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Transcript of Sex Trafficking
Cause of sex trafficking
Some people 'willingly'
go into sex trafficking
to escape poverty.
> devaluation of women
> political instability
> survival sex (homelessness)
Power imbalances between men and women can result in an increase in sex tourism (in LEDCs)
70% of people in extreme poverty around the world are women
This practice is thriving in SE Asia.
It can also lead to forced marriage.
Causes of sex trafficking
Scenario A: Women are plied with
drugs to the point where they are dependent on them. >Are given drugs as a 'reward' for participating in sexual acts.
Scenario B: Addicts are targeted, and forced to enter sex trade. >Drugs are used as rewards.
Hardest factor to tackle.
In some cultures, it is widely accepted (Netherlands), or at the very least tolerated ("It's just like going to the supermarket": East London). In others, it is condemned, and can be seen as a form of male sexual violence against women and children (Sweden).
The market value for sex trafficking is $32 billion.
Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery. It is part of a broader term: human trafficking, and relates to the "recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipts of persons, by the means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion ... for the purpose of exploitation", which in this case is sexual exploitation.
An estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders each year.
Virtually every country in the world is affected by this issue.
Swedish Model (also known as Nordic Model)
- Buyers are criminalised (MVAW). In Stockholm, street prostitution has reduced by 2/3rds. Lawmakers claim that trafficking has drastically decreased, however, by criminalising buyers, the Swedish government is pushing this industry underground, where sex trafficking is more hidden and dangerous as ever.
The practice of criminalising clients can also be seen in Canada and Norway.
Street prostitution, escort service, pimping and brothels were decriminalised in 2003 leading to higher condom use and better working conditions. Illegal sex trafficking did not increase.
36/50 states criminalises children for prostitution despite the fact that federal law recognises under 18 year olds to be victims of sex trafficking. 15% of men regularly buy sex but are rarely penalised.
Over 1/3rd of sex workers report that they have been coerced to sleep with a police officer. Abuse of power, corruption, and lack of accountability, is a clear failure of the Russian police force and government.
Prostitution is legal and prevalent. In Amsterdam, "lover boys" can be found (often of North African descent), they "befriend" teenagers and develop a co-dependent relationship with them, with the expectation that the girls will turn to prostitution when they turn 18. This is a form of grooming, yet despite media outrage and "moral panic", not much is known about the issue. Instead, it is considered a form of modern pimping.
The reason I chose to look at sex trafficking is that it is such a pervasive and destructive issue in our society, and it continues to be very much a 'hidden crime'. Johns are often people with authority, wishing to lord their power over vulnerable people, and many of them are in close proximity with children in their working lives. Victims of sex trafficking are so devalued that they are considered less of a person.
It's worth noting, that where a child is under 18 and is involved in the sex trade (willing or not), they are automatically considered a victim of sex trafficking, as according to UN guidelines.
Despite this, children are criminalised all over the world for being involved in prostitution. This is a clear failure of local authorities, the justice system, and the political system as a whole. Children are (in most cases) simultaneously victims and perpetrators.
For women, they are only considered victims of sex trafficking, if they lack autonomy and consent, however, the lines become blurred when we start looking at migratory prostitution.
The queer community, and men (and boys) are vulnerable to sex trafficking, however, are often ignored in favour of pursuing the criminals who are targeting women and girls.
The lines between sex trafficking and prostitution must be better defined.
UK Government Successes and Failures
Legislation on prostitution is inconsistent and confusing. As a result, the police are left wondering whether they should prosecute or help sex workers.
Brothel raids are ineffective as most forms of sex trafficking takes place behind closed communities. > Success rate of less than 1%.
The UK government considers migrant sex workers to be victims of sex trafficking (conflating the issue) yet crime against sex workers are not prioritised.
-> Merseyside Chief Constable labels VASW as a hate crime.
The Merseyside Model is one of the clear successes of UK policy and enforcement.
SCD9 (specialised police force) has a poor record on finding and prosecuting pimps, and protecting victims of sex trafficking.
From The Pimp Game: An Instructional Manual (Renting Lucy), describing the grooming/breaking process:
"You’ll start to dress her, think for her, own her. If you and your victim are sexually active, slow it down. After sex, take her shopping for one item. Hair and/or nails is fine. She’ll develop a feeling of accomplishment. This shopping after a month will be replaced with cash. The love making turns into raw sex. She’ll start to crave the intimacy and be willing to get back into your good graces. After you have broken her spirit, she has no sense of self value. Now pimp, put a price tag on the item you’ve manufactured."
In India, daughters, as young as eight or nine, are offered as "gifts" to priests.
In other countries, police corruption factors into the demand for sex trafficking.
"If there were no customers, there would be no prostitution"
(and there would be no sex trafficking)
As prostitution and sex trafficking is inextricably linked, it's hard to separate the issues, resulting in inaccurate data and inflated statistics.
Every country has a different view on how best to tackle sex trafficking, however, one thing is clear: women (and children) must stop being viewed as criminals.