This is the ninth in a series of articles as part of the WorldCraftssm Set1Free campaign. This campaign highlights WorldCrafts artisan groups working to end sexual exploitation and human trafficking among the world’s poor.

Human trafficking—defined as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit a person for profit—has become a major criminal problem in Moldova, a small country of 4 million people sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine.

      The dire economic situation of Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, has driven many to essentially abandon their families and seek employment outside the country. Sadly, these desperate men and women are often lured in and exploited by unscrupulous criminals who force them into various forms of modern slavery. Moldovan men are being trafficked as manual laborers, women and girls are being trafficked as prostitutes, and children are being trafficked for forced labor and begging. Thousands of victims have been transported to the Middle East, Western Europe, and other parts of Eastern Europe, including Russia, as well as within their own country.

      Nonetheless, God is at work in Moldova through Second Chance and WorldCrafts. Veronica is a testimony to that. She was without work for four years and didn’t know what to do. She began considering job possibilities in other European countries, a path that had she continued down would have likely ended in her being recruited to fill a “fake” job—ultimately leading to a slavelike existence as a trafficked prostitute. However, because she found the ministry of Second Chance and WorldCrafts, Veronica now has a steady income to help support her family and is growing in her Christian faith. She is able to stay home with her husband and children in a country where most children not only raise themselves but are head of household around the age of seven or eight.

      Alla’s life has also been changed. She once sold herself to foreign travelers for sex in order to provide food for herself, her daughter, and her mother. Today she is an active Christian, fruit from Second Chance’s outreach.

      Women like Alla and Veronica continue to be touched by Second Chance and WorldCrafts as they learn of Christ and His Word, find a supportive network of friends who provide accountability, and earn much-needed income. Making crocheted items and creatively packaging Moldovan scarves for WorldCrafts allows them to stay together with their families. Not only are all the family members better shielded from human trafficking, the children are inspired to hope for the future as they see a viable way to earn a fair living in Moldova.

Your purchase of these handmade items from WorldCrafts allows Second Chance to provide loving support and a fair income to young women and their families at high risk of human trafficking. As WorldCrafts orders additional products from Second Chance in Moldova, this artisan group can help more women avoid sexual exploitation, providing them spiritual hope and a sustainable lifestyle.

      WorldCrafts is part of the Fair Trade Federation. Please check our Web site for more products and stories. For a free catalog, call 1-800-968-7301. Join us on Facebook! WorldCrafts is a division of WMU®.

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