Date of Graduation

Winter 1-2-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies

First Advisor

Michael Duffy


Romania is undergoing a severe crisis. The country is confronted with a transnational issue of dramatic proportions. Romania has become what experts in the sex trafficking field call “a global center for human trafficking” (Batstone, Romania a Global Center for Human Trafficking, 2011, February 17th). It is a source, transit, and destination country for women, children, and even men subjected to sex trafficking. Romania is one of the biggest exporters of human flesh to Western European and Middle Eastern societies.

This research paper will analyze the historical context of modern-day slavery in Romania as well as the economic background and the social dimensions of its transition and transformation that has left it increasingly prone to a filthy industry that rots, decays, and dehumanizes. This paper will examine not only the individual attributes but also the environmental factors and will argue that inequality, power, and other social and economic dynamics play a major role in the procurement of sex and continue to leave Romania completely exposed to the cunning web of traffickers.

Furthermore, the paper will draw a parallel showing the links between prostitution and sex trafficking, which many times are interrelated. The data will show that it is seriously naïve to assume that all of these girls are victims, that they are driven by an enhanced perception of opportunities outside the borders of Romania which increase their social status back home, and will attempt to answer the question of whether the traffickers select these girls or if the girls self-select.