Main Menu
Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                        

Republic of Moldova

Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe despite recent progress from its small economic base. It enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco.

Economic reforms have been slow because of corruption and strong political forces backing government controls.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Moldova

Moldova is a source, and to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and men trafficked for forced labor. According to an ILO report, Moldova’s national Bureau of Statistics estimated that there were likely over 25,000 Moldovan victims of trafficking for forced labor in 2008.Moldovan women are trafficked primarily to Turkey, Russia, Cyprus, the UAE, and also to other Middle Eastern and Western European countries. Men are trafficked to work in the construction, agriculture, and service sectors of Russia and other countries. There have also been some cases of children trafficked for begging to neighboring countries. Girls and young women are trafficked within the country from rural areas to Chisinau, and there is evidence that men from neighboring countries are trafficked to Moldova for forced labor. The small breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova is outside the central government’s control and remained a source for trafficking in persons. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Moldova.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Free hotline w/in Moldova:
0 800 77777
Country code: 373-



NGOs urge Moldova and Pridnestrovie to work together in fight against sex slave trade

The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 11/Mar/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

TOP EXPORT: PROSTITUTES - In Moldova, the situation is much worse. Although formerly one of the most wealthy parts of the former Soviet Union, Moldova is today officially the poorest country in Europe. With nearly total unemployment, the registered daily income of 80% of the population is below a dollar per day. This fact can explain why desperate people sell their organs for money and sex trafficking is rampant. Moldovan prostitutes are now the country’s main export.

40% of Moldova's sex slaves are kids, and both the traffickers and the involved government officials know that children are highly sought after for the sex trade.

Government officials behind record rise in Moldova organ trade

Karen Ryan, The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 23/Feb/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

There are villages in the Southern region of Moldova where almost all the inhabitants sold organs in order to escape the extreme poverty they live in. The "commerce" goes on with the agreement of the Chisinau authorities, DPA reports.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Moldova should improve access to justice for victims of human trafficking

Council of Europe, Press Release, 3 December 2020

[accessed 4 December 2020]

Trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation has emerged as the main form of exploitation in the Republic of Moldova, accounting to 66% of all victims in 2019, followed by trafficking of sexual exploitation. According to official statistics, 1,496 persons were identified as victims of trafficking in the Republic of Moldova from 2015 to 2019. 47% of them were female and 21% were children. The main country of destination of Moldovan victims was the Russian Federation, followed by the Slovak Republic, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Turkey. One quarter of the victims was trafficked within the Republic of Moldova.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Moldova

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 17 June 2021]


Men and women were subjected to labor trafficking within the country and in other parts of Europe and the Middle East. Internal trafficking occurred in all regions of the country, focused mostly on farms and begging in larger towns. Internal trafficking for begging and labor exploitation, particularly in the agriculture and construction sectors, was steadily on the rise. Official complicity in trafficking continued to be a significant problem that the government attempted to curb by prosecuting those involved.


Parents who owned or worked on farms often sent children to work in fields or to find other employment. Children left behind by parents who had emigrated abroad also worked on farms. The vast majority of child laborers worked in family businesses or on family farms.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 3 May 2020]


Due to weak labor rights protection and enforcement by state authorities and trade unions, reports of exploitative practices in the workplace are common (long work hours, low wages, fully or partially undocumented work or wages). The rural population, women, and Roma are especially vulnerable to these practices. Regulations meant to prevent exploitative or unsafe working conditions remain poorly enforced.

Human trafficking remains a problem, although the authorities make some efforts to prosecute traffickers.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 19 April 2019]

[accessed 3 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 685]

Lack of information limits an assessment of the types of work that children perform and the sectors in which they work, including for the secessionist region of Transnistria. (1; 3; 8; 18; 13)

Both boys and girls are recruited for commercial sexual exploitation. (3; 4; 13; 5; 19) Traffickers recruited children as young as age 10 for prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. (5) Moldova is also a destination for child sex tourism. (3; 4; 8; 9; 18; 13; 19) Sex tourists continue to target orphanages by bribing orphanage administration officials to obtain unsupervised access to children. (2)

Child trafficking, particularly of children suffering from familial neglect, continues to be a concern in Moldova. (3; 10; 20; 21; 13) The number of children left behind by migrant parents is increasing and these children may be particularly vulnerable to child labor and human trafficking, especially those who are in orphanages or boarding schools. (3; 15; 22; 23; 5; 24) Vulnerable children from Transnistria were at an increased risk of being trafficked through Ukraine’s Odessa region. (3; 25).

Human trafficking: The faces and sorrow at the heart of a UN report

UN News Centre, 13 February 2009

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Anna (not their real names) was beaten throughout her childhood in Moldova, and fled her home in despair at age 12. But those who “helped” her run away to a supposedly better life trafficked her to Poland where she was forced to beg on the streets and beaten if she did not make enough money.

Ana spent five years begging in Poland before she managed to escape and was returned to Moldova by the local police.

Moldovan sex slaves released in U.K. human trafficking raids

The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Norwich, 22/Apr/2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

A group of girls from Moldova have been released by British police after raids against human trafficking rings. They had been smuggled from Europe's poorest country and forced into sex slavery. Trafficking gangs operate with government involvement in Moldova.

Moldova, Europe's poorest country, is the continent's leading supplier of underage girls for sexual exploitation. Human trafficking rings operate with impunity in Moldova, where they are for the most part under government protection and where a number of local government officials are involved as participants behind the rings. Due to a climate of impunity, no government officials have ever been charged with human trafficking and prostitution offenses in Moldova

Professor visits Moldova to help combat human trafficking

Florida Gulf Coast University FGCU News, March 13, 2008

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

Moldova is a small, land locked, communist country sandwiched between the Ukraine and Romania. It is the poorest country in Eastern Europe and one with the poorest record in trafficking of women and young girls. Thousands of Moldovan women are estimated to have fallen victim to human trafficking in that country. Resistance from government agencies and corruption of officials make it difficult to work together as a task force.

Slavery In Our Times

Newsweek, March 08, 2008

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

An intelligent girl with ambitions, Elena had been enticed to London from Moldova with a promise of a good job and a bright future. Once in the U.K., however, her passport was taken from her and she was kept in solitary confinement to break her will. She was warned that her family in Moldova would suffer harm unless she did what she was told. And then she was put to work as a sex slave, servicing a procession of men in the most appalling circumstances.

Like Elena, these victims may end up in the sex trade. Many others find themselves condemned as slave laborers, forced to work in domestic service, in hazardous factories or at grim sites like the cocoa plantations of West Africa. Thousands more, many just children, become unwilling conscripts in bitter wars. Nearly all suffer physical or sexual abuse, creating mental and physical scars they carry for the rest of their lives.

Organ trafficking: a fast-expanding black market

IHS Jane's, 05 March 2008

[accessed 26 June 2013]

China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines, Moldova, and Romania are among the world's leading providers of trafficked organs. If China is known for harvesting and selling organs from executed prisoners, the other countries have been dealing essentially with living donors, becoming stakeholders in the fast-growing human trafficking web.

Causal Factors in the Crime of Trafficking of Women for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation - An exploration into push and pull factors relevant to women trafficked from Moldova to Western Europe [PDF]

Scharie Tavcer from Canada, Doctoral Dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg i. Br, 6 August 2007

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[page 163]        Table 2: Type of Exploitation 2003

Type of exploitation






Domestic works



Giving a birth to a child









Sexual services



Total number of cases




Trafficking in women remains a global abuse

Hans M. Wuerth, Special to The Morning Call, October 2, 2007

[accessed 21 February 2011]

The June 28, 2007, German weekly, Die Zeit, published an article on the growing problem of human trafficking in Europe. The article gave several specific examples. One woman, Natalia, from the country of Moldova, wrongly assumed that a household job awaited her in Istanbul that would pay 300 Euros per month. At the Istanbul airport, however, her male contact person was approached by another man who told Natalia that she would be working for him instead. Subsequently, she was forced into prostitution and ''sold'' six more times. Fortunately, her sister managed to locate her and to get her released.

Trafficking victims prompt new Baptist ministry in Moldova

Sue Sprenkle, Baptist Press BP, Chisinau, Oct 2, 2007

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 22 September 2016]

"Earn money abroad. Waiters, housemaids and managers needed for world-renowned hotel chain. Immediate openings. Potential to earn thousands."  Natasha couldn't believe her eyes. She'd been looking for employment ever since she graduated but there were no jobs to be found in Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe. Seeing the newspaper advertisement, she thought to herself, Why not try it? Most of her friends had found jobs in other countries, why shouldn't she? She picked up the phone and made the call.

Two weeks later, Natasha was sitting in a small, windowless room with a foam mattress on the floor and a bare bulb giving off insufficient light above her shaved head and bruised body. When the door opens, a man quietly slips in and strips. Natasha shrinks into a small ball -– this is not the job she applied for.  Tricked and sold into slavery, Natasha has nowhere to turn to for help.

Moldova's misery: Relief groups work to help orphans, combat trafficking in the Eastern European nation

Kim Grizzard, The Daily Reflector, July 15, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Since declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova has, in many ways, failed to make a name for itself economically or politically. It does, however, have the unfortunate distinction of leading Eastern Europe in human trafficking.

"The British Helsinki Human Rights Group did a study in 2000, and they said 60 percent of the girls that are being trafficked out of all of Eastern Europe are coming out of Moldova," Davis said. "That would include countries much, much larger than Moldova. Russia, Ukraine, Romania, countries that are considered to have really bad trafficking problems, and here's little Moldova ... and more girls are coming out of here than anywhere."

Human Trafficking Booming in Eastern Europe, but Governments Don’t Seem to Care

Gopalan, June 28, 2007 -- Source-Medindia

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Soviet Union has fallen, there is no way communism can be restored again, the new ruling elite gloat in countries that were once part of that setup.  But poverty, prostitution and crime thrive like never before in that region. Young girls are the worst victims of the churning.  On a per capita basis Modolva, a small piece of territory near Ukraine, has earned the invidious distinction of being Europe’s top exporter of sex slaves.

UN's fight against Moldova sex slavery, human trafficking

The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 22/May/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

SEX SLAVERY AMONG UNDERAGE GIRLS FROM MOLDOVA - In Moldova, the human trafficking specialists admit that the situation is far worse than in what they usually refer to under its Romanian name, Transnistria. Most victims of modern-day slavery are women and young girls, many of whom are forced into prostitution or otherwise exploited as sex slaves. Trafficked men are found in fields, mines and quarries, or in other dirty and dangerous working conditions. Moldovan boys and girls are trafficked into conditions of child labor. Many of them are fatherless or motherless with parents who already left to work abroad, and never came back. Some of these enslaved children are abused sexually as well.

Data collected by UNODC show that about 80 per cent of the victims of human trafficking, most of them women and young girls, are forced into prostitution. The remaining 20 per cent, usually the men and boys, face forced labor. About half are under the age of 18.

The International Organization for Migration considers Moldova the main European source of women and children for forced prostitution in Western Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East. Typically, young women are lured overseas with the promise of waitress or housekeeping jobs, only to be forced into the sex trade, sometimes even sold two or three times.

Moldova: Lower prices behind sex slavery boom and child prostitution

The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 12/Mar/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Two American TV crews have investigated Moldova's growing sex slave trade. In Chisinau, human traffickers now charge as little as $500 for delivering a child prostitute into a life of white slavery abroad. These record low prices are driving up demand, and exports are booming.

MAIN ORIGIN OF FORCED CHILD PROSTITUTION - Organ trafficking and sexual slavery are mainstays of Moldova's economy. Record numbers of Moldovan women are made into sex slaves, forced into prostitution and lifelong servitude.  Moldova holds a dubious world record: The country is today the leading haven for pedophiles and for traffickers who earn fortunes enslaving underage kids in a brutal international sex trade.

Training Roma to combat human trafficking

Council of Europe Press Division, October 31, 2006

[accessed 29 August 2011]

Through a contribution of the Norwegian and Finnish governments, the Council of Europe is organising training courses to prevent human trafficking of Roma from Albania, Moldova and Slovakia.

The route to hell

Louisa Waugh, The Scotsman, 22 August 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The advert in the local paper was brief. "Women and girls under 35. Well-paid jobs abroad." There was a contact phone number, and Olga rang the same evening. She was a 21-year-old single mother, living in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau and supporting her young son by working ten hours a day in an outdoor food market.

Revealed: kept in a dungeon ready to be sold as slaves

David Harrison in Skopje, The Telegraph, 27 Nov 2005

[accessed 21 February 2011]

The women, aged 18 to 24, are from across eastern Europe, lured from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria, with promises of good jobs as waitresses, au pairs and dancers.  Instead, they have been forced into modern-day slavery in western Macedonia, locked in the dirty cellar and only summoned upstairs by their masters to perform sexual services for customers who are usually drunk and often violent.  When they were found, the victims, some of whom had been "broken in" as prostitutes in other countries on the way to Macedonia, barely knew where they were. They had no idea what the future held but knew that it was beyond their control.

Woman falls six stories, now walking

Inside Collin County Business, 10/26/05

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The woman was kidnapped and left with a group of individuals who intended to sell her into forced prostitution. In November 2004, she fell six stories while trying to escape her captors and suffered numerous life-threatening injuries including a fracture of the pelvis and spinal column, causing her to lose the use of her legs.

Merchants of Misery: Human Trafficking in Moldova [DOC]

Don Hinrichsen, Chisinau -- The State of World Population 2005 report, The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals, published by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

Silvia’s descent into the dark world of trafficking began when a neighbor told the 19-year-old that she could get a good job as a sales girl in Moscow. Unemployed, broke, with a baby daughter and no husband or job prospects in her hometown of Ungheni, Silvia (not her real name) decided to travel to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau where she was to meet two men who would arrange her travel to Moscow.

Balkans Urged To Curb Trafficking

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News Geneva, 31 March, 2005

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Countries in South-East Europe are failing to take effective measures against people trafficking, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says.  A UNICEF report says that while countries in the region have strict anti-trafficking laws they do not tackle the root causes of the problem.

Young Women From Rural Areas Vulnerable To Human Trafficking

Eugen Tomiuc, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, October 06, 2004

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Tens of thousands of Moldovan women are estimated to have fallen victim to human trafficking. Most victims come from rural areas, where economic hardships and ignorance turn young girls into easy prey for traffickers.

"During the day, we were locked on the third floor of a house with iron bars on the doors and windows. We did not have a TV or a phone. It was very strict. At night, they would take us to a hotel, which had guards and a tall fence around it, so we could not get out. There were people guarding us around the clock," Alina said.

Child trafficking in Moldova

International Labour Organisation ILO, Chisinau Moldova, March 15, 2004

[accessed 28 August 2011]

[accessed 28 August 2011]

One day, while at the market here in the Moldavian capital, she met a woman from a neighbouring village who listened attentively to her woes and proposed that she accompany her to Ukraine where she could find a job.

From September to April 2003, Ioana was forced to sell goods on a market in Ukraine. As compensation, she received a pair of winter clothes and food. Eventually, Ukrainian police who had been searching for her at the request of her mother, found the girl and returned her to her home. Paradoxically, Ioana reportedly told the police she preferred life with the trafficker to her own home, believing life was better on the run than among her alcoholic parents.

Trafficking of children for labor and sexual exploitation in Moldova

Institute for Public Policy IPP, Moldova Republic, 2004 -- Global Development Network GDN originated

[accessed 24 August 2014]

This paper analyses the problem of child trafficking from Moldova for the purpose of labour or sexual exploitation. According to the authors, the problem is a serious one, with up to 5000 cases of child trafficking each year. The children are either abducted or sold by their parents.

According to the researchers, the single most important factor that contributes to the problem of child trafficking is widespread poverty. More than one-half of the population live on below-subsistence incomes ($30 per month per capita or less).

Joint East West research on trafficking in children for sexual purposes in Europe [PDF]

Edited by: Muireann O’Briain, Anke van den Borne, & Theo Noten, ECPAT Europe Law Enforcement Group, Amsterdam 2004 -- ISBN: 90-74270-19-0

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

 [page 30]  Other countries see mostly the emigration of their young populations to service the sex industry and labour markets abroad. The Belarus report says that of Belarusian workers who went abroad in 2001, 70% of them were under the age of 24. Unofficial estimates put the number of Moldavians working abroad at between 600,000 and 1 million persons. From some communities in Moldova up to half the population has emigrated. The Romanian researchers point out that it is a combination of economic and political factors at home that creates a favourable climate in which young people want to emigrate. These include low pay, insecurity of employment, and the inadequacy of the educational system at home to respond to the labour market. But they also include the low level of community and parental involvement with young people and the negative perceptions that young people have about their futures in their own country as important ‘push’ factors. The Moldova research quotes official polls as showing that almost 90% of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 want to leave the country.

Trafficking troubles poor Moldova

Angus Roxburgh, BBC News Online in Moldova, 7 November 2003

[accessed 21 February 2011]

NOT FOR SALE - The country is the source of much of Europe's human trafficking. Billboards in the streets of the capital, Chisinau, depict a girl gripped in a huge clenched fist, being exchanged for dollars.  The caption reads: "You are not for sale". There are few countries in the world where people have to be reminded of that by public advertisements.  In fact, tens of thousands of Moldovan women have been sold into prostitution in more affluent countries. And the trade in human organs, particularly kidneys, is a growing and frightening problem.

Europe's human trafficking hub

Bethany Bell, BBC, Moldova, 23 May 2003

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Wandering through Ana's village, it is not hard to understand why her daughter was eager to leave.  Few people here have running water, which has to be hauled from local wells. Grinding poverty and chronic unemployment since the fall of the Soviet Union has made many Moldovans desperate to seek their fortunes abroad. But it does not always work out as planned.  Elena, who is 25 years old, had been promised a job in Italy at a pizzeria by her best friend Marina. But Marina sold her to a pimp who forced her to walk the streets of Bologna.

Escaping brutal bondage in Europe

Preston Mendenhall,, Droki Moldova, May 2002

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 19 February 2019]

TRAPPED - Ruslan, pretending to be her suitor, took Natasha to meet some acquaintances and said they would take her to Italy. That was the last Natasha saw of him. “I liked him, but I also needed a job. I had no money,” Natasha said. “Ruslan sold me, and I didn’t even know. I cried. I wanted to go home. But I couldn’t do anything. It was too late.”

On buses and cars — and crossing borders on foot — Natasha followed a path to sex slavery trodden by thousands of other hapless women, passing, under the watchful eyes of a gang of Balkans thugs, through Romania, Serbia and Kosovo before ending up in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

In struggling Moldova, desperation drives decisions

Peter Baker, Washington Post Foreign Service, Minjir Moldova, November 7, 2002; Page A14

[accessed 24 August 2014]

Europe's Poorest Country Is Major Source of Human Organ Sellers and Women Lured to Sexual Slavery.

"Poverty and personal problems force people to do this," said Adrian Tanase, head of the renal transplant department at the gloomy, run-down hospital in the capital of Chisinau. Every month someone walks into his office begging to sell an organ, which the doctor turns down. "In developed countries, that hasn't been done for a long time, but here you can buy or sell anything."

Int'l Organization for Migration Data on Human Trafficking in Kosovo

U.S. Embassy Italy, 24 April 2001

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) April 24 revealed new information about the methods and the victims of human trafficking in Kosovo. At a briefing in Geneva, IOM Spokesperson Jean Phillippe Chauzy told reporters that 85 percent of the victims left their home countries in search of work when they were snared into a trafficking scheme and forced prostitution.

The data, published by the IOM office in Pristina, Kosovo, was compiled from interviews with victims who were helped by IOM last year. Sixty one percent came from Moldova, 19 percent from Romania, and the rest from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Albania and Russia. Their average age was 21, and more than 60 percent had a secondary school education or better.

Journey Into Sex Slavery

Richard Boudreaux, Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2001

[accessed 10 June 2013]

Angela Slobodchuk, 25, has a story to tell. She offers it in a low monotone, in a near-whisper, to anyone who listens.  It begins in her poor farming village in the former Soviet republic of Moldova with the promise of a job as a waitress in Italy.  It takes her on an odyssey of torment through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia and Albania. She is raped, beaten, forced into prostitution, smuggled across borders and sold 18 times from one pimp to the next. It ends 11 months later when  police along Italy's Adriatic coast rescue the weeping woman with the miniskirt and bruised legs and arrest her 21-year-old Albanian captor.

Sex Slaves: Trafficking in human beings from Moldova to Italy

British Helsinki Human Rights Group BHHRG

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Indeed, the country is so poor that the local police are quite incapable of dealing with the trafficking.  The Vice Squad in the Moldovan capital, Chişinău, consists of seven policemen who have no car nor any other dedicated equipment.  This is no match for the powerful criminal networks who control this lucrative trade

Trafficking in Women: Moldova and Ukraine [PDF]

Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, December 2000

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

[accessed 13 January 2020]

II. CURRENT CONDITIONS - A. BACKGROUND - In Moldova and Ukraine, the female role has become much more circumscribed in the name of tradition. Women in the earliest phases of transition from communism showed signs of developing a new social force that would break with the discriminatory aspects of tradition, but ultimately women have emerged to face strengthened levels of misogyny, discrimination and inequality. In the course of researching this report, numerous interviewees told Minnesota Advocates of the “strong Ukrainian [and Moldovan] woman,” the provider for the family, the keeper of traditions, a person to be revered and respected. This mythology starkly contrasts with the reality of women’s lives. This reality is more likely to be defined by poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, and trafficking.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 October 2002

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[45] The Committee notes that some measures have been developed to combat trafficking, but is nevertheless deeply concerned about the serious proportions of trafficking of girls from Moldova. It notes with concern that there is no precise information about the real dimensions of this phenomenon and that very little support in terms of rehabilitation and reintegration is provided to the victims of trafficking.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 3 May 2020]


Human trafficking remains a problem, although Moldova has stepped up its efforts to prosecute traffickers. The number of trafficking cases sent to court increased from 33 in 2016 to 85 in 2017. While women and children have long been subject to trafficking, in recent years, the trafficking of males has increased.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – While many different individuals have become trafficking victims, the primary target group was the female population between the ages of 15 and 30. In 2004 the IOM reported that 12 percent of the victims they assisted were minors at the time of return, and 40 percent were minors at the time of their initial trafficking. Victims often came from rural areas where economic desperation had already driven many residents to look for work abroad. According to the IOM, most victims had already suffered some form of physical or sexual abuse at home and were willing to face significant risk to escape unbearable circumstances in their families. Women and girls typically accepted job offers in other countries, ostensibly as dancers, models, nannies, or housekeepers. In many areas, friends, relatives, or acquaintances approached young women and offered to help them find good jobs abroad.

The IOM reported that former victims frequently acted as trafficking recruiters, sometimes under coercion, and that over the past two years women had recruited most of its caseload victims. Newspaper advertisements promising well-paying jobs abroad also lured many victims. The IOM also noted that traffickers themselves were mainly foreign men, and the International Labor Organization's (ILO) program for the elimination of child labor reported that in many cases traffickers of children have been Roma.

Another trafficking pattern involved orphans who were required to leave orphanages when they graduated from school, usually at the age of 16 or 17, and had no funds for living expenses or continuing education. Some orphanage directors reportedly sold information on when orphan girls were to be turned out of their institutions to traffickers, who approached the girls as they left.

According to the Center for Prevention of Trafficking in Women, parents or husbands pressured some young women to work abroad. Traffickers commonly recruited women from rural villages, transported them to larger cities, and then trafficked them abroad.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - According to the IOM, Moldova is considered the primary country of origin in Europe for trafficking of women and children for prostitution to the Middle East, Balkans, and Europe.  A December 2003 UN report reveals that Moldovan children are also being trafficked to Russia for begging and to Ukraine for working on farms.  The report states that while trafficking to the Balkans appears to have decreased, new trafficking patterns are emerging, with Russia being a primary destination point for victims, including children.  Young women in rural areas are frequently the target population for traffickers who offer transportation to jobs overseas, but upon arrival, confiscate passports and require payments earned through prostitution.  According to information gathered by ILO-IPEC through a rapid assessment survey, boys and girls as young as 12 years old are trafficked, many of them recruited by people they know.  Estimates on the numbers of child trafficking victims remain limited.  However IOM statistics from 2000-2003 indicate that 42 percent of the trafficking victims who were returned to Moldova were minors.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Moldova",, [accessed <date>]