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Item #: 105344
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Cyprus Safe Haven
In the bustling ports and busy streets of an island tourist haven, traffickers lie in wait for frightened and desperate young women. Lured from surrounding countries by deceptive promises of jobs or sent by hopeful parents to find a better life, these young women now find themselves easy prey in an open hunting ground. Girls are sold from orphanages and frightened young women are hawked on the streets to tourists, while police work hand-in-hand with organized crime and the government turns a blind eye. Yet in the midst of this bleak situation, on a street lined with brothels, one small building sits as a beacon of hope. Inside, warmth and light shut out the darkness as rescued girls find a safe haven and receive the care they need to begin healing. As they fashion beaded jewelry and corded bracelets, they learn valuable skills that will empower them to begin their lives anew. Breaking the bonds of the surrounding darkness, they use colorful new cords to weave bright futures full of hope and promise.
Sold by her father as collateral for a TV, seven-year-old Elena thought she was going to be a housemaid. Instead, her innocence was shattered by abusive men. She returned home a few years later and began to thrive in school, only to be sold once again. Feisty and intelligent, she managed to survive on her own as a young woman—until an overseas job offer fed her back into the dark world of trafficking. She was held captive for nearly a year before escaping, eventually winding up at Cyprus Safe Haven. In this nurturing environment, Elena has begun to rebuild her life. After quickly learning the basics of sewing and jewelry-making, she began teaching other girls and soon found herself in charge of quality control. She takes joy in this responsibility, knowing that sales help sustain the program and bring more girls to safety. She hopes to someday use her skills and knowledge to design clothes, perhaps running her own business. Freed from the dark shadows of her past, Elena looks forward to a future of hope and opportunity.