Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Moldova: Low Prices Increase Demand for Trafficking Victims

62% of Moldova's population lives below the poverty level

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA -- Two American TV crews have investigated Moldova's growing sex slave trade. In Chisinau, human traffickers now charge as little as $500 for delivering a child prostitute into a life of white slavery abroad. These record low prices are driving up demand, and exports are booming.

Last year, Moldova's best known legitimate export - cheap wine - was blocked from its main market and exports nearly cut in half. Exports of fruit and meat also suffered. But one category increased: The export of human flesh, in the form of Moldovan girls sold into sex slavery abroad. Many never return.

Two American TV crews have investigated this modern slave trade. The first, a team from PBS Frontline, went undercover and pretended to be Western buyers of prostitutes. They were quoted prices between $500 and $600 per girl.

A second report aired on ABC News this weekend, putting the spotlight on a problem which is improving in Pridnestrovie but becoming worse all the time in Moldova. CIA, in unclassified material, describes Moldova as a country with widespread crime and underground economic activity. Moldova is the center of the slave trade of the 21st century. As Europe's leader in human trafficking, people - many of them underage - are today the country's main illegal export.


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