke up. But this is my story to tell."

Your support can help find and free women and children who have been trafficked

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Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.


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