I hesitate to post this here because it might be a compelling piece of fiction or even a clever hoax. A quick search of the internet finds no credible source that has confirmed this as true nor uncovered it as fake.
However, IF this is true, it is an amazing example of how a few concerned citizens and the internet can help vulnerable women escape a potentially dangerous situation in a foreign country.
My friend and former student K arrived in DC yesterday, along with a friend. She came over on some kind of travel exchange program put together by a Russian travel agency called ‘Aloha’. They paid about 3K for this program.
The program promised a job offer in advance, but didn’t deliver. They said they would send one via email, but failed there, too.
Her contact in the USA barely speaks English, doesn’t answer her calls but does answer mine. He has asked her and her friend to meet in NYC tonight around midnight, with promises of hostess work in a lounge. Yes, I know how horrific that sounds- that’s why I am working all possible angles here.
What follows is a long conversation where various strangers furiously try to keep these two women safe using various angles and resources. Even if it turns out to be completely fictitious, I think it is an interesting dramatization of Kristoff & WuDunn’s point that rescuing women from slavery is usually easier said than done.