The Global Sex Trade and Women as the Supplier
Women involved or forced into sex work (prostitution) are striped of dignity and self-worth they come from poverty, migration and cultural backgrounds that face gender inequality (Bhat & Pushpam, 2013, p. 3). Forced prostitution is a global problem but is more prevalent in poorer countries (True, 2013). Victims of prostitution affect women and children of all ages (Bhat & Pushpam, 2013, p. 3). The sex industry thrives making billions of dollars and is funded by investors, crooked recruiters, and even corrupt government employees (Bhat & Pushpam, 2013, p. 3). Females involved in the sex trade face inhuman treatment they are raped, demoralized, defeated and will never live a normal life again (Bhat & Pushpam, 2013, p. 3). Many women will migrate across borders in search for economic stability but instead will be coerced into sex work (Wonders & Danner, 2002). Women in poorer countries with low social class face gender inequalities mainly because of cultural and political misguidance. Strategies that can help prevent women from forced prostitution and sex work include higher pay, a support system for women to get an education, and government reforms to help prevent migration and the people that keep the industry thriving.
Effects of Poverty on Women
Sex workers can exist anywhere but are primarily more prevalent in poorer countries and women and children who participate or who are forced into sex work do so
The sex industry alone produces $99 billion in illegal profits2, making it one of the largest slave trade industries in the world. Victims are forced to work in this commercial industry against their will, and are constantly subjected to physical and emotional violence, which takes advantage of their economic, physical, and psychological vulnerability. To ensure they don’t escape, victims are kept locked in their rooms, and are constantly threatened and beaten by their traffickers. Their traffickers or pimps will also take hold of any forms of identification and justify their bondage on the victims by saying they have to repay the ‘debt’ they owe them, making it impossible for victims to
Sex trafficking is essentially systemic rape for profit. Force, fraud and coercion are used to control the victim’s behavior which may secure the appearance of consent to please the buyer (or john). Behind every transaction is violence or the threat of violence (Axtell par. 4). Just a decade ago, only a third of the countries studied by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had legislation against human trafficking. (Darker Side, par.1) Women, children, and even men are taken from their homes, and off of the streets and are brought into a life that is almost impossible to get out of. This life is not one of choice, it is in most times by force. UNODC estimates that the total international human trafficking is a
“When women say the harm in sex work comes not from the act of selling sex, but from the stigma and violence surrounding it because of its illegal nature, we must hear them.” (Datta). If prostitutes could turn to police for help from an abusive pimp or unwanted client, without the fear of being arrested, they would be able to work in a more secure and professional environment. Legalizing prostitution, can allow sex workers to form unions, make a safe environment for them, allow birth control and condoms. Thus reducing STD and unwanted pregnancies, and even give prostitutes the right to say no. “If sex workers should be required to get regular blood and STD tests, so should the clients who see them. Whether these two protections -- against violence and against disease -- come about through decriminalization or legalization depend upon the letter of the law.”
Another major consequence of legalizing prostitution becomes apparent when the legitimization of sex markets strengthen the criminal-enterprise of organized pimping (Poulin par. 19). Such bolstering, accompanied by a significant increase in sexual solicitation activities and human trafficking, brings with it the deterioration of these enslaved women (Poulin par. 19). Decriminalizing prostitution presents one of the root causes of sex-trafficking, to the extent that human trafficking promotes the delivery of people into slavery—a crime equally as old as civilization (Raymond par. 9). “Around the world, for those in desperate poverty, the false promise of a better life often draws victims into the control of criminals who then traffic and enslave them” (Bales par. 1). “Many victims of trafficking of persons begin their journey by consenting to be smuggled from one country to another. Because of this, the crimes ‘smuggling’ and ‘trafficking’ are often confused. Smuggling and trafficking both involve moving
The main reason thousands of women are forced or have to enter into sexual slavery and prostitution is because of poverty. According to the VTVPA, sex trafficking “means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act" (p. 8) and that a commercial sex act is "any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person" (p. 7). It is critical to understand that this includes the "pimping" or "prostituting" of
Most people throughout the world would think of slavery as an issue of the past, but sex trafficking is today’s form of “modern day slavery” (Countryman-Roswurm, 2014). Sex trafficking has become the fastest growing and most profitable criminal enterprise in the world due to the fact that people can be sold over and over again. Corrupt governments have tried to cover this issue up and have worked alongside traffickers to help them obtain illegal documents to continue operating (Deshpande et al., 2013). The effects of this crime causes victims of trafficking to have many emotional, physical, and mental traumas (Deshpande et al., 2013).
Policies and laws fail to stop prostitution, and it will not stop. It is more costly to keep prostitution illegal. Prostitutes will be more vulnerable to getting criminal records, which then makes it harder for them in society, to obtain legal jobs. Also, with prostitution being illegal the workers may not be able to protect themselves from crimes against them. As prostitution is not legal, then they have to find discreet places to work, which usually is not in a safe environment. If some kind of crime against them did happen, they may feel that, they aren’t able to go to the police for help, as their work is illegal. It actually makes it harder on the worker, in turn making it harder for the client. There are all sorts of people who turn to prostitutes. From blue collar workers to high executives of companies, business owners and more. With prostitution being illegal, the clients are facing criminal charges as well. This does not only hurt the client, but communities as well. The author believes that people around the world have changed their older views and sexual norms to adapt to a more modern society. Brents, B.A., Jackson, C.A., & Hausbeck, K. (2010) concludes that prostitution is better being legalized than being criminalized (p.233). And with this change, people should reevaluate and learn from Nevada’s policies on prostitution being legal. While the author has shown many reasons why
This article provided an overview of relevant issues surrounding contemporary sex trafficking, including risk factors. The article estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and child are sex trafficked every year. It also explains three main factors that play into sex trafficking: human rights, migration, and security. This article exemplifies women’s lack of agency in relation to their bodies. Although there are male sex workers, there are many more female workers, further exploiting women’s sexuality. This aids in the fear women grow up and live with; the fear of being sold.
However, after watching Trade and Born into Brothels it is apparent that these issues occur still.Geographical locations play an important role in understanding why sex trafficking occurs in these regions of the world because it opens up multiple questions about the treatment of women and how well these individuals are educated on protecting themselves during sexual
Economist Mark P. Lagon tells us that “ Legal prostitution both drives up the demand for victims of human trafficking and provides a veil behind which traffickers can hide their operations” (2014). The country of Zimbabwe shows evidence of this where, The Economist states “...the oldest profession has been decriminalized, a flood of young women and girls are joining it and driving down the prices” (2017). Along with the drop in compensation for prostitutes, there came an INCREASE in crime as a result of the turf war that comes with the new competition. As a result, older prostitutes are being forced out of the industry with nowhere to turn, because they have no other way to earn money. If they did, they would not have to be prostitutes in the first place. Mark P. Lagon points out the irony in that, “...(an) individual’s primary reason for entering the industry is financial desperation. Ironically, this data also demonstrates that prostitution, rather than helping prostituted peoples to escape the cycle of poverty, instead permanently entraps them”(2014). This embodies one of the harshest realities of being a prostitute; There is no way out. Lagon argues that this is because, “From as early as six years old, these women are molded to believe they have little earthly purpose other than to give pleasure to men” (2014). This is how Prostitutes’ desperation is taken advantage of by forcing them to sell their bodies,
However if the goal of criminalization is to end prostitution, it is clearly not yielding the desired results. Making the act of selling sex illegal actually causes the sex workers to go further underground, making them more vulnerable to police and poor working conditions. It creates a culture permitting violence against sex workers. In countries such as China, Cambodia and Vietnam where prostitution is also illegal, sex workers are detained in facilities for ‘rehabilitation’ or ‘re-education through labor’. The approach of these facilities is to punish sex workers for engaging in behavior that is regarded as a
There are many jobs in the world; maintenance jobs, industry jobs, in addition to service jobs. Not everyone enjoys their job, but for prostitutes along with sex slaves, they have no control over their job choice. Human trafficking is the New World’s version of slavery, with human trafficking being in the top three of illegal businesses in the United States, making 31.6 billion dollars in 2016. The United Nations says that over 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking, 80% of them being sex slaves. Even in today’s general public, there are still sex slaves on the streets, moreover, no one seems to try to aid victims of human trafficking. People choose to turn their heads away from sex slavery on account of sex being accepted as a normal practice in society.
Siri’s story illustrates the complicated dynamics of sex trafficking. Prostitution and sex work in general has become part of the global economy (Truong 1996). Some women choose to go into the sex industry while others are deceived or forced into it. Human trafficking networks usually use deception, coercion, or force to push women into sexual slavery. Some women migrate with the knowledge that they wil l be doing sex
The sex industry focuses on the women and children that are devastated by poverty. One can argue that prostitution is a survival strategy for women in absolute poverty, but it is the sex industry that locks them in poverty. Sex traders recruit women by promising them jobs, a
The trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of prostitution is big business. It has been and still is one of the biggest industries worldwide. These unfortunate women and girls do not lead normal lives, but rather they are bought and sold as commodities. They also usually have no control over their lives and live in conditions of extreme poverty and abuse. Trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor, and other abuse is suffered by women all over the world and it is a violation of human rights. The problem is one of international proportion. United States feminists as well as many nongovernmental organizations acknowledge that this is a huge problem that needs to be tackled with greater proportions. We