Iana Matei: the woman who saves young girls from traffickers’ hands

There are people who make a difference in the world and then there is the amazing Iana Matei. Ms Matei is a Romanian psychologist who for 18 years has saved many young women from sex traffickers.

She has started taking this risky mission in 1998 where she had the chance of saving three young women. Matei was asked by the police if she could give some clothes to some prostitutes who were arrested. After talking to them she discovered that they were young girls who were beaten and forced to prostitute. The children protection did not want to help them because they “would set a bad example for the children” if they put them in an orphanage.

Matei has helped the girls and since then she opened several sex trafficking victims shelters. Matei has moved from Australia where she lived for 10 years so she could set up her first shelter in Pitesti, she rented also a flat to help the girls she saved.

For years she has helped 450 young girls through her non-profit called Reaching out Romania.  But Matei is not simply waiting for the girls to reach out to her, sometimes she risks her own life saving them directly from the traffickers. According to several sources, she said

It’s dangerous because anything can happen. But, on the other hand, the traffickers don’t expect you to challenge them. They know everyone is afraid of them, so they’re not vigilant. Whenever I kidnap one of their girls, they are in shock.


The girls usually end up in this situation because they are lured abroad with fake jobs and marriage. Once they are out of the country they are sold to gangs and forced to work in the streets.

Matei stated:

I don’t know if I am courageous, but I do know that I am angry,” Matei says. “I’m angry at the people who do this, who beat up a young girl, rape her and force her into prostitution so she’ll be traumatized for life. And I’m angry at society for turning a blind eye. It’s so unjust”.



Ms Matei has even adopted two children who were born to a victim of trafficking. The woman abandoned them and she decided to become their mother. Ms. Matei says the government is not very helpful to victims as their shelters only provide housing for 10 days, while her shelter offers accommodation for a whole year. She says women need a place to stay and support as they are traumatized and they can no longer fit in the society.


source- New York Times








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