There are an estimated 20.9 Million people trapped in some form of slavery today. It’s sometimes called “Modern-Day Slavery” and sometimes “Human Trafficking." At all times it is slavery at its core. Sex trafficking is a crime when women, men and children are forcefully involved in commercial sex trade. Worldwide, it's estimated that there are 4.5 million victims of sex trafficking.
Worldwide, false promises are ways in which traffickers bait and enslave their victims – both adults and minors. Indigenous populations and those who live in abject poverty are typically economically and politically marginalized; thus, most lack rights and access to basic services such as education which make them particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking.
Many times, people from these communities are offered false employment opportunities in major cities. For example, men and boys are sent overseas to work in construction and agriculture but are also forced to perform commercial sex acts. Women and young girls offered jobs as models, nannies, waitresses or dancers. Some traffickers operate under the guise of agencies that offer services. However, upon arrival, these individuals are abused, threatened and sold in the sex industry.
Often, traffickers keep victims under their control by saying that they’ll be free after they pay their debt. The “debt” is supposedly incurred from the victims’ recruitment, transportation, upkeep or even their crude “sale.” Thus, sex trafficking may occur within debt bondage/bonded labor. Victims of sex trafficking may eventually perform other functions, in addition to being forced sex workers. Some traffickers use sex trafficking victims to recruit or transport other victims.
As a result, when sex trafficking victims are caught, they might be detained and prosecuted for criminal activity (e.g., prostitution). However, a legal charge is only one area of concern. Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for the trafficked individual. Victims may suffer from long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, malnutrition and social ostracism. Sex trafficking involves three elements- the process, the means and the goal.
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons who under threat, force, coercion, fraud, deception or abuse of power are sexually exploited for the financial gain of another. At the core, sex trafficking is characterized by sexual exploitation through force, fraud or coercion. For children (anyone under 18 years old), consent is irrelevant, and the element of means (e.g., force) is not necessary.
U.A.E, Dubai, Abudabi, Sharja, Middle East, Bahrain, Manama, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Myanmar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Bangkok, Pataya U.S.A etc…… etc….. is a source, transit and destination country for sex trafficking victims. Trafficked men, women and children are typically taken to brothels, escort services, massage parlors, strip clubs, dance bars, night clubs or hotels and are prostituted on the streets or forced to participate in pornography. Victims may also be trafficked within there country or sent to other industrialized states.
Supply and demand have increased through the years partially due to the internet and the ease with which traffickers and customers can discreetly complete a transaction. Traffickers utilize social media, dating sites and online advertisements to market minors and trafficked victims. Ads seemingly posted by a person are created or monitored by traffickers. Traffickers lie about the victim’s age and may even disguise themselves as the person in the ad when communicating with johns via the internet or phone. Some websites try to screen ads for trafficking; however, the sheer volume of ads makes this process a daunting task.
Human trafficking can also be linked to forced marriage. Forced marriage is a marriage without the consent of one or both parties, and Indian government considers forced marriage to be a violation of human rights. In the case of minors, it’s also a case of child enslavement. Forced marriage is a mix of several forms of slavery, including forced labor, sexual enslavement and domestic servitude. Due to the, often, unofficial and undocumented nature of most forced marriages, statistics on forced marriage vary. In 2003, the International Center for Research on Women estimated that over 51 million girls under the age of 18 were forcibly married. Not only in India but forced and early marriages are also most common in impoverished states in U.A.E, Africa, South Asia as well as the former Soviet republics. However, there are still cases of forced and early marriage in more affluent North American and European countries.
Bonded labor is designed to exploit workers. The cyclical process begins with a debt, whether acquired or inherited, that cannot be paid immediately. Then, while the worker labors to repay the debt, the employer continues to add on additional expenses. For instance, a laborer may begin with an initial debt of $200. While working and unable to leave, this worker needs a shelter, food and water. The employer tacks on $25 per day to the debt to cover those expenses. Consequently, the employee only grows his debt while continuing to labor for his debtor, and repayment is impossible.
Forced domestic servitude occurs throughout the world. Migrant workers are often vulnerable to domestic servitude, and some recruiting agencies trick workers into moving abroad and then confiscate their documents. This leaves workers stuck inside a home with no power to walk away. In many cases, these workers-turned-slaves are beaten by the families they serve and work from very early in the morning to late at night. Oftentimes, these individuals do not speak the language of the country they are in, are fearful of immigration officials or are unable to make contact outside of the home they serve. Forced domestic servitude is quite common in Dubai, Malaysia. These victims are forced to work as enslaved domestic servants, and there are hundreds of stories of these victims facing extreme beatings and inhumane living conditions.
Migrant laborers are particularly vulnerable to this form of enslavement. In their home countries, migrant laborers contract with labor agencies and employers for a destination country, looking for an economic opportunity. These situations are ripe for exploitation because agencies and employers hold a debt or a bond over these employees. Instead of honoring a genuine term of employment, some recruiters or employers unlawfully exploit the initial debt by adding immigration, housing and other fees that are designed to keep the migrant workers from ever being capable of repayment. In some scenarios, these recruiters and employers confiscate legal immigration documents, making legal employees entirely dependent on them, or require the temporary work in order to maintain their legal status. In other instances, recruiters falsify documents or ignore them altogether, once again making migrant workers vulnerable and dependent. In these situations, workers often fear seeking redress.
The international Palermo Protocol requires the criminalization of bonded labor as a form of trafficking. Still, this particular system of slavery is deeply entrenched around the world.
More than a quarter of the world’s slaves are children. These children are forced to commit commercial sex acts, forced into a system of domestic servitude or employed in occupations that are mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Forced labor is most coerced, often physically and some times without pay. All other categories of slavery are a subset of forced labor and can include domestic servitude, child labor, bonded labor and forced sex. State authorities, businesses and individuals force coercive labor practices upon people in order to profit or gain from their work.
Supply needs and industry demand for cheap, unskilled labor are some of the leading causes of child labor. Specifically, production processes that require certain physical attributes, such as small stature and agility, lead to the employment of children. In addition, price pressures encourage suppliers - especially those at the top of the supply chain - to find the cheapest labor. Poverty leads these children to accept the job, or their parents ask them to work to supplement the family income. These supply and demand factors are reinforced by systemic, structural issues such as lack of access to education, inadequate employment opportunities for the educated, corruption and social stratification. Today, child labor is present in many industries. Child labor is the enslavement (i.e., sale, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom, compulsory labor) of anyone under the age of 18. The definition includes the use of children in armed conflict, prostitution and illegal activities such as drug trafficking. Lastly, any work deemed to be harmful to the health, safety or morals of a child is considered to be child labor.
Around the world, an influx in sex tourism, the insatiable demand for child pornography and greed play key roles in the prevalence of child sex slavery and trafficking. In addition to strangers, family and close friends have been known to sell children off to individuals, businesses and groups involved in the sex industry. Once sold, the children are forced to perform commercial sex acts. In most countries abroad, any commercial sex with a minor is considered sex trafficking.
These adolescents are chosen by traffickers for different reasons. Although kids from broken families, runaways and poor children are at higher risk of being trafficked, middle and upper class children may also be targeted. Generally, online predators and individuals looking to profit from the sex trade pick children that have certain insecurities and vulnerabilities – someone they can manipulate and dominate. It is through this manipulation and domination that traffickers are able to continuously sell and profit from the children. The standard price for sex at a brothel in the U.S. is $30. Typically, trafficked children see 25-48 customers a day. They work up to 12 hours a day, every day of the week; every year, a pimp earns between $150,000 and $200,000 per child.
Abuse and indoctrination, mixed with alcohol and drug addiction, enable traffickers to enslave these children for years. Child sexual slavery and trafficking are connected to other forms of slavery. Children may be forced into domestic servitude and, along the way, are sexually abused by their new family. At times, minors are forced into marrying to give the family financial stability or to pay off a debt.
Forced marriage can be coupled with other forms of slavery. Children who are trafficked for sex may also be sold into forced marriages. An adult who is forcibly married may then be trafficked for labor or sex by and for the financial gain of his or her spouse. Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage, or the extraction of organs or tissues, including for surrogacy and ova removal. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim's rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
In India, the trafficking in persons for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced marriages and domestic servitude is considered an organized crime. The Government of India applies the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, active from February 3, 2013, as well as Section 370 and 370A IPC, which defines human trafficking and "provides stringent punishment for human trafficking; trafficking of children for exploitation in any form including physical exploitation; or any form of sexual exploitation, slavery, servitude or the forced removal of organs." Additionally, a Regional Task Force implements the SAARC Convention on the prevention of trafficking in Women and Children.
Also the Indian government announced the implementation of a Comprehensive Scheme that involves the establishment of Integrated Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in 335 vulnerable police districts throughout India, as well as capacity building that includes training for police, prosecutors and judiciary. As of the announcement, 225 Integrated AHTUs had been made operational while 100 more AHTUs were proposed for the forthcoming financial year.
Organized criminals can generate up to several thousand dollars per day from one trafficked girl, and the Internet has further increased profitability of sex trafficking and child trafficking. With faster access to a wider clientele, more sexual encounters can be scheduled. Victims and clients, according to a report on sex trafficking in minors, increasingly use the Internet to meet customers.
Studies have identified the Internet as the single biggest facilitator of commercial sex trade, although it is difficult to ascertain which women advertised are sex trafficking victims. Traffickers and pimps use the Internet to recruit minors, since Internet and social networking sites usage have significantly increased especially among children.
Women and girls are more prone to trafficking also because of social norms that marginalize their value and status in society. Females face considerable gender discrimination both at home and in school. Stereotypes that women belong at home in the private sphere and that women are less valuable because they do not and are not allowed to contribute to formal employment and monetary gains the same way men do further marginalize women's status relative to men. Some religious beliefs also lead people to believe that the birth of girls are a result of bad karma, further cementing the belief that girls are not as valuable as boys. Various social norms contribute to women's inferior position and lack of knowledge, thus making them vulnerable to exploitation such as sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking victims face threats of violence from many sources, including customers, pimps, brothel owners, madams, traffickers, and corrupt local law enforcement officials. Raids as an anti-sex trafficking measure severely impact sex trafficked victims. Because of their complicated legal status and their language barriers, the arrest or fear of arrest creates stress and other emotional trauma for trafficking victims. Victims may also experience physical violence from law enforcement during raids.
Trafficking victims are also exposed to different psychological stressors. They suffer social alienation in the host and home countries. Stigmatization, social exclusion, and intolerance make reintegration into local communities difficult. The governments offer little assistance and social services to trafficked victims upon their return. As the victims are also pushed into drug trafficking, many of them face criminal sanctions also.
The use of coercion by perpetrators and traffickers involves the use of extreme control. Perpetrators expose the victim to high amounts of psychological stress induced by threats, fear, and physical and emotional violence. Tactics of coercion are reportedly used in three phases of trafficking: recruitment, initiation, and indoctrination. During the initiation phase, traffickers use foot-in-the-door techniques of persuasion to lead their victims into various trafficking industries. This manipulation creates an environment where the victim becomes completely dependent upon the authority of the trafficker. Traffickers take advantage of family dysfunction, homelessness, and history of childhood abuse to psychologically manipulate women and children into the trafficking industry.
One form of psychological coercion particularly common in cases of sex trafficking and forced prostitution is Stockholm syndrome. Many women entering into the sex trafficking industry are minors whom have already experienced prior sexual abuse. Traffickers take advantage of young girls by luring them into the business through force and coercion, but more often through false promises of love, security, and protection. This form of coercion works to recruit and initiate the victim into the life of a sex worker, while also reinforcing a "trauma bond", also known as Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response where the victim becomes attached to her perpetrator.
The goal of a trafficker is to turn a human being into a slave. To do this, perpetrators employ tactics that can lead to the psychological consequence of learned helplessness for the victims, where they sense that they no longer have any autonomy or control over their lives. Traffickers may hold their victims captive, expose them to large amounts of alcohol or use drugs, keep them in isolation, or withhold food or sleep. During this time the victim often begins to feel the onset of depression, guilt and self-blame, anger and rage, and sleep disturbances, PTSD, numbing, and extreme stress. Under these pressures, the victim can fall into the hopeless mental state of learned helplessness.
For victims of specifically trafficked for the purpose of forced prostitution and sexual slavery, initiation into the trade is almost always characterized by violence. Traffickers hunt down their victims and employ practices of sexual abuse, torture, brainwashing, repeated rape and physical assault until the victim submits to his or her fate as a sexual slave. Victims experience verbal threats, social isolation, and intimidation before they accept their role as a prostitute.
For those enslaved in situations of forced labor, learned helplessness can also manifest itself through the trauma of living as a slave. Reports indicate that captivity for the person and financial gain of their owners adds additional psychological trauma. Victims are often cut off from all forms of social connection, as isolation allows the perpetrator to destroy the victim's sense of self and increase his or her dependence on the perpetrator.
Trafficking in organs is a form of human trafficking. It can take different forms. In some cases, the victim is compelled into giving up an organ. In other cases, the victim agrees to sell an organ in exchange of money/goods, but is not paid (or paid less). Finally, the victim may have the organ removed without the victim's knowledge (usually when the victim is treated for another medical problem/illness – real or orchestrated problem/illness). Migrant workers, homeless persons, and illiterate persons are particularly vulnerable to this form of exploitation. Trafficking of organs is an organized crime, involving several offenders. Trafficking for organ trade often seeks kidneys, Eyes, Leaver, Heart, and Pancreas. Trafficking in organs is a lucrative trade because in many countries the waiting lists for patients who need transplants are very long. Long waiting lists for organs in the United States and Europe created a thriving international black market. Traffickers harvest organs, particularly kidneys, Eyes, Leaver, Heart, and Pancreas to sell for large profit and often without properly caring for or compensating the victims. Victims often come from sex trade, who are infected or can’t work, poor, rural communities and see few other options than to sell organs. Wealthy countries' inability to meet organ demand within their own borders preps. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, online classified ads reduce the risks of finding prospective customers.
Human trafficking victims may experience complex trauma as a result of repeated cases of intimate relationship trauma over long periods of time including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, domestic violence, forced prostitution, or gang rape. Complex trauma involves multifaceted conditions of depression, anxiety, self-hatred, dissociation, substance abuse, self-destructive behaviors, medical and somatic concerns, despair, and re-victimization. Psychology researchers report that, although similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex trauma is more expansive in diagnosis because of the effects of prolonged trauma.
Psychological reviews have shown that the chronic stress experienced by many victims of human trafficking can compromise the immune system. Several studies found that chronic stressors (like trauma or loss) suppressed cellular and hum-oral immunity. Victims may develop STDs and HIV/AIDS. Perpetrators frequently use substance abuse as a means to control their victims, which leads to compromised health, self-destructive behavior, and long-term physical harm. Furthermore, victims have reported treatment similar to torture, where their bodies are broken and beaten into submission.
Children are especially vulnerable to these developmental and psychological consequences of trafficking because they are so young. In order to gain complete control of the child, traffickers often destroy physical and mental health of the children through persistent physical and emotional abuse. Victims experience severe trauma on a daily basis that devastates the healthy development of self-concept, self-worth, biological integrity, and cognitive functioning. Children who grow up in constant environments of exploitation frequently exhibit antisocial behavior, over-sexualized behavior, self-harm, aggression, distrust of adults, dissociate disorders, substance abuse, complex trauma, and attention deficit disorders. Stockholm syndrome is also a common problem for girls while they are trafficked, which can hinder them from both trying to escape, and moving forward in psychological recovery programs.
Although 98% of the sex trade is composed of women and girls there is an effort to gather empirical evidence about the psychological impact of abuse common in sex trafficking upon young boys. Boys often will experience forms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but also additional stressors of social stigma of homosexuality associated with sexual abuse for boys, and externalization of blame, increased anger, and desire for revenge.
Children still face challenges even when they reach out for help, escape or are rescued. Some survivors of child sex trafficking are, at first, arrested and treated as delinquents. Society prescribed labels for those in the sex industry are often degrading, and children feel as if they can’t live a normal life anymore. They might think that they’re stuck living a life of prostitution and that they don’t have any options. In some cases and in many cultures, children – particularly girls – that have been sexually violated are no longer accepted in their families or communities because they are seen as tainted.
Sex trafficking increases the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic can be both a cause and a consequence of sex trafficking. On one hand, child-prostitutes are sought by customers because they are perceived as being less likely to be HIV positive, and this demand leads to child sex trafficking. On the other hand, trafficking leads to the proliferation of HIV, because victims, being vulnerable and often young/inexperienced, cannot protect themselves properly, and get infected.
Human trafficking generated an estimated $7 billion to $9.5 billion per annum as of 2004. Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations.
According to estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO), every year the human trafficking industry generates 32 billion USD, half of which ($15.5 billion) is made in industrialized countries, and a third of which ($9.7 billion) is made in Asia. A 2011 paper published in Human Rights Review, "Sex Trafficking: Trends, Challenges and Limitations of International Law", notes that, since 2000, the number of sex-trafficking victims has risen while costs associated with trafficking have declined: "Coupled with the fact that trafficked sex slaves are the single most profitable type of slave, costing on average $1,895 each but generating $29,210 annually, [there are] stark predictions about the likely growth in commercial sex slavery in the future. Sex trafficking victims rarely get a share of the money that they make through coerced sex work, which further keeps them oppressed.