Human trafficking is identified as “the sustained physical and psychological abuse of the victim solely for financial gain. It starts the moment the individual is deceived, persuaded, abducted or otherwise forced into the hands of the traffickers and can continue long after the victim escapes” (Europole, 2005). It can be classified into two categories - sexual exploitation and forced labour. This paper is focused on sex trade as a crime against humanity from the global perspective. Every country is involved in it; however, some major destination points can be identified such as Europe, U.A.E. and South Asia. The deeper understanding in the roots that cause sex trade, who is targeted, how does it happen and what measures need to be taken is important to achieve the success in eliminating the crime against humanity.
The roots that cause sex trade.
The roots causing human trafficking for sexual exploitation differ from country to country; however, some general factors can be identified. Poverty, globalization, domestic violence and gender discrimination, political and economical instability, lack of education and cultural issues are just a few of those. Orlova discusses that social dislocation can also impact on human trade (Orlova, 2004). Women affected by gender discrimination or job reduction are attracted by seemingly sound jobs that promise beautiful and better life; although, many of victims do not realise what these jobs actually are and what risk they are likely to face (Orlova, 2004). In the matter of culture, it also has a great influence. Using example of Asian culture Chung observes that it is a male dominated culture with a value of financial contribution to family (Chung, 2009). Such morals result in considering girls as poverty or items being sold or trafficked (Chung, 2009). This example can be applied to many other cultures and religions. Furthermore, globalization has caused an increase in human trade. The sophisticated infrastructure and Internet accessibility allow creating an expanded international network of clients and traffickers (Chung, 2009). As one can see, a deeper analysis gives a better perspective on factors that cause international sex exploitation.
Who is targeted?
Almost every country is involved in the human trade whether as the place of destination, source or transit. Nevertheless, some major destination points can be identified such as India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, the U.A.E, Italy, Moldova, Albania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and the United States (Kara, 2009). Meanwhile, countries with social, political or economical problems and with a great supply of women living in poverty or homeless children and orphans are targeted as the main source of victims (Tavella, 2007). Chung refers to The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime that stated “700,000 to 2,000,000 women and children are being trafficked yearly worldwide” (Chung, 2009). Only prior the FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany there was a prediction that approximately 40,000 women and children would be illegally trafficked to Germany to serve for football fans (Tavella, 2007).
How does it happen and why?
International human sex trade is the third largest criminal industry in the world, which is fuelled by its high profitability and low persecution rate (Kara, 2011). Misleading between written laws and normative practice is one the serious gaps allowing sex trafficking to take place. For instance, according to Islamic Law intercourse outside the marriage is illegal and subject to punishment. However, the relationship between legal normative law and day-to-day practice shows a little of evidence that prostitutes or the clients were penalized (Baldwin, 2012). Additionally, the lack of social awareness allows traffickers successfully trap and then smuggle a victim (Orlova, 2004). Once forced into prostitution, victims are manipulated and physically abused. They suffer from violence, starvation, drug or alcohol dependencies and numerous sex rapes (Kara, 2009). It becomes almost impossible to escape for survivor of trafficking lacking the documents, isolated by unknown local language and threatened by the pimp (Orlova, 2004).
What changes and measures can be taken to help eliminate international human sex trade around the globe?
Human slavery seems to be a resolved issue of the past. However, the human sex trade existence and its scale emphasize the importance of implementing anti-trafficking measures in order to eliminate human sex crime. It is one of the modern forms of human slavery that contravenes Article 2 Right to life «Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law” and Article 4 Prohibition of slavery and forced labour “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude” of the ECHR (European Convention of Human Rights, 2010). As one can observe, the misleading between normative laws and everyday practise results in a high-profit crime industry.
The first step to stop human trade is to achieve the upraised level of rights protection for survivors as well as persecution of offenders (Kara, 2011). Second, economic penalties for human sex crime should be raised up to the level that will eliminate high profit and low risk business (Kara, 2011). It also involves by increasing salaries to police officers and investigators to eliminate bribing. Third, campaigns to raise social recognition of the issue could decrease the number of victims (Tavella, 2007). This includes distribution of informational materials, social media support on Internet and Television and advanced victim support. These are just some minor steps that could be taken in order to stop human sex trade.
To conclude, International human sex trade is the third largest crime industry the globe is dealing with. Millions of women and children suffer from sexual exploitation. Despite the contrast between different countries’ written laws and religions, slavery is illegal. More effective measures and penalties should be designed to resolve the problem. But it also requires a deeper understanding of nature of the problem, mutual collaboration of all countries and the greater public awareness of that global social issue to achieve positive changes.
Chung, R. (2009). Cultural perspectives on child trafficking, human rights & social justice: A model for psychologists. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 22(1), 85-96.
Baldwin, J. E. (2012). Prostitution, Islamic Law and Ottoman Societies. Journal Of The Economic & Social History Of The Orient, 55(1), 117-152.
European Court Of Human Rights, (2010). European convention on human rights.
Europol Annual Report, (2005). Europol Annual Report 2005.
Kara, S. (2009). Sex trafficking : inside the business of modern slavery / Siddharth Kara. New York : Columbia University Press, c2009.
Kara, S. (2011). Designing More Effective Laws Against Human Trafficking. Journal Of International Human Rights, 9(2), 123-147.
Orlova, A. V. (2004). From Social Dislocation to Human Trafficking. Problems Of Post-Communism, 51(6), 14-22.
Tavella, A. (2007). Sex Trafficking and the 2006 World Cup in Germany: Concerns, Actions and Implications for Future International Sporting Events. Journal Of International Human Rights, 6(1), 196-217.