Few people know the origin of the festival and the name and it is quite an interesting story to share. Apparently, Matasari used to be known as the street with many prostitutes. The original idea behind the festival was to take back the streets and give NGOs and businesses an opportunity to promote women in a more positive way.
It was a lot of fun and many different organizations came out as well as a market selling hand made crafts appeared.
eLiberare showcased our doors concept at the event. Thanks to Andrei Radu from Usa Pictata, we were able to come up with a concept showing how people are trafficked in Romania. Participants walking by had the opportunity to go on a journey by literally walking through the doors and hearing the story of how people are trafficked.
Door 1: THE DREAM.
Human trafficking begins with the dream of a better life. Many people want to make money to have a bigger house, provide for their family, buy things that lead to a more comfortable life, etc. People are lured into accepting opportunities with high salaries because of this, but jobs that seem too good to be true often are. Recruitment methods traffickers use are offering job opportunities abroad, job opportunities in Romania, and love (the loverboy method is where a man courts a girl and convinces her to think they are in a relationship until he later exploits her.)
Door 2: THE JOURNEY
When people think about human trafficking they usually imagine people being kidnapped and thrown in vans. The reality is that most people travel legally across borders. For example, they can be recruited via internet, where the fake employers promise to buy their bus, train, or plane tickets and help them with the visas to the destination country. Another thing to point out is that trafficking doesn’t have to happen internationally; about half of Romanian victims were trafficked within Romania.
Door 3: EXPLOITATION.
What happens when people arrive is that they realize they have been tricked and are forced into slavery. Men who accepted jobs, usually in construction or agriculture, work without pay and in very rough conditions. Women who thought they would work as babysitters, housekeepers or elderly caretakers are forced into sexual exploitation. The dream of the better life they had imagined is far from the reality of what really takes place. The truth is that Romania has the highest rates of human trafficking victims in the European Union. 38% of Romanian victims are minors. And 64% of the adults that were trafficked, were recruited by someone they knew, a friend or family member.
Door 4: FREEDOM
Because an estimated 34.5 million people are trapped in slavery around the world, it is important that we think about and are grateful for our everyday freedoms. Apart from being a gift, this is also a responsibility to invest our freedom into something bigger than ourselves. There are many things we can do to fight trafficking: inform ourselves, talk to others, know what to do before going abroad, using social media to raise awareness, volunteering in our communities to help vulnerable groups, and raising funds for victim shelters.
For the last door we invited participants to come up and write what freedom meant to them and post it on the door. We had some really interesting comments such as: Freedom means…”access to the basic decencies that any human deserves, and the opportunity to achieve the things one dreams for”; “to travel wherever I want, whenever I want”; “to do anything I want with a lot of passion”; “love”; “to live the life I want, not the life that others want for me”; “having a choice”; “to live, love and laugh”; “to do what I want without being manipulated or influenced by others”.
Overall, the event was a great success. Many interesting conversations were started about human trafficking, a lot of people signed up to be Freedom Fighters, many flyers and stickers were shared, people were excited and impressed with the interesting and creative concept, and Adpare received donations for their incredible work helping victims of human trafficking.
Special thanks to all those who came out to support us and all of our volunteers!
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