As a 15-year-old Romanian girl in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, I was looking for work.
But as my friend and I left our apartments, a stranger in a green SUV pulled up in front of us.
He said: “I’m an escort.
I’ll take you to the black market in Munich.”
I told him I didn’t have the money.
I could only go with him to the underground market.
I was shocked.
I had to leave.
I felt abandoned.
A few days later, a police officer in the district arrested me.
After three years, I am finally free.
I wanted to give the impression that I had gone through a difficult experience.
But the reality was more complicated.
In 2014, my friend had been taken to the police station for questioning after an incident in the Kreuzbek area of Berlin.
A police officer asked me to explain why I had left my apartment.
I said I had been approached by a stranger.
When I asked him if he was going to take me to the market, he responded: “Yes.”
The officer said he had already taken me to a hotel.
I was terrified.
But I didn, so I pretended to be scared.
When the officer left, I went to the train station.
When my friend arrived, I asked for a taxi.
When he came back with me, he was in tears.
The police officer was lying on the ground, having his eyes gouged out.
He was bleeding from his head and nose.
He couldn’t speak English, and was very upset.
The officer told me: “You’ve done nothing wrong.
This is how you get into trouble.”
I asked: “How?”
He said, “I was taken by a man.
I’m not sure who it was.
I can’t explain it.”
I explained that I hadn’t gone to the club with him, and that the two men had met up in the underground markets and had been going to buy drugs.
He told me I should not blame myself for my actions.
I explained to him that I was just doing what I thought was right.
Then he gave me a card to sign.
The officer looked at me and smiled.
He asked me if I had told him the truth.
I have since learned that in the dark of night, the man who took me to Munich for the job took me into the black-market.
The police officer had asked me, at the time, to take him to a nearby club where he would have sex with me.
But when I left the club, the police officer didn’t know who had taken me there.
The man then took me back to my apartment and gave me another card, telling me to call the police when he came to check on me.
After that, I had no contact with him for about a month.
When police officers approached my apartment, they were shocked.
After asking me to sign a false document, I started crying.
But after a while, the officers didn’t care.
When they asked me what had happened, I told them I was beaten up and had no memory of what happened.
They took me away for questioning and later arrested me for not giving the police my real name.
I started to lose hope that I would be able to get justice.
I went back to Romania, hoping that it would help me, but my family was already dead.
When I returned to Romania to visit my mother, she told me she had seen my case on television.
I decided to take my story to the media.
I made a documentary on my experience and made an online appeal to the German public.
Then, I reached out to the European Union, the United Nations and other international organizations.
I received an overwhelming response.
The media reported that I won’t have to worry about the police anymore.
In some cases, the people who had robbed me said they would give me money.
The German authorities had to respond.
A spokesman for the Berlin police department said that, after the man was arrested, he had no criminal record, and had to be released.
The prosecutor’s office said he was a “very dangerous person.”
The police officers had no choice but to arrest me for the same reason.
I needed to go to prison, he told me.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I never thought I would end up in this position.
I knew I had made a mistake and that I should have stayed in Romania and not tried to get into the German police.
But what I did next is something that nobody would ever have imagined.
The night of the robbery, I woke up at 2 a.m. and took a taxi to Munich.
The driver was a young man, with brown hair and glasses.
He introduced himself as Johannes, a friend of my friend’s boyfriend.
Johannes was not German.
I asked Johannes if he could take me and the young man took me on a tour of the black markets.