THE NATASHAS: THE NEW GLOBAL SEX TRADE – VICTOR MALAREK
On the black market, they’re the third most profitable commodity, after illegal weapons and drugs-the only difference being that these goods are human, though to their handlers they are wholly expendable. They are women and girls, some as young as 12, from all over the Eastern block, where sinister networks of organized crime have become entrenched in the aftermath of the collapse of Communist regimes. In Israel, they’re called Natashas, whether they’re actually from Russia, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, or Ukraine, no matter what their real names may be. They’re lured into vans and onto airplanes with promises of jobs as waitresses, models, nannies, dishwashers, maids, and dancers. But when they arrive at their destinations, they are stripped of their identification, and their nightmare begins. They are sold into prostitution and kept enslaved; those who resist are beaten, raped, and sometimes killed as examples. They often have nowhere to turn; in many cases, the men who should be res- cuing them-from immigration officials to police officers and international peacekeepers-are among their aggressors.