According to the Department of State, Russia has consistently failed to meet the minimum requirements to combat and eliminate trafficking and due to its continued failure to meet such standards after nearly a decade, it was automatically demoted to a Tier 3 status (TIPR, 2013, p. 310). “Russia is also a major transit, destination, and origin country for cross border human trafficking” (Tiurukanova, 2006, p. 36). Current Russian legislation, often refers to the voluntary nature of the original connection prior to exploitation, and is frequently used as a justification for refusal to prosecute perpetrators (Tiurukanova, 2006, p. 19). Poverty, economic instability, and lack of education are several of the factors that promote sexual exploitation in Russia and “push” its victims toward the lifestyle. These developmental indicators increase the risk-taking nature of vulnerable individuals, which makes them extremely susceptible to trafficker’s promises of a better life.
Russian NGOs are crucial in providing training for at risk groups and providing economic support to mitigate situations of poverty. Additionally, they provide regional safe houses, training of government officials and law enforcement, and victim rehabilitation. NGOs in Russia focus on three main areas, “preventive measures (information campaigns aimed at potential victims of trafficking), measures to protect and provide legal assistance to victims, and assistance to governmental entities in establishing legal basis for prosecution and punishment of organizers of the HT” (Mukomel, 2013, p. 4). Russian NGOs are important to overcoming governmental failures to combat human trafficking, receiving most of their funding from foreign entities and in recent years funding problems have been pervasive. Therefore, due to lack of funding, campaigns, and projects to combat trafficking have diminished.
In 1991, the United States sent the first non-governmental organization, MiraMed, to Russia with the intent to curb trafficking statistics. Founded by Dr. Juliette Engel, MiraMed had two simple goals: "mir"-- the Russian word for peace-- and "med" the Latin prefix for medicine and healing. Originally, the organization was intended as a “western style birth house and clinic in Russia.” However, by 1998, MiraMed had evolved into a larger, and more powerful peacekeeping voice in a distressed country.
In 1999, MiraMed received grants to allow them to expand their anti-trafficking actions. For MiraMed, once this program was a go, they were able to partner up with the Angel Coalition, which is the only non-governmental organization in Russia where their main function is human trafficking. The Angel Coalition has two missions and that is the “prevention of human trafficking and the repatriation and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims.” The Angel Coalition has been able to be very productive when it comes to the prevention of human trafficking. The members of the Angel Coalition have had...