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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Lithuania's sex traffic on rise
By Laura Sheeter
BBC News, Vilnius

Prostitute
Nearly a quarter of the women are thought to end up in the UK
The number of women being trafficked from Lithuania has increased since EU membership last year, the International Organisation for Migration has found.

The national survey found that about 2,000 women and girls - some as young as 14 - were illegally being taken abroad each year for the sex trade.

Nearly a quarter of them were ending up in Britain.

The organisation said most of the women had been unemployed in Lithuania, and more than half had children.

The IOM says that this, their first national survey of human trafficking in Lithuania, confirms their suspicion that the illegal trade has increased since Lithuania joined the European Union.

The women and girls come from all over Lithuania, but tend to be among the poorest and poorer-educated people in society.

Action

The survey brings together information gathered by non-governmental organisations working with women and girls who have come back to Lithuania - some 200 people.

But the IOM estimates that they are currently reaching only 10% of those who are trafficked.

The IOM says it hopes this survey will focus both international and Lithuanian attention on human trafficking as, for the first time, they have data covering the whole country which they can use as a spur for action to combat the trade in human beings.


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