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“I kidnap girls from their traffickers. Their pimps never know it until the girls are in the car with me, speeding toward the safe house.” Iana Matei did not always do such things. In fact, Matei, a once battered, imprisoned woman, had spent 10 years carefully constructing a better life halfway around the world. This life was interrupted by a single phone call that would eventually lead to the rescue of over 400 victims of forced prostitution. Iana Matei has achieved notoriety in the international community for her fight against human trafficking in eastern Europe – including the Reader’s Digest European of the Year award in 2010. However, her solutions are local: teaching rescued children vocational skills and developing projects with sustainable jobs. Thus depriving traffickers of one of their most valuable tools: the false promise of work abroad. Author Pamela Ravan-Pyne shares a fictionalized biographical account of Iana Matei’s initiation into the world of human trafficking. The three girls profiled in I Kidnap Girls – Tara, Louisa and Nicoletta – are composites of real-life experiences from the rescued victims. A portion of the sale of each book helps to fund the work of Iana Matei’s non-profit, Reaching Out Romania.
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Pamela Ravan-Pyne, author of Sock Hunting And Other Pursuits, The Working Mother and various magazine articles, lived and worked in Romania from 1993-2001, where she managed the Lydia magazine office in Bucharest, and worked with a humanitarian foundation serving abandoned children. It was there that she became exposed to the underworld of child prostitution and witnessed the role Iana Matei played in bringing down some of the most notorious sellers of minor aged girls in Eastern Europe. Pam currently lives in Milwaukie, Oregon where she continues to write. She also has three grown children living in different parts of the country who provide her wonderful places to visit. Iana Matei, is a Romanian activist who founded Reaching Out Romania, a safe house for victims of forced Prostitution Whether speaking to the US State Department, the European Commission on Trafficking, The United Nations Human Development Global Forum, or to one abused, frightened girl, Iana brings the same convincing message: “Trafficking is not OK and it’s up to us to do something about it.” Designated by Reader’s Digest European Of The Year 2010, awarded the Abolitionist Award by the House of Lords in 2007 and declared a hero by the US State Department in 2006, these are not the rewards Iana prizes. The one she does prize is when a girl reclaims her personhood and her self-respect. Iana continues her work to this day where she lives in Romania with her son and two adopted daughters.
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