According to statistics from the municipality of Bologna, 40 percent of all female sex workers working on the streets of the city are Romanian. Of these women – including minors and unaccompanied youth who have just reached the threshold (age 18) when they
no longer receive housing in state-run Placement Centers – some are victims of human trafficking. The association Generatie Tanara (Young Generation) is the partner of Turisti non a caso in Romania and our host in Timisoara. Generatie Tanara operates a recuperation and reintegration program for victims of human trafficking, as well as trafficking prevention and education programs for area youth in Timis County, Romania. The organization’s work was a point of particular interest for Barbara and Alessandro. Barbara and Alessandro, who are traveling with our group in Romania, are members of the Bologna organization ViaLibera, a group dedicated to serving as allies to street sex workers. ViaLibera operates a mobile night unit, accompanies women on clinical visits, distributes condoms to facilitate safe (protected) sex practices, and provides support to prostitutes who want to leave the streets and return to their home countries.
In Timisoara, Barbara and Alessandro had the chance to meet with the director of Generatie Tanara, Mariana:
Many of the women you work with on the streets of Bologna are Romanian. What was it like to have discussions with an organization in Romania that is working in the same area?
A: Barbara: It was interesting to have a point of contact in Romania in order to make some plans because sometimes girls want to go back (home to Romania.) For us, it is important to have Generatie Tanara in order to have a point of connection – a safe place – when we know that girls are followed by their traffickers. Sometimes girls go back home, but in cases where it was the family that sold her, she ends up being sent to another (Western) country to continue working in street prostitution. It is interesting to know
about a Romanian woman who is doing this work because we see all the girls in the street but we only knew a little bit about Romania; we would be interested in working together and maybe organizing some plans for prevention and information in Italy and Romania. We think the only thing that we can really do is inform people and students that people on the streets of Bologna are not there for pleasure but because they are forced. Sometimes it is Italy, it is strange but it has happened, that people ask “isn’t she there because she likes working on the street?” This meeting was important because she (Mariana of Generatie Tanara) explained to us the context in which girls are coming.