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Survivor Stories

The Story of E.R.

My name is E.R. and I am from Elbasan. When I was 15, my parents married me, against my will, to a man aged 35, whom I did not love. So started my miseries.

Not too long afterwards, I abandoned him and returned to my family. But my parents did not accept me back because I had dishonored them by leaving my husband. I had no support and nowhere to go. I got acquainted with a boy who was 20 who said he loved me and promised to marry me. He convinced me to go to Italy for "a better life."

I thought my sufferings now were at an end, but I did not know the real hell that was expecting me. I was compelled to work on the street. I did so for nearly three years. My exploiter savagely battered me frequently, mainly when I did not bring home the required sum or when he faced drug trafficking problems. During that time I gave birth to a son.

Once he beat me so hard that I cannot remember, and I fell on the floor. A friend of mine passing by to meet me found me on the floor, covered in blood. She saved my life by taking me to the hospital. I gave evidence in Italy and returned to Albania with my son. Again, they did not accept me. They took in my son only, and I could not take care of him.

Being destitute on the street again, I was forced to prostitute in Tirana, in the hotels and motels. I slept wherever I could -- on the street, in the park. I decided my condition would be better in Italy. When I returned there, I worked on the street again and was caught by the police and taken back to Albania a second time.

I find calmness and support in the shelter, and I now contemplate my future. I do not want anything else except to go home, to see and take care of my son, to be the mother he missed for so long.

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