Russia has a human-trafficking problem. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the scale of sex, labor, and child trafficking inside Russia has soared. But Russia also is itself a human-trafficking problem, because it serves as a supplier for illicit networks far beyond its borders. McCarthy describes the nature and dimensions of the problem with as much detail as possible, given the patchiness of the statistical record on the phenomenon. Only in 2003 did Russian legislators pass a law to deal with this scourge, and McCarthy focuses on its enforcement—or, more often, lack of enforcement. In a fine addition to the literature on how Russian governance really works, McCarthy traces this laxity to what she calls “institutional machinery”: incentives, structures, and a culture operating within Russian legal and judicial institutions that militate against the strenuous enforcement of new rules that introduce complex choices and burdensome procedures on law enforcement agencies. Still, she notes that, in an oblique fashion, authorities are making some progress.
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