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Supplying women for the sex industry: trafficking from the Russian Federation


Hughes, Donna M. (2005). Supplying women for the sex industry: trafficking from the Russian Federation.. Ċ tulhofer, Alexander & Sandfort, Theo (Eds.) (pp. 209-230). Haworth Press.


The Russian Federation is a major sending country for women trafficked into sex industries around the world. Russian women are known to be in sex industries in over 50 different countries (Global Survival Network, 1997). The number of women who have become victims of this criminal trade is unknown, but are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands (International Organization for Migration [IOM], 2001). Women are recruited from sending countries, such as Russia, by various means, but upon reaching the destination country, they find that the promised job or circumstances is really prostitution under brutal and exploitative circumstances. The traffickers and pimps control women by confiscating their travel documents, battering, rape, threats to harm them or family members, and debt bondage (Hughes, 2000). Trafficking is an activity of Russian organized crime groups and their partners that operate prostitution and trafficking rings throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America (Global Organized Crime Project, 2000, p. 42). Corruption of officials through bribes and even collaboration of officials in criminal networks enables traffickers to operate locally and transnationally. Trafficking women for the sex industry is a supply and demand trade, in which countries with large sex industries create the demand, and countries where women and girls are easily recruited provide the supply. There are a number of conditions that facilitate the recruitment of women. Traffickers target regions and countries where conditions enable recruitment. This paper will focus on the conditions in Russia that facilitate the recruitment and trafficking of women and girls. They are: economic collapse and unemployment, the criminalization of the state and economy, increased organized crime, violence against women, and the promotion of western glamour in the media. These factors will be examined for how they have contributed to 100,000s of women becoming commodities for foreign sex industries.

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Hughes, Donna M.