Human Sex Trafficking

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"An ounce of cocaine wholesale: $1,200. But you can only sell it once. A woman or child: $50 to $1,000. But you can sell them each day, every day, over and over again. The markup is immeasurable." This quote from the 2005 Lifetime film "Human Trafficking", however chilling and horrifying, is true. Human trafficking is the commercial trade of human beings who are subjected to involuntary acts such as begging, sexual exploitation, or involuntary servitude. Human trafficking is an umbrella term used to describe all forms of modern-day slavery. No longer is this a term from the past, but a horrific reality in our present and, unfortunately, our future. Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is forced into labor (McGill 12). Even though we live in a free country, this business deprives people of their human rights. It not only affects individual victims, but it challenges the safety and security of all nations it touches. Human trafficking is a very serious global issue and due to the huge revenue made by traffickers, the market is growing and stopping this illegal activity seems almost impossible.

Sexual trafficking is one of the most common forms of the trafficking epidemic. It is most common in regions with the greatest population growth including, southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and the Arab world. However it is not constrained only to impoverished countries. Organized crime has capitalized on the growing sex industry throughout the globe. Without the resources to survive, desperate women and children fall prey to kind words and promises of decent employment or are sold by their families when there is nothing left to sell. Children as young as eight and nine can be found in brothels around the world, including those within the United States. There is a great overlap between prostitution and sex trafficking, and many accused instances of prostitution are actually cases in sex trafficking in the U.S.

Sexual trafficking affects an outrageous number of people around the world. In 2004, the U.S. State Department reported that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year for sex trade (King 13); this doesn't count the millions being trafficked within their own countries. It is not only adults who are affected by this growing issue. It is estimated that 1 million children will be victims of trafficking this year (King 13). Child victims of trafficking are often exploited for commercial sex, including prostitution, pornography and sex tourism. Gilbert King states, "We're talking about women and girls, as young as six years old, trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation," (13). It may seem impossible that there are twice as many people enslaved today than were enslaved in an African slave trade that lasted centuries, but the numbers prove it. Around the world, it is estimated that twenty-seven million people are living in slavery (King 19).

Human sex trafficking is increasingly committed by organized, sophisticated criminal groups. It is the fastest growing source of profits for organized criminal enterprises worldwide. Profits from the world trafficking industry contribute to the expansion of organized crime in the U.S. and world wide. Trading women and children for sexual exploitation has become a very appealing market for traffickers mainly because of the immeasurable revenue the industry holds. The sex trafficking industry makes an estimated $32 billion in revenue each year (Bolton). It is the third largest source of profit for international organized crime, after drugs and arms. Sex trafficking and slavery are hidden crimes, and knowledge about the subject is very piecemeal. (Bales 44)

It may seem impractical for someone to be lured into such horrific exploitation, but it happens easier than one may think. Sex traffickers systematically coerce, deceive, beat and rape vulnerable young women and girls to prepare them for a life in prostitution. The pimps then commonly...
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