Since the fall of the Soviet Union, trafficking in women has become an increasing problem across Europe. Due to an ever-higher demand for women within sex industries, criminal networks have organized to recruit, buy, sell and enslave women from places such as the Ukraine and other former Soviet states. These women are then used in brothels, massage parlors, bars on stretches of streets as prostitutes, a modern form of enslavement.
Trafficking in women has become an extremely lucrative market for those criminal networks that facilitate the trade. Local communities from which the trafficked women come, have not fared as well. Organized crime networks have grown to such an extent that they now pose treats to the wellbeing of citizens of such communities and to the legal economic, social and political institutions therein.
The legalization of prostitution is sometimes offered up as a possible remedy to the problem of trafficking. However, certain evidence points to the possibility that legalization would simply exacerbate the phenomenon. Instead, legal remedies that address the demand side as well as supply side, such as those found within national legislation in Sweden and at the UN level provide more viable solutions.
Compiled from: "Shadow Market of Trafficking in Women," News from Europe, The Network of East-West Women, Polska/NEWW, www.neww.org, 7 February 2005.