The fall of the Soviet Union has resulted in a long and painful transition period for the former Soviet republics. Whereas initial prognoses were usually optimistic, the reality has proven that the consequences of the transition are bleak. Severe unemployment, underemployment, poverty and desperation are a daily routine for the majority of the population. The mystification of the West as a safe haven usually 'pushes' the desperate people out of their home countries in search of a better future. This essay analyzes the phenomenon of unprecedented wave of human trafficking in the former Soviet republic of Moldova and the main 'push' factors that act as catalysts for illegal migration and subsequently, human trafficking. The essay argues that human trafficking is a direct result of the transition period and the retreat of the Moldovan state from all spheres of life. The main causes of human trafficking in Moldova are the nature of its economic transition, its anomic society, and the return to traditional gender roles.