Community House Damaris

written by Hester Roos and Evie Stathelou-Markus

Sex trafficking is a devastating problem with around 5 million victims worldwide. Numerous reasons can cause women to be captured into sex trade, like abuse and negligence in childhood or puberty or being sold by your own family, in an attempt to escape poverty. Greece’s geographical location makes the country an entry into the EU and this has attracted criminal networks who are engaged in trafficking. Despite anti-trafficking initiatives and laws, no improvement in the situation can be seen.Trafficking and exploitation have a direct and traumatic effect on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of victims.

Fight against the sex trade

OM is partnering with a local organisation, Community House Damaris, that provides long-term recovery programs to guide women who were exploited or trafficked, into full rehabilitation and re-integration into society. The programme offers treatment of past abuse and healing of traumas, therapy against addictions and then focuses on skill development, vocational art/ art learning and entry into a workplace environment or school re-entry. 

Rolina’s dream

Two members of our team are part of the daily program of House Damaris and teach, translate and give support. One of them is teaching two subjects and act as translator for another one. She shares with us the story of Rolina*: “Rolina is in her thirties, but never had the chance to go to school. From a very young age her own parents sold her and from then she was constantly abused. She didn’t know that there are more parts in our internal body than the heart and the stomach. She couldn’t count to more than 100. She cannot read or write, but she likes to listen to Christian songs. Her behaviour is an example of humbleness and respect to all of us. Her words were: ‘I know I am not as smart as the other girls, but I believe that God brought me here and my life will change’. Rolina’s dream is to learn how to read and write so she can communicate with other people and be able to help them as well.”

*name changed

Willemstad, Curacao :: Female crewmembers talk to a sex worker on the street.