More so than for other issues, outsiders, not Russian activists, broached the problem of trafficking in women in Russia. Although as early as 1993 at least one crisis center began collecting information from their callers about their experience with trafficking (Khodyreva 1996), most did not include trafficking as one of their target issues. This was because the consequences of trafficking were most evident abroad, the embryonic movement had its arms full with sexual and domestic violence, and trafficking brought an additional element of danger, the involvement of Russian organized crime. According to the Russian Association of Crisis Centers for Women, the issue was first raised by global feminists at a 1996 United Kingdom conference, a follow-up meeting to the 1995 U. N. conference on women in Beijing.9
In 1997, a United States—based human rights nonprofit, the Global Survival Network, brought global attention to Russia in a conference planned to coincide with the release of their documentary film, Bought & Sold, a result of a two-year undercover investigation of the traffic in women from Russia for forced prostitu – tion.10 With invited participants from the Russian women’s movement and officials from women’s policy agencies, the program dramatically revealed the problem of trafficking in women to the disbelieving Russians. n The conference also spelled out what the Global Survival Network saw as “good practices,” the multidimensional response later supported by the intergovernmental organizations (Caldwell, Galster, and Steinzor 1997).
Over the next few years, the leading Russian women’s crisis centers became more engaged in the issue of trafficking in women. They extended their hotline counseling services to women seeking employment abroad. Movement leaders published the first journal issue dedicated to the problem, explaining the inclusion of antitrafficking activism in terms of their evolution, over the years, in their focus from sexual violence, to sexual harassment, and to domestic violence (Abu – bikirova et al. 1999).