chapter  8
22 Pages

Trade in human beings in Lithuania

ByAURELIJUS GUTAUSKAS

One of the most serious human rights challenges facing the international community today is the phenomenon of human trafficking and the host of problems it represents: migration, organized crime, prostitution, security, labor, and health. The sheer scope of the scourge almost defies description. Every year millions of individuals, the overwhelming majority women and children, from less developed countries are tricked, sold, forced or otherwise coerced into situations of exploitation. They become the commodities of a transnational industry that generates billions of dollars and, almost without exception, operates with impunity and occasionally with official complicity. More than 80 percent are women and girls, and 70 percent of them were forced into sexual servitude. One third of all girls are subject to coercive sexual relations; one fifth are victims of forced marriages, and close to a million were infected last year with HIV (Frattini 2005). Human trafficking not only causes human rights violations, it is itself the result of widespread poverty, discrimination, and social exclusion, which undermine dignity and deny enjoyment of human rights, ruining the lives of a significant number of women, men, and children throughout the world (Ramcharan 2002: 162).