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You're reading: Women's groups battle sex slavery
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They work in massage parlors, strip bars and sex clubs from Israel to the Orient. Lured away from the boredom and poverty of small towns in Ukraine and Russia by promises of employment and a chance to travel abroad, they are duped or abducted by pimps and gangsters, often while law enforcement officials look the other way.

They are smuggled abroad; their passports are stolen. They are beaten, raped and forced to work as prostitutes to pay back 'travel expenses' incurred by their abductors and employers. They are terrified, easily cowed, and highly prized for their Slavic features by sex merchants and bordello owners. If they refuse to work or manage to escape, they are recaptured and punished, sometimes tortured and killed.

If it sounds like Thailand or the Philippines, it's no coincidence. Thanks to lax legislation, complacent enforcement agencies, rampant unemployment and a mafia given virtual free reign over half a hemisphere, Ukraine and Russia have become the new capitals of the booming global trade in sex slaves.

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