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Human Trafficking and Globalization

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of China, the world has experienced one of the greatest – and quite possibly the greatest – migrations of people in history. Millions are migrating worldwide, some out of choice and some out of dire necessity. The numbers are staggering:

  • The International Labor Organization estimates that in 1995 there were 89 to 97 million international migrants (including families).
  • China alone has almost as many internal migrants as there are people in the United States.
  • Experts have estimated that one-third of the population of Moldova has migrated out of the country.
  • Organized crime is now trafficking literally thousands of these migrants into slavery, forced labor and servitude all across the globe. They are now even trafficking whole families as they continue to devise new ways to extract wealth from forced labor.

At the end of the Cold War, the struggling economies of the former Soviet Union and China revealed overnight the absolute failures of their socialist governments to provide real jobs. No longer was it feasible for factories to employ five or eight workers to do a job that realistically only required one worker putting in a full eight-hour day. Many excess workers suddenly found themselves without jobs, homes, pensions, medical care, education or any of the other benefits they had come to rely upon in the preceding 50 years.

China tried to control migration by treating rural migrants in the cities as foreigners without rights, while the countries of the former Soviet Union simply did nothing to address the issue. Migrants ended up living on the streets or in overcrowded conditions.

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