Around the world, there are people who suffer human rights abuses from their government and society and yearn to leave for new opportunities to create a better life. Unfortunately, there are criminal elements that use this desperation to lure people into traps, offering them passage and upon arrival, forcing them into non-consensual work situations with no recourse or exit strategy. Israel and the Soviet Union had a tempestuous relationship, especially with regard to Jews from the republics who wanted to “make Aliyah,” a concept in Judaism that they can “return” to Israel regardless of where they were born. To support this, the Israeli government offers citizenship to Jews. By abusing this law, groups were able to traffic many Soviet women into the sex work industry, turning what appeared to be an opportunity to return to their cultural homeland into an egregious human rights abuse. The overall goal is to understand what mistakes were made in the immigration pathway that made it so susceptible to trafficking, why the Israeli government was adamant about covering it up for so long, and helping the victims get justice and serve as a more universal framework for preventing these atrocities. The first steps are to review immigration information as well as anecdotes collected from official Israeli government sources as well as survivors who have had their stories told in the years following. In addition to this qualitative information, statistical data from the Israeli government and third-party human rights organizations will be collected to provide a quantitative justification. This mixture of information is critical to creating a compelling research project as it ensures that the findings are widespread enough to have practical applications while not ignoring the individual human suffering and emotional damage and support the victims in telling their story and receiving justice.
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Sahr, Daniel, "Deceit of the Promised Land: Sex Trafficking from the Former Soviet Union to Israel" (2021). Research Days Posters 2021. 26.