Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 40, Issue 2–3, pp 231–250

The trade in people in and from the former Soviet Union

  • Louise Shelley


This paper focuses on the trafficking and smuggling of human beings fromand through the former Soviet Union. It explores the reasons for the risein the illegal movement of people; the groups which facilitate it; the demographics of the people who are moved and the business side, includingthe profits, the disposition of profits and the use of corruption to facilitatethe trade. With the disintegration of state control over national territory, this mass movement of people often violates national laws and the national sovereignty of the countries of the Soviet successor states and the countrieswhere the former Soviet citizens move illegally. The paper concludes that thistrade mirrors and contributes to the overall downward development of thepost-Soviet economies. In contrast, a comparative look at the respective Chinese developments indicates that trade in human beings tends to facilitatethe growth of both the Chinese legitimate and illegitimate economies.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Shelley
    • 1
  1. 1.American UniversityWashington, D.CUSA

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