Trafficking in People: Evil Trade

Opportunities too good to miss beckon in newly accessible nations: an attractive prospect for many, especially from former Soviet states. But there can be a catch: criminal gangs have discovered there is more money to be made in trading people than drugs.

The World Today Published 1 August 2004 Updated 19 October 2020 5 minute READ

Mary Buckley

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge

Changes in Europe and Russia since the collapse of communism have altered people’s horizons and expectations, as well as patterns of mobility for capital and labour. Greater opportunities for investment, new jobs in other countries and more permeable borders are among the consequences of political and socio-economic change. Just as euphoria in Germany greeted the collapse of the Berlin wall, so this year fireworks celebrated wider membership of the European Union.

From Estonia to Slovakia, hopeful citizens eyed job advertisements in Britain and elsewhere. Migration in search of employment, better prospects, a higher standard of living and security is not a new phenomenon. Patterns of movement have always been shaped by factors such as conflict, war, famine, unemployment or the quest for a better life.

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