Stop Sex Trafficking

Exploited To Empowered: Aini’s Story

Posted: Author: By Sarah Potts

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Not For Sale is excited to share the story of Aini, a former trafficking victim whose life has been transformed through involvement in the Not For Sale culinary training program in Amsterdam. According to Bernice, a social worker who worked with Aini at the shelter where Aini was staying, Aini has used the training she received in Not For Sale’s culinary program to follow her dream and open up her own restaurant at home in the Philippines. The restaurant serves local cuisine and provides the financial support that her family so desperately needs. Her story is one of triumph out of a tragic trafficking situation.

In 2013, Aini was lured from her home in the Philippines to the Netherlands with the promise of a job, which she hoped would pull her family out of the devastating poverty that she grew up in. However, when she arrived in Amsterdam, she found herself forced to work for little or no pay and she was not allowed to leave the house where she was staying. She soon figured out that the job was not what she had been promised, and that she was living in slavery.

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Aini eventually reached out for help and was brought to a local shelter that assists women who are seeking asylum from trafficking. In addition, through a partnership between the shelter and Not For Sale, Aini received the opportunity to be a part of Not For Sale’s four-week culinary training program, which teaches job skills in the food industry and provides certification for those who complete the program. Aini loved her experience in the program, learning the basic skills of cooking and running a restaurant. There she developed a dream of one day owning her own restaurant. According to Bernice, “For some of the survivors we work with, taking part in the Not For Sale program is mainly an activity to keep their minds busy and to give them something meaningful to do whilst they are in the shelter. But for others like Aini, it is really about learning, developing skills, and being rewarded through a qualification and the confidence that this brings.”

Aini is one of 46 women who were trained in Not For Sale’s culinary training program in 2014. The program has served women from many parts of the world including Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, Turkey, and Venezuela, 70 percent of whom were caught up in the sex trade. Research reveals that the women who took part in the culinary skills program showed a 10 percent increase in a sense of empowerment and wellbeing, an outcome illustrated in Aini’s story.

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Learn more about our work in the Netherlands.

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“Estimates range from a low of 700,000 to a high of 4 million people that are trafficked annually worldwide. It is estimated that two children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation, an estimated 1.2 million every year.”UNICEF

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