Russian culture and life are uniquely fascinating. Rarely has such magnificence, potential, and wonder been so dramatically juxtaposed to such tremendous terror, poverty, and struggle. The state has an almost mystical aura about it, simultaneously intriguing and repellant. Sharing more in Russia’s failures than in its successes, Ukraine is deeply bound to its former communist overlord in history and in modernity. As the world’s leading exporters of women, these two former Soviet strongholds have perfected the merge between organized crime and human trafficking, severely hindering national efforts to fully emerge from the shadows of the Soviet era. As the modus operandi of regional crime syndicates continues to evolve, Russian and Ukrainian governments find themselves either unable, or simply unwilling, to put a stop to the growing crisis.

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