Trafficking Women after Socialism: To, Through, and From Eastern Europe


Kligman, Gail, and Stephanie Limoncelli. 2005. “Trafficking Women after Socialism: To, Through, and From Eastern Europe.” Social Politics 12 (1): 118–40.

Authors: Gail Kligman, Stephanie Limoncelli


Furthermore, as the epigraphs attest, the methods used to traffic women have stood the test of time; traffickers still use variants of them today. Then, as now, some used marriage or promises of marriage to recruit women and girls; others assured them of domestic service or entertainment work abroad. Still others enticed women already engaged in prostitution, who then willingly left for foreign brothels. Whatever the particularities of the recruitment method, there has been no shortage of persons ready to benefit from the availability of women and girls once they have agreed to the proposed arrangements for their transit: from procurers who have sold them, to pimps who take portions of their earnings, to brothel madams who have kept them in debt bondage, to local policemen who have had financial and other interests in keeping the brothel system alive and well. In this article, we examine the traffic in women to, through, and from post-socialist Eastern Europe. We first discuss the complex interrelations between trafficking, prostitution, and labor migration, as well as the relationship between gendered economic transitions in Eastern Europe, the traffic, and the global sex trade. We then review contemporary trafficking routes to, through, and from eastern Europe, noting the significance of militarization, poverty, and gender. We close by outlining key issues in the development of strategies to combat trafficking and suggest the need to more critically refine its conceptualization.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Europe, Eastern Europe

Year: 2005

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