Watch this first, and then read the facts below for a 10 minute primer on the Sex Trafficking issue in the world. May these 10 minute investment turn into a lifetime of bringing justice through our lives.
The following facts are pulled from Salvation Army’s website:
Sexual Trafficking is a form of slavery. It happens when human beings are sold and bought for the purposes of sexual exploitation. It includes people (mostly women and girls) being recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received. These actions are accomplished by means of force, the threat of force, or other forms of coercion. Trafficking can happen across international borders or within them. It is always involuntary because even when consent is achieved, it is through some form of fraud, deception, abduction/kidnapping or abuse of power/vulnerability.
Extent of the problem:
- Estimates range from a low of 700,000 to a high of 4 million people who are trafficked annually worldwideii.
- The sale of human beings is run by international organized crime.
- Human trafficking is a $12 billion (USD) annual business. Profits from human trafficking fuel other criminal activities.
Who is being trafficked:
- 90% of people sexually trafficked are women and girls.
- People are trafficked internally, within their own countries, but also internationally.
- Poor women (from the Southern and Eastern hemispheres) are being shipped into rich countries to satisfy the sexual desires of (mostly) men. In this industry there are huge, noticeable power differentials, and many of these are based on race/class/economic lines.
- Members of society who are most at risk of sexual trafficking are women, the poor, youth, widows/abandoned wives, orphans/abandoned children, and those with histories of (sexual) abuse.
Why it happens:
- “Pull factor”: Demand for sex. There is a global marketplace made up of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of brothels, bars, strip clubs, massage parlours, escort services, and street corners where (mostly) men purchase people for sexual acts.
- “Push factors”: Poverty, high unemployment rates, domestic violence/childhood abuse, discrimination against women, desire for a better life and a way to help their families are factors that make women and girls more vulnerable to entry into the global sex trade.
Link with gender and poverty:
- International Human Sexual Trafficking is inextricably linked to the feminization of poverty.
- 70% of the world’s poor are womenv. Most of these women live in developing countries, and tolerate terrible conditions because, economically or culturally, there do not seem to be any other options available to them.
Link with pornography:
- Pornography is an element that adds to sexual trafficking. Many traffickers are found with filming equipment and cameras to create and sell pornography. Increasingly, pornographers are seeking younger and younger girls and boys for their films and pictures; thus, they have to go where the children are unprotected and vulnerable to capture.
Distinction ‐ Trafficking vs. Smuggling:
- Smuggling is when a person uses another individual or criminal organization to assist them in migrating illegally from one country to another.
- Whereas trafficking can happen within a country, smuggling requires the crossing of an international border. The transported person becomes a trafficked person only if – at any point – they are held in a slave‐like situation, or they are forced/coerced to pay off a debt through specific controlled situations in which a person is exploited sexually or for labour.
- Trafficking must contain an element of actual, perceived or implied force, fraud or coercion. Smuggling implies that a person made a choice, whereas trafficking is a circumstance of force and coercion.
Distinction ‐ Trafficking vs. Prostitution:
- Sometimes the terms prostitution and sexual trafficking are used interchangeably, but they are different.
- Trafficking requires an element of force, coercion, deception and exploitation (this is not always the case for prostitution, although the majority of women and girls in the “sex trade” work under significant duress).
- People are also trafficked sexually for many different aspects of commercial sexual exploitation; not just prostitution.
- In Victoria, Australia. Prostitution was legalized in 1994. This led to a massive increase in the sex industry, and also the levels of sex trafficking into the country.
God have mercy on us!