Sex trafficking ('seks 'traf-fik-ing\ noun): Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person included to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years (acf.hhs.gov)
History of Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking has been an issue for centuries. However, according to Gozdziak and Collett (2005), sex trafficking has only been documented as a national issue since the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century, sex trafficking was referred to as the “White Slave Trade” in which they would abduct white women and force them into prostitution. After being brought to the world’s attention, nations all over the world wrote the International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade and banned the trafficking of women into other countries, and later it included trafficking within national borders. However, these measures did not outlaw prostitution. In 1933, The International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women was written and prohibited the trafficking of women for means of prostitution into another country. Sex trafficking was also very popular in times of war. Women and children who were taken captive were sexually exploited by the soldiers
Who Does Sex Trafficking Affect and Why Does It Matter?
Sex trafficking typically affects women and children (98% of all sex trafficking). Sex trafficking matters because it is the modern day form of slavery and it dehumanizes women by sexually exploiting them. Women and children are forced into performing sexual services in order to pay back their “debt” to their traffickers. They are dehumanized and have abusive relationships with every person they encounter. Women and children are objectified, sold, raped, physically abused, and forced into drug addiction by their traffickers. Women and children are often looked at as the criminal (not the victim) because the general population has a common belief that these women and children have done this to themselves. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by every nation so that women and children that are subject to sex trafficking can gain control of their own lives, be treated fairly, and moved out of harms way.
Our group decided to focus on six main topics that the research presented:
How Sex Trafficking is Gendered
There are many ways in which sex trafficking is gendered. It is assumed that only men are sexual consumers and the desire to use women for sex is expected of men. Statistically, women are grossly more trafficked than men. Men are usually the perpetrators who both sell and buy trafficked women. Women are easier to be intimidated physically by men. Women are routinely objectified, beaten, and raped during sexual exploitation; these methods are used to control them. Women are objectified when their bodies are reduced to an item to be bought. Young girls are trafficked because of their purity and innocence, which our culture values only of females. In most places, there is political targeting of women, making them the recipients of punishment rather than men; however, in the definition, Swedish law identifies women as the victims of sexual exploitation. It is understood that female poverty is a large factor in women’s vulnerability; it is much easier to take advantage of poor, disadvantaged women. Women in poorer countries are sometimes so desperate for opportunities abroad, such as jobs or marriage proposals, that they are easily deceived into trusting men who are interested in exploiting them.
What You Can Do
Here a few ways you can help stop sex trafficking:
This site was created by: Kourtney Ikeler, Jessica Syversen, Victoria Taylor, Michael Albert, and Paige Radcliff
10 Things Everyone Should Know
1. Sex trafficking is becoming so prevalent it is likely to become the number one international crime within the next ten years.
2. In the case of sexual exploitation, women and girls make up 98% and men and boys make up 2%. Around half of trafficking victims in the world are under the age of 18.
3. No region of the world is unaffected by sex trafficking. However, sex traffickers usually sell the victims to buyers from developed countries.
4. The homicide rate among active female prostitutes is 17 times higher than that of the general population.
5. The average cost of a slave around the world is $90.
6. Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business that brings in approximately $19 billion dollars a year.
7. There is only one shelter in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of trafficking victims. There is a total of seven to nine victims currently living there.
8. Every 30 seconds, another woman or child becomes a victim of sex trafficking.
9. 73% of U.S. women prostitutes reported that men would pay more for sex without a condom.
10. There are more human slaves today than there ever has been in history.
Administration of Children and Families. (2011). Sex trafficking fact sheet. Retrieved April 4, 2011 from http://www.acf.hhs.gove/trafficking/about.fact_sex.pdf
DoSomething.org. (2011). 11 facts about human trafficking. Retrieved April 24, 2011 from http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-human-trafficking
Gozdziak, E.M. & Collett E.A. (2005). Research on human trafficking in North America: A review of the literature. International Migration, 43:99–128. doi: 10.1111/j.0020-7985.2005.00314.x
Hepburn, S. & Simon, R.J. (2010). Hidden in plain sight: Human trafficking in the United States. Gender Issues, 27:1-26. doi:10.1007/s12147-010-9087-7
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Youth Leaders Making Change. (2011). Sex trafficking. Retrieved April 24, 2011 from http://www.youthnoise.com/page.php?page_id=6393