Push factors that impact human trafficking from Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Research Paper (postgraduate) 2020 11 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Topic: Public International Law and Human Rights



Human trafficking is a global problem which was denounced by the international community as human rights abuse and determined to be as a modern form of a slavery. This article studies the push factors of human trafficking victims from Eastern Europe and Central Asia during the period of 2014 – 2017. The study provides a literature review, a regression analysis of variables that robustly explains trafficking such as income level due to the fact that people undertake risky migration, so they want to change their life for better.

Key words: human trafficking, regression analysis, gender discrimination, income level, crime prevalence, Eastern Europe, Central Asia


Human trafficking as a global and regional issue of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Human trafficking is defined “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of sexual or labor exploitation” (United Nations, 2000). There were 40 million of people trafficked worldwide by ILO metrics in 2016, which is 6 adult victims of slavery for every 1000 adults and 4 child victims for every 1000 children in the world. 71% of human trafficked victims are women who have been exploited for sex jobs and forced marriages, 25% are children who have been used for organ donors and forced labor; and the rest is men who have been exploited for labor (ILO, 2016). By metrics of ILO and Europol 2009, a human trafficker/criminal make $32 billion per year in their networks. Human trafficking, drugs and weapons are the most profitable among all illegal fields (Crookham, 2004)

Human trafficking is a global problem, but there are some regions where human trafficking is on a higher level than in the others, specifically countries in Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union (USSR) and South East Asia. Nations from these regions are the most frequently reported countries of origin for victims of human trafficking (UNODC, 2006). The Eastern European and Former Soviet Union regions are the most frequently mentioned regions of origin for human trafficking victims (UNODC, 2006). Victims-migrants from those sensitive regions in Eastern Europe are Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Former USSR countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan (Crookham, 2004). It is assumed that the reason of high human violence in these regions is related to the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 which had led to a poverty, government instability, regional civil wars, genocide and a huge number of refugees (Malarek, 2003).

Literature review

The question of our study is what are the driving factors which lead to human trafficking in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It’s challenging to investigate human trafficking due to the lack of reliable data. Human trafficking is illegal migration and forced labor in practice, a criminal activity, the true magnitude of the problem is still unknown. In fact, at present, there is no internationally comparable official statistics capturing the magnitude of human trafficking. The United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UNCTS) provide police statistics on the reported number of human trafficking cases for the period of 2005–2008, covering a maximum of 80 countries. (UNCTS, 2008)

M. Crookham research study shows that a level of governance necessary to effectively deal with such a complex, multidimensional issue. The nations with higher levels of governance implement better measures of anti-trafficking than nations with lower levels of governance. Nations with higher levels of governance are more likely to cooperate with the international community in the effort to combat human trafficking than nations with lower levels of governance. (Crookham, 2004). Governance as explained by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is “the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences” (UNDP, 1997).

Another author S. Cho hypothesis that the level of human trafficking in the targeted region depends on crime level, income and gender discrimination which are determined to be as a set of robust push and pull factors. She recommends that policy makers can’t determine human trafficking as a side effect of migration only but urges them to adopt criminal justice and crime prevention measure against human trafficking. The robust impact of income level in countries of origin indicates that human trafficking is related to economic migration. Also, a high level of gender inequality and underdevelopment lead to increasing numbers of trafficked victims. (Cho, 2015)

R. White examines a regression analysis of variables that confirm that corruption, low income level are common factors of human trafficking in the targeted region. His analysis suggests that reducing corruption and increasing GDP per capita should be the first and most effective way to reduce trafficking. (White, 2013)

After reviewing a literature in the field of human trafficking in Eastern Europe and Central Asia I came up with observation that there is a lack of data for the targeted region. So, I selected 3 studies that been discussed above and identified a dependent variable such as income (measured by GDP per capita) in period of 2014 – 2017. As an independent variable I would choose Russian Federation among Eastern European countries and Kazakhstan among Central Asian countries in order to identify the data differences between two regions with the similar historical past and government structure. Also, the report of trafficked humans by UNODC confirms that Kazakhstan and Russia are mainly destination countries. The latter attracts victims from other Eastern European countries. Kazakhstan is a destination for victims trafficked from other Central Asian countries (UNODC, 2018). There are also other factors making people more vulnerable to human trafficking but in my perspective the level of income in Kazakhstan and Russia shows the level of poverty and instability. Low income motivates people to undertake risky migration, so they want to change their life for better. One of the most popular methods of recruitment is for parents of young girls and young women themselves to fall victim to an enticing advertisement for restaurant or retail work, often abroad (HumanTrafficking.Org 2006). These advertisements promise greater earning potential than the victims are able to achieve in their own country and thus are highly attractive.



ISBN (eBook)
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Institution / College
City University of New York City College – CCNY
quantative methods economics international economics human trafficking central asia eastern europe regression analysis gender discrimination income level crime prevalence



Title: Push factors that impact human trafficking from Eastern Europe and Central Asia