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Growing sex traficking problem
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Saturday, 20 July 2002
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A new International Organisation for Migration (IOM) study on the extent of trafficking in human beings in the Russian Federation confirms that it is a growing problem, and one, which is misunderstood, barely acknowledged, and easily tolerated. The report also states that as trafficking in women is a multibillion-dollar industry, it has become a key source of revenue for Russian organised crime groups. The trafficking of women from the Russian Federation occurs on a global scale. Russian women have been trafficked to 40-50 countries around the world—Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East—and within Russia. No one really knows how many women and children are trafficked for sexual exploitation from the Russian Federation.

But the US State Department estimates that in 1997, more than 100,000 women were trafficked from the former Soviet Union. From Russia alone, it is estimated to be in the tens-of-thousands and as high as the hundreds-of-thousands.

The Russian Federation is not only a sending country, it is also a transit and receiving country for women and children trafficked for the global sex trade. The report reveals many reasons why the trafficking business thrives in Russia, including great profits for the traffickers, corruption of officials and police at many levels, and the reluctance of lawmakers to intervene due in part to fear of reprisals by violent criminal syndicates.

The downturn in financial and economic conditions over the last decade throughout Russia and the former Soviet republics has given rise to more and more children and women who are too vulnerable, too uninformed, or too desperate to prevent themselves from falling prey to the sex industry.

Also for new groups of street children and orphans which did not exist in Russia ten years ago, they are recruited at an early age, virtually sold into slavery, and may never know another way of life. This is true for countless young Russian girls and boys, some as young as 12 years of age, who may later become a part of criminal syndicates themselves and perpetuate this phenomenon. In this way, more and more people without options are lured into sub-human and degrading conditions, often for the rest of their lives.

The report also affirms that although trafficking in women from Russia has been going on for at least a decade, with increasing severity, the Russian Government has taken little notice of the problem. There is no specific law against trafficking in women.

The report concludes that Russian agencies combating trafficking should be granted adequate resources to expand targeted prevention and information programs for both urban and rural areas and put in place victim assistance programs.

Source: Child Labour News Service
Website: http://www.childlabournews.info/
 
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