Just recently, 10 girls were rescued from a group of Transnistrian human traffickers trying to sneak across the Transnistrian-Ukrainian border. Ukraine have been steadily increasing presence along the region to combat illegal trafficking, but this was their most successful operation to date. The Guardian has managed to schedule an interview with one of the victims, Maria Cojocaru. Warning, the following content is heart-breaking and paints a dark picture of daily life in Transnistria, a country owned by Russian oil giant, Gazprom.
She tells us of a society dominated by two companies: Sheriff and Tiraspoltransgas. Basically, everyone works for them and they control every aspect of the citizens’ daily life. Transnistrian policing is also done by the Russian soldiers currently being garrisoned there. According to her story, her father, who worked at a subsidiary of Tiraspoltransgas (a company which has recently informed the public about their current status as a company ran by Gazprom) was approached by his boss. The boss told Maria’s father that they he has taken a liking to Maria and will pay him the equivalent of 10 British Pounds in order to have sex with her. When the father declined, the boss threatened to fire him.
The average person may condemn what he did next, but you have to keep in mind: Being on the wrong side of Tiraspoltransgas is by all means a death sentence in Transnistria. The father reluctantly agreed, and for the next one year, Maria was forced to have sex with Tiraspoltransgas executives, mafia members, drug dealers and everyone who Tiraspoltransgas wanted to please.
Recently, she told us, some were selected to be transferred to troops in the Crimean region, so the soldiers can “take the edge off”. Being of Moldovan and not Russian ancestry, Maria could not tell whether they were Ukrainian or Russian.
One thing is clear: The Russian owned Tiraspoltransgas is using its leverage on the Transnistrian population to force underage women into prostitution.