Human Trafficking in Europe

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The Sex Trade of Eastern Europe

“VELESTA, Macedonia - Olga winced as she drew back the bandage on her right breast, revealing an infected puncture wound that hadn’t healed since a man bit her in a fit of sexual rage. But the wound, for which the 19-year-old Moldovan lacked even basic medicine, is only a small part of Olga’s daily agony. For more than a year she has been held as a sex slave in this town in western Macedonia, where human trafficking flourishes and young girls are forced to endure the sexual whims of thousands of men.” This story, unfortunately, is reality to roughly 200,000 women and children from Eastern Europe. Sex trafficking simultaneously exploits both the best and the worst aspects of globalization- the champions of globalization flaunt the growing ease of conducting business across national borders. It is due to sophisticated communication tools and relaxed banking laws that it is now possible to exchange assets internationally with ease. Virtual enterprises can operate everywhere and nowhere, making themselves known only when and where they choose. “Generating around 32 billion dollars annually, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity of today.” While the governments of the troubled countries as well as the European Union make laws and regulations, the perpetrators become smarter; little progress gets made in solving this problem. At the center of human trafficking is the sex trade. The growing sex trade, which is more than visible in most of Europe, plays on the notion of growth in the “world sex-market”. This market is made possible by the globalization of consumer capitalism in which commercial sex plays a big role. There are three sides to the issue: the victims, the perpetrators, and the governments, law makers, and groups who are trying to stop the epidemic. Together, over time, these people have built a crime market that is becoming harder to break. Women are being smuggled under the false pretense of a better life. Perpetrators have made a powerful market which works under transnational groups who have become masters at instilling fear in young women. And countries’ governments have made regulations and laws that often hurt the victims, are not successful, or they are working in conjunction with the traffickers. The problem to be solved does not lie in just one group, but it is due to the actions of all three. It is important to see the dynamics of each group in order to understand just how powerful the sex trade is in Eastern Europe. The Woman’s Role

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the Cold War, international borders are easier to cross than at any other time in world history. Also, there has been an increase in worldwide poverty, which has left women to seek the means of economic survival for themselves and their families. It is out of this dilemma that a sense of desperation comes that makes Eastern European women susceptible to the trickery of traffickers. This has caused such an affect that women and underage girls now constitute 90 percent of Eastern and South Eastern European people trafficked into the western parts of the continent. And even though women are knowingly aware of the dangers and prominence of sex trafficking, they continue to be swayed by lies of better lives and economic success the traffickers use. This refusal to acknowledge and actively weigh the dangers of too- good- to- be- true offers from the West is the victims’ greatest contribution to the problem of sex trafficking. Case studies on girls from the 1990’s and at the present time show women’s reasoning for coming over and falling victim to trafficking include economic, cultural and social-psychological “push” factors. These push factors tend to be coming from a country of low employment and pay rates, frustration at the suppression of women in their countries (often Eastern European women read Western literature which shows women in power, thriving), and also they face...
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