The Search for a Better Life and Desire to Travel
last updated September 1, 2005

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, travel, study and work abroad became possible for women living in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. A desire to travel, combined with poverty and other factors, compel many women to look abroad in search of better lives. Many women attempt to explore the world through employment agencies or study abroad programs, without knowing whether the agencies are legitimate. While it is possible in some countries to verify the legitimacy of an educational or employment agency, often through hotline services, non-governmental organizations have determined that there is still a need for basic information about safe employment or travel opportunities.



Understanding that women have equal rights to travel where they wish, some advocacy organizations have developed guidelines to assist women who have decided to travel in search of new opportunities. For example, a set of guidelines, Things to Think About for Women and Girls Who Decide to Work Abroad, were designed by La Strada, Bulgaria to help women and girls protect themselves and remain safe when they leave their home country. The U.S. government has also created a brochure titled, Be Smart, Be Safe, which includes information for women on how they can protect themselves when they travel to and work in the U.S. The brochure is available at 27 U.S. embassies in 24 different languages. A sample of the Be Smart, Be Safe brochure in Georgian can be accessed from the website of WomenAid International, an NGO based in the United Kingdom, with offices in the Caucuses.

Additionally, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Sida, the Swedish agency for international development work, have created a joint Information Campaign against Trafficking in Women in the Baltics which includes an interactive section titled "Going to Work Abroad?" with advice, myths and realities and assistance resources.