Georgia Contends With Problem of Trafficking of Women
Wednesday, March 8, 2006 11:40 AM

According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 500 Georgian women are victim to trafficking every year. However, officials say that this number is an estimate and that cases that come to the attention of the police are merely the tip of the iceberg. An increase in trafficking activity within Georgia is only expected to increase in the near future given the country's widespread poverty and high unemployment rates, as most trafficking victims are young, poor, and female. An IOM trafficking hotline operator commented that every case she'd heard in the past months involved the search for a job abroad.

While Georgian anti-trafficking activists report a new determination to tackle the issue, bureaucratic issues and legal and bureaucratic barriers preventing victims from coming forward are hindering the government's response. Specifically, the inability to access information from Turkey, the neighboring country to which many women are trafficked, hampers efforts to prosecute trafficking offenders. Victims' fear of  police and bureaucratic obstacles pulls trafficking rings further underground. Some country experts believe Georgian police could be more proactive in addressing trafficking issues; instead of relying on victims to come forward, experts say police should take initiative and actively investigate situations themselves. Finally, activists and experts advocate for the government to address the root problem behind trafficking: the lack of employment in Georgia and the resulting poverty. 


Compiled from: Molly Corso, Human Trafficking Takes Toll on, 3 March 2006.