Just doing the final bits of research before I head off today, and a few things struck me about this article, Women Are a Hidden Population of Drug Users.
First of all, I was under the impression that drugs were rare in Kyrgyzstan thanks to its strict laws on the subject – which I’d understood were heavily enforced. Then again, its proximity to Afghanistan and the abject poverty of many citizens logically point to a fairly thriving black market in heroin.
The police attitude described here – demanding cash or sex from female users – while shocking shouldn’t be surprising given the high levels of corruption and treatment of women in the country.
So far, so depressing but also not atypical of ‘transitional economies’ – the highly sanitised borg-speak for these countries which I keep coming across. As usual the transition could as easily be interpreted as ‘into something worse’, as opposed to the more optimistic ‘developing country’ epithet, I guess.
Like most countries in the area, Kyrgyzstan has big problem involving women being trafficked to the West for the sex industry, which I’m hoping to find out more about while I’m there.
Today, though, I’ve been googling for ‘Kyrgyzstan women’ hoping to throw up recent news articles or research papers that might be useful backgrounders.
Naturally, the first few pages are dominated by ads for mail order brides. Ironic, no?