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Sex Trafficking in Eastern Europe

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Human trafficking is "an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion, or other means for the purpose of exploiting them". Sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking with the purpose of using the person trafficked for sexual slavery. According to the International Organization of Migration, Belarus, due to its location, is a transit route for irregular migrants, including sex trafficking moving westward. IOM statistics show that 28,000 Belarusians fall victim to human trafficking each year. Human trafficking and prostitution is illegal in Belarus however laws in place to prevent citizens from entering the sex trade and protect victims are not enforced.

Belarusian law prohibits trafficking person for both sexual and labor exploitation, rape, molestation, prostitution, creation and running of brothels, and any violent act of sexual nature. Belarus's Criminal Code has broad regulations for illegal sexual offences. Through Article 181 of its Criminal Code, Belarusian law prohibits trafficking persons for sexual exploitation. Depending on aggravating circumstances, penalty ranges from two to 15 years' imprisonment along with forfeit of all assets. These penalties are in proportion with punishments for other serious crimes in Belarus, however punishment usually involves a warning or small fine. Although illegal, prostitution is present in the country, especially in and around major cities and hotels and is not considered a significant problem.

Due to the relaxed regulation of human rights in Belarus and other Easter European nations the United Nations on Drug and Crime have implemented anti-trafficking practices and increase local expertise to prevent human trafficking and prosecute perpetrators. The UNODC facilitates community based awareness activities and distributing literature to educate vulnerable individuals in susceptible communities and conflict zones. Along with community awareness, the UNODC also works to strengthen the criminal justice system of the vulnerable country to eliminate the impunity present in many countries which is a vital and effective mechanism in country that harbors the sex trade.

In 2000 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Woman and Children. This was designed with in intentions to strengthen the international community's commitment to ending sex trafficking. The protocol was signed by 110 member states including Belarus; however it has remained relatively ineffective. Very few criminals are caught and when they are conviction rates are low. Even more disturbing is the fact that most victims are never identified, found, or helped.

Belarus's opinion of what should be done is much different from what actually is done to prevent



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