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Reproductive Health through the Eyes of Trafficked Moldovan Women

Laurie Helzer, BA, International Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, 2445 Dooley Drive #F122, Decatur, GA 30033, 740-504-9149, lhelzer@sph.emory.edu

The movement of human beings long distances and across borders is not new, but its nature has changed throughout history and continues to change with rapid globalization. Many people are faced with the harsh economic realities in their home countries and look abroad for a better, stable life. Unfortunately, the roads out of poverty do not always have happy endings. As one of the poorest country in Europe, Moldova has become the primary source country for trafficked women. In search of jobs as au pairs, waitresses or maids in Western Europe, Moldovan women often end up in an illegal crime structure where they are sold as commodities and forced into prostitution under a debt bondage system. Not only placed at high risk to physical and mental abuse, these women are highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Research conducted in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Chisinau, Moldova provides the primary characteristics of trafficked women and their trafficking experience, health concerns, and future dreams. We use a secondary data to characterize the experience of 160 Moldova women who were trafficked to Kosovo or Macedonia between 2001 and 2003. In addition, we used participatory research methods of life-history drawings, community mapping and body mapping, which permits the women’s perspective of her experience. This information provides insight for both anti-trafficking programming as well as rehabilitation programs for trafficked women.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Sex Workers, Eastern Europe

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Sex Workers: Voluntary and Forced

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA