W ith Romania and Bulgaria entering the European Union (EU), interesting and even dangerous repercussions might emerge. Alarmingly, both the countries are listed among 11 top sources for human trafficking. Add narcotics trade to that and a heady cocktail emerges. The two countries have GDP 1/3rd of the EU average; and heavy out-migration is predicted once borders become porous. It is reckoned that even during the pre-EU days, the number of migrant prostitutes in Western Europe was higher than the local prostitutes! Open borders might accentuate these problems even further as it is suspected that the traffickers might go into an overdrive despatching sex workers and drugs to the more lucrative payers of Western Europe.
Poverty, slow reforms post-communism and heavy unemployment have helped the gangs in finding easy victims for human trafficking. For these countries on the 'Balkan Route' (a corridor for 80% of Afghan heroin supply), open borders might be a boon. EU then needs to help these countries to fight the menace, lest the benefits of joining the EU should be siphoned off to illegal trade.