The Victimization of Women Through Human Trafficking - An Aftermath of War?


Rathgeber, Corene. 2002. "The Victimization of Women Through Human Trafficking - An Aftermath of War?" European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law, and Criminal Justice 10 (2-3): 152-63.

Author: Corene Rathgeber


This paper investigates the trafficking of women and girls in a post-conflict society, specifically Bosnia and Herzegovina, from a victimological perspective. The trafficking of women and children into Bosnia and Herzegovina for sexual purposes is a highly profitable business for organized crime syndicates. The United Nations estimates that four million people a year are trafficked, resulting in over seven billion dollars profit for criminal groups. Unlike the trafficking of drugs or arms, there is no overhead, women are coerced or kidnapped and then sold for a high profit. These women are deprived of their most basic human rights, and are in this situation trying to improve their lives. In Bosnia and Herzegovina women are trafficked from South-Eastern Europe, but the reasons these women are trafficked are the same globally. Women are trafficked because of the world-wide feminization of poverty, the unequal rights and access to formal labour, and the restricted abilities to gain power over their own lives in their home countries. The trafficking of women and children to and through Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue if only band-aid solutions are applied to the problem. Not only does the local government need to take responsibility for this issue, but also there needs to be education and awareness at all levels. 

Keywords: post-conflict, women's rights, sex trafficking


This paper looks at the trafficking of women and girls in post-conflict societies, specifically Bosnia and Herzegovina. The author takes a victim-centered view of the issue, discussing the increase in organized crime that flourishes in conflict areas, counter-trafficking activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the country specific conditions that fuel trafficking in these areas. Rathgeber concludes by examining the legislation and government response to the issue, and calls for more support and assistance for the victims of trafficking.

Topics: Gender, Women, Girls, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2002

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