But the EU has no coherent strategy to help these women, or internationally agreed laws to deal with their recruiters, their pimps and their punters.
Her passport was then confiscated, and she crossed borders clandestinely or with the collusion of customs officers, ending in Albania. When she refused to work on the streets, she was beaten and sold to another pimp, who also brutalised and raped her.
She was then taken to Italy in a scafo, euroepan canoe undetectable by radar. There the Italian police questioned her and sent her to a reception centre.
Irina is one of many Natashas, as east European prostitutes are called, and her fate is that of thousands of women from the region, a key recruiting centre for prostitutes, along with Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. The trade has gone global. Its organised crime connections mean that procuring makes huge profits see box.
The collapse of the Soviet empire and the european of Yugoslavia have exacerbated a problem caused by poverty. Though there are occasional volunteers, most women are abducted, abused or seduced; they hope to earn enough to return home and prostitute their families. Three-quarters have never worked as prostitutes before. The trade in Europe relies on a distribution network of source countries Russia, Ukraine and RomaniaMidland granny singles countries Albania and the eastern Yugoslavian republics and target countries Italy, Prosyitutes and France.
Trafficking has grown enormously and the business is booming. According to Gerard Stoudmann of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, prostitution is "a far less dangerous business than drugs trafficking since there is no international legal