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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fact: Many Trafficked Women from Eastern Europe Have at least a High School Education

It is a common practice for many activists to promote access to education as the one certain way to pull vulnerable groups -such as women and young girls- from the constraints of repressive environments.  Education serves as an empowerment mechanism and provides needed skills and knowledge to climb out of poverty, suffering and inequality.However, it could only be effective if enough employment opportunities exist for the educated population to take advantage of.

As surprising as it might be for many, a large number of trafficked women from former socialist states in Eastern Europe have at least a high school education, and many even have college and university degrees or some kind of vocational training. Lack of education is not what makes them vulnerable; what increases the likelihood they will be exposed to the tactics of opportunistic traffickers are the economic decline and the high unemployment rate that have plagued their native countries following the break up of the Soviet Union. Unable to find channels for the acquired education and skills, many, especially women, make the difficult decision to leave family and friends behind to search salvation in foreign nations. Often, these women are aware of the risks associated with responding to various job advertisements promising easy money, but with no other options, they fall into the trap set by an elaborate system of recruiters and traffickers.  

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