Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2017


Over a century after the majority of the globe has abolished slavery, scholars, human rights agencies, and national governments generally agree that there remains about twenty-seven million slaves in the world, with modern slavery taking a contemporary form in human trafficking (“11 Facts About Human Trafficking”). This thesis will focus specifically on sex trafficking, or the exploitation of primarily women and girls through coercion, force, or fraud to engage in sexual acts for the profit of the trafficker. More precisely, this text will concentrate on the underlying causes of sex trafficking in Eastern Europe, particularly in the post-Soviet state of Moldova, where many young girls fall victim to this crime. Research will be conducted in terms of how the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the ensuing Western economic reforms in Moldova worsened poverty, how patriarchal structures contribute to high rates of domestic violence, and how corruption in the financially unstable government of Moldova all tie in together as leading causes of sex trafficking in the region. This thesis will provide a general and relatively recent history of Moldova in order to equip the reader with applicable background information before embarking on a deeper analysis. Discussion of Moldova’s government will include discussions on the possibility of internal corruption, as well as the causes of such, and any legal actions taken to combat the issue of global sex trafficking. Societal characteristics, such as access to education, lucrative careers, and financial progress, will be analyzed through a feminist lens, which explains the systemic oppression and standardized inequality that maintain a lack of opportunity for individuals in the country.