Sex trafficking is a problem around the world. The United States State Department estimates that roughly 700,000 to 2 million women and girls are smuggled across borders every year. Eastern Europe is where much of the initial selling occurs. This black market's sales are comparable to the slave trade in United States history, and is equivalent to the sale of cattle. Sex trafficking refers to the movement of women and children for purposes of prostitution or some other form of sexual slavery. According to Interpol, it includes "the recruitment, transportation, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception. [Also used is] the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of one person having control over another, for the purpose of exploitation." Women and children are trafficked for sex or sexually related things.
How does this happen? If the women who become victims of this crime knew what their fate would entail, they would be less than willing to pursue such a career. Trickery and manipulation lands them in this position. These girls are promised an abundant and fulfilling life if they leave their families and travel to other countries. These girls are lured by job offers such as that of an au pair, a model, a dancer, a domestic worker, etc. (Miko, 3). These jobs, in conjunction with a potential marriage opportunity, are advertised in local newspapers (4). The girls' parents are more than willing to allow this because their daughters will help the family survive. Substantial pay is promised and the girls are granted return as soon as they can repay the travel expenses to their sender. They are in his debt until that is accomplished.
Widespread depravation allows this form of labor to exist. The family becomes ecstatic with their daughter's willingness and ability to help provide for the family's need. Organized crime thrives on this dependency. These people have run out of options to support and sustain their family's well being. The United Nations Population Fund performed a recent study, which revealed the precise timing of the criminals. "Traffickers turn up in a rural community during a drought or before a harvest, when food is scarce, and persuade poor couples to sell their daughters for small amounts of money," (Lives Together, Worlds Apart, Lee, 1). The couples see no better option.
Traffickers make good money in their line of work because the demand for their product is high. "Traffickers are encouraged by large tax-free profits and continuing income from the same victims at very low risk," (Miko, 2). With willing but unknowing victims, the traffickers have little trouble supplying their customers with the objects of their desires. In a world like today's, where sex is not only talked about openly in social circles, but also displayed in song lyrics and shown in the media, men crave more. A desperate man will pay desperate money to fulfill a desire for pleasure. In places like the Philippines, it is said that, "The Filipino culture allows men to be men'-the worn-out notion that men are naturally polygamous and promiscuous. This explains the utter lack of moral restraint among many men to satisfy their sexual needs at the expense of other women, often times even children. The Filipino male thinks of sex as a rite of passage, that before boys become men, they must test their manhood first. Because of the belief that sex with a virgin restores virility, this notion creates a higher demand for younger women and children to fall prey to the wiles of the trafficker and the sex trade (Jurado, 2)."
Not all girls are manipulatively stolen from their parents. Traffickers raid orphanages to find willing candidates as well. Many women, both orphans and daughters, are lured into the trap with the promise of...
References: "Children and Human Trafficking." Interpol April 15, 2005.
Hughes, Donna M. "Resolution Misuse of the Internet for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation." The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women: Geneva, Switzerland, 1999.
Jurado, Delia. "Wising up on sexual trafficking of women and children." The Fair and Fearless Freeman (February 2005).
Lederer, Dr. Laura. "Global Sexual Trafficking." Salvation Army (2005).
Lee, Martin A. "Women and Children for Sale: The Globalization of Sexual Slavery." Common Dreams News Center: San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 5, 2001. < http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0305-06.htm>
Miko, Francis T., Grace Park. "Trafficking in Women and Children: The U.S. and International Response." CRS Report for Congress, Congressional Research Service. March 18, 2002.
Thompson, Lisa. "What is the Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking?" IAST. Alexandria, VA (2004). < http://www.iast.net/>
Van Sant, Peter. "Rescued From Sex Slavery." 48 Hours: CBS News, February 2005.
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