Join the Anti-Humantrafficking Movement
Human Trafficking: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons:
by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC): the use of a child for sexual purposes in exchange for cash or in-kind favors between the customer, intermediary or agent and others who profit from the trade in children for these purposes (parent, family member, procurer, teacher).
I. The Rise of Human Trafficking
Though human trafficking has been present for hundreds of years in the form of what we consider conventional slavery, it has evolved into a lucrative business. The most notable evolution into this form of organized crime can be observed by studying Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990’s, after the fall of communism. People were struggling to form democracies without the means or knowledge on how to do so. Economies were faltering, people were out of work. The educated and uneducated alike were on a constant hunt for the next opportunity to make money. At this point, we saw the emergence of what the world considers to be modern-day human trafficking. There were numerous problems in these countries at this time, and focus was not on this gradual and hidden trend. A few quick case studies, as related by one of the premier experts on human trafficking in the world, Maria Velikonja:
(DDH/HRRC Fact Sheet)
Victims of sex trafficking can be women or men, girls or boys, but the majority are women and girls. There are a number of common
patterns for luring victims into situations of sex trafficking, including:
• A promise of a good job in another country
• A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
• Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends
• Being kidnapped by traffickers
Sex traffickers use a variety of methods to “condition” their victims including starvation,confinement, beatings, physical abuse, rape, gang rape, threats of violence to the victims and the victims’ families, forced drug use and the
threat of shaming their victims by revealing their activities to their family and their families’ friends.
Victims face numerous health risks. Physical risks include drug and alcohol addiction; physical injuries (broken bones, concussions,
burns, vaginal/anal tearing); traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting in memory loss, dizziness, headaches, numbness; sexually
transmitted diseases (e.g., HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, UTIs, pubic lice); sterility, miscarriages, menstrual problems; other diseases
(e.g., TB, hepatitis, malaria, pneumonia); and forced or coerced abortions.
Psychological harms include mind/body separation/disassociated ego states, shame, grief, fear, distrust, hatred of men, self-hatred,
suicide, and suicidal thoughts. Victims are at risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – acute anxiety, depression, insomnia,
physical hyper-alertness, self-loathing that is long-lasting and resistant to change (complex-PTSD).
Victims may also suffer from traumatic bonding – a form of coercive control in which the perpetrator instills in the victim fear as well
as gratitude for being allowed to live.
Victims of trafficking are forced into various forms of commercial sexual exploitation including prostitution, pornography, stripping,
live-sex shows, mail-order brides, military prostitution and sex tourism.
Victims trafficked into prostitution and pornography are usually involved in the most exploitive forms of commercial sex operations.
Sex trafficking operations can be found in highly-visible venues such as street prostitution, as well as more underground systems
such as closed-brothels that operate out of residential homes. Sex trafficking also takes place in a variety of public and private
locations such as massage parlors, spas, strip clubs and other fronts for prostitution. Victims may start off dancing or stripping in
clubs and then be coerced into situations of prostitution and pornography.