Human trafficking describes a variety of methods in which one person or a group of people force others to engage in activities, often against their will, that will benefit the aggressor in some way. Victims of human trafficking are regularly stripped of basic rights, and have limited freedom to act outside their aggressor’s commands. For the purpose of this paper, the sex trade will be the specific focus of human trafficking both domestically and abroad. Over the last few decades, the sex trade has become an even more profitable business than ever before, generating over a billion dollars per year. While sex trafficking happens outside the United States, US citizens are often ignorant to the fact that it occurs within the country as well. This paper will address the fact that sex trafficking is not only an issue in countries outside the US, but how it is also a domestic problem. In addition, the common ages and genders of those who are trafficked will be discussed, as well as the motives and reasoning behind the sex trade and its aggressors.
Unveiling the Victims of Sex Trafficking both Domestically and Abroad A Review of the Literature
Over the past few decades, sex trafficking has become an extremely profitable and sophisticated industry. It makes profit by devastating and humiliating the lives of innocent victims by using them as sexual objects. By doing this, the sex trade strips its victims of both their dignity and humanity. According to Iris Yen (2008), human trafficking affects every country in the world. This means that there is not a single country, including the United States, that is completely safe from sex trafficking. Theoretically, it can affect anyone in the world, which makes it such a large scale social problem, while still remaining an appropriate example of what constitutes deviance. In order to get a more focused scope of sex trafficking, the following questions must be answered:
1. What exactly is “sex trafficking?”
2. Who is mainly trafficked for sex (gender, age, etc.)? And why?
3. How does the United States compare on a global level to some other countries in
regards to sex trafficking?
4. What can/is being done in order to reduce the amount of sex trafficking in our
Understanding the complexities of the sex trade and how it operates will prove that sex trafficking affects mostly women and children in all countries world wide. There are no exceptions, but with the help of advocacy groups, propaganda, the internet, and policy makers, this inhumane act could be brought to an eventual end. What exactly is “sex trafficking?”
“Sex trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, and harboring of persons--primarily women and children--for the purpose of sexual exploitation into prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and other commercial sex activities” (Yen, 2008, p. 654). Sex trafficking is clearly a multifaceted problem that involves a few categories and types. Yet the end result is the same no matter the category of sex trafficking: utter disrespect for the human body. What could be the source to such a terrible act?
While sex trafficking has existed throughout most of recorded history (Andrijasevic, 2007, p. 33), campaigning against it is a relatively new concept. Andrijasevic explains that even in Biblical times, prostitution (although obviously condemned by the Bible) exists and is even mentioned quite a bit. It is clear that sex trade has existed for a while, but the realization that is often done against the victims will came much later (p. 38). The women were labeled as whores (and obviously still are today by much of the population), but not victims. Interestingly, Andrijasevic points out, adult women are considered whores, but child sex slaves are seen almost unanimously as victims (p. 38). This is obviously because of the age in which they are trafficked, yet the general population seems neglect that both...
References: Andrijasevic, Rutvica (2007). Beautiful dead bodies: gender, migration and representation in anti-trafficking campaigns. Feminist Review, No. 86, 22-44. Retrieved from
Aromaa, K., & Lehti, M., (2006). Trafficking for sexual exploitation. Crime and Justice, Volume 34, pp. 133-227. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10/1086/650306
Davidons, J.O., (2006)
Flowers, (R.B., May, 2001). The sex trade industry’s worldwide exploitation of children. Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 575, Children’s Rights, pp. 147-157. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1049185
Schauer, E.J., Wheaton, E.M., (2006)
Soderlund, Gretchen, (Autumn, 2005)
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