Her Story

Iana Matei fights to free victims of the human sex slave industry. 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.”

Book: I Kidnap Girls: Stealing from traffickers, restoring their victims.

by Pam Ravan Pyne with Iana Matei

Iana often says her most dangerous weapon is her big mouth. She began opening her mouth against trafficking and forced prostitution in 1998, when three girls captured her heart. Their stories left her wide-eyed. Although she is considered an expert on facts and figures involving trafficking in the Balkans (the US government and the UN Office On Drugs And Crime collaborate with her for data) it’s Iana’s passion and compassion that cause her to speak out in ways that will be heard.

Designated by Readers Digest as 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. So far, Iana has aided over 400 victims of forced prostitution as they regained possession of their own lives.

Iana speaks out in ways that anyone can understand. If she is talking with a “pimp ambassador,” attempting to gain entrance into the girl’s safe house, she “communicates” what needs to be “communicated” and somehow she sends him away whining. Iana uses her giftedness to get her message across, and people listen.

Iana speaks to churches and civic groups, and anyone else she’s put in front of. If she doesn’t make it to heaven, I’m sure the devil doesn’t possess enough patience to keep her. He’ll toss her out so hard she’ll probably land at St. Peter’s feet, right near the Pearly Gates.

Watch this video to get a good glimpse of Iana’s work. You may also visit the Media page to find more articles and videos about Iana’s heroic efforts to end the sex-slave trade.