On the black market, they’re the third most profitable commodity, after illegal weapons and drugs. The only difference is that these goods are human, to their handlers they are wholly expendable. They are women and girls, some as young as twelve, from all over the Eastern Bloc, where sinister networks of organized crime have become entrenched in the aftermath of the collapse of the Communist regimes.
In Israel, they’re called Natashas, whether they’re actually from Russia, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, or Ukraine. Lured into vans and onto airplanes with promises of jobs as waitresses, models, nannies, dishwashers, maids, and dancers, they are then stripped of their identification, and their brutal nightmare begins. They are sold into prostitution and kept enslaved; those who resist are beaten, raped, and sometimes killed. They often have nowhere to turn. In many cases, the men who should be rescuing them—immigration officials, police officers, or international peacekeepers—are among their most hostile aggressors. The worldwide traffic in human beings is already a crisis of epic proportions, and it continues to grow. Victor Malarek here exposes the global phenomenon of sexual trafficking, a form of twenty-first century slavery and a multibillion-dollar industry whose scope has, until now, remained largely unknown. The Natashas is an indispensable and startling call to action to seek out institutional corruption and to put a stop to this heinous crime against humanity.
Award-winning Canadian journalist Malarek reports on the most recent wave in the global sex trade, sparked by the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. According to the U.S. State Department, at least 800,000 900,000 impoverished young women, many of them orphans, from Eastern and Central Europe, are lured with promises of jobs as waitresses, nannies or maids in Western Europe or North America. Instead, they find themselves imprisoned in apartments, massage parlors or brothels in countries ranging from South Korea, Bosnia and Japan to Israel and Germany. With "ruthless efficiency," in the words of one European official, Russian and other organized crime syndicates control this human trade, which offers high profits with little risk of interference thanks to "complacency, complicity, and corruption" on the part of national governments and law enforcement. One of the more horrific examples Malarek offers involves sex slaves in Bosnia who serviced NATO and UN peacekeepers after the war in 1995. Malarek recounts the affecting first-person stories of numerous victims. The author has excellent research skills and clearly makes his case with the hope of creating enough outrage to stop this traffic in women. However, his hyperbolic, tabloid style of writing is distracting. The facts are horrendous enough to speak for themselves.