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According to Parrot (83), sexual slavery and sexual trafficking of children and women is growing at an elevated rate and has become widespread across the world and more especially in the United States. Human sex trafficking has been considered the most common form of present day slavery in various parts of the world. Sexual trafficking is defined as the movement of children and women, normally from one country to another, and sometimes within their own country, for the purposes of sexual servitude or prostitution for little money or no money altogether (Territo and Kirkham 117). Women voluntarily and consensually engaged in commercial sex without complaint.
There is an increased demand for juvenile girls in prostitute activities because they are believed to be free of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Sex slavery and human trafficking are characterized of abusing and beating juvenile girls in places far away from their places of origin, like Asia, Africa, or Eastern Europe (Parrot 83). In actual fact, human sex slavery and sex trafficking takes place locally in towns and cities, both small and large, across the United States, right in the neighborhoods of citizens. The trafficking of children and women for commercial sex has become a grievous issue for media, Governments, and Non-Governmental Organizations (Territo and Kirkham 117).
The sex industry
Nowadays, in the United States, commercial sex is available though go-go bars, strip shows, pornographic videos and shows, massage parlors, sex tours, escort services, and the Internet. The sex industry works in conjunction with various legitimate businesses such as the Internet. This enables the sex industry to advance into a modern and diversified initiative. The buyers and pimps on the Internet are financing the development as well as the expansion of the online business (Territo and Kirkham 111). The regulation and legalization of commercial sex has promoted abuse, violence, and a number of health problems in the sex industry. Parrot (79) argues that the decriminalization or legalization of the sex industry will reduce the illegal sector as well decrease the incidents of sex trafficking. However, this depends on the country, because in countries like Australia and Netherlands, the impacts of legalizing sex industry increases trafficking.
According to Murthy and Smith (51), an approximate of 700, 000 people yearly, primarily children and women, are trafficked in their own countries as well as across the international borders. Most of these individuals are trafficked into prostitution internationally, often by fraud, force, discrimination, prolonged unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to education in their native countries. In those countries where employment opportunities are scarce, various employees approach women and juvenile girls with employment offers such as dancers, waitress, or models abroad. Traffickers employ a variety of delusive promises to attract these women into the business of commercial sex.
The sex traffickers commit themselves in making arrangements for the women’s visas, passports, and travelling expenses. After the women have arrived in foreign countries, these sex traffickers confiscate their documents as a way of controlling them. The confiscation of documents makes these women to lack proper documentation and therefore remain stranded. These women are forced to work in order to pay off their debts by actively participating in prostitution. If the refuse to take part in prostitution, they are beaten and finally get raped. In reaction to the rising problem of human sex trafficking, the United States Congress put in place the Trafficking Act (Murthy and Smith 54). As a result of this enactment, the international human sex traffickers were now prosecuted.
Through television shows and popular movies, pimps are depicted as driving very expensive cars and dressing flashily. Actually, the pimps traffic young women and men totally without their consent and even by threatening them. When young ladies are forced to participate in prostitution, they are said to be the victims of human sex trafficking. Human sex trafficking is considered a big business as well as slavery. It has been found to be the fastest growing business that deals with very organized crime and it is the third largest felonious activity in the world (Kara 272).
Most of the sex trafficking is done internationally with the involved young women and men taken from places such as South and Central America, the former Soviet Union, South Asia, which are the less developed to more developed laces such as the Middle East, Asia, North America, and Western America (Murthy and Smith 54). It is unfortunate that human sex trafficking takes place domestically as well. The United States experiences an influx of victims from different parts of the world especially the less developed countries. It has also been found that United States is experiencing sex trafficking of young women and men between its states (Kara 285).
Even if there is no comprehensive research to record the number of juveniles engaged in commercial sex in the United States, approximately 293, 000 youths in America are currently at an increased likelihood of experiencing commercial sexual exploitation (Kara 278). Most of the victims of commercial sex are thrown-away or runaway juveniles who usually live on the streets. These juveniles usually come from families where they have been abandoned by their parents or from homes where they have experienced some forms of abuse. They involve themselves in commercial sex in order to gain financial support, which can enable them achieve a number of things they need.
Other youths join prostitution as a result of pressure from parents, forced abduction, or due to deceptive agreements between traffickers and parents. Once these youths become completely involved in commercial sex, they are often forced to move far from their homes and therefore become isolated from their families and friends. Few adults in a situation of forced prostitution can be able to develop new relationships with adults or peers other than the individual involved in their victimization. The lifestyle of those youths involved in prostitution is characterized by forced drug use, constant threats, and violence (Parrot 65).
The procurers and pimps make a lot of money from the business of human sex trafficking. This is an uninterrupted return that the brothel owners get unlike other businesses such drug trafficking who sells their goods a time interval. The women prostitutes are paid a small percentage of the total amount of money they make during the business. In addition these women are not allowed to get out of the brothel when they haven’t paid off their debt as far as their sexual services are concerned. The women start the business of commercial sex in debt since they have to reimburse the traffickers for the costs of smuggling. With the meager earnings that they earn, they are also responsible to pay for board and room, birth control, toiletries, doctor visits, and clothing. Some of the women in the business of commercial sex are just slaves, because they cannot be able to leave prostitution due to strict control from their perpetrators.
In the United States, among juvenile girls and children living on the streets, participation in prostitution activities is an epidemic proportion problem. Most of the juvenile ladies living on the streets participate in formal prostitution, while some of the ladies become deeply involved in countrywide organized criminal networks which enhance human sex trafficking within their nation. The criminal networks are involved in transporting these juveniles around the United States using various means of transportation such buses, cars, trucks, vans, or even planes and are usually provided with counterfeit identification which will be useful in case of arrest. It has been found that women are at an increased risk of becoming victims of commercial sex after they have attained the age of between 12 and 14. Transgender youths and juvenile boys aged between 11 and 13 have also been found to involve themselves in prostitution activities. (Parrot 71)
It has been found that traffickers are representing every ethnic, racial, and social group. Trafficking is comprised of various types of organizations. Some traffickers are involved with motorcycle and local street gangs, and other traffickers are members of countrywide criminal organizations. Some traffickers totally have no association with any organization. It has been found that traffickers can either be men or women running a number of established rings. Usually, traffickers use drugs, force, financial methods, and emotional tactics to thoroughly control their victims (Murthy and Smith 45). It is easier for traffickers to establish strong bonds with juvenile girls than with older women.
In some cases, the perpetrators promise marriage as well as comfortable lifestyle that the youth haven’t experienced in their past familial relationships. The traffickers claim they need and love their victims and that any sexual acts will contribute into strengthening the future relationship once they marry one another. In some cases, the children who are victims of prostitution did not have positive male role models and therefore this favors the traffickers since they demand that their victims consider them as their fathers so that it will be tougher for them to break the bond that holds them together (Murthy and Smith 32).
In some cases, the traffickers apply violence, for example gang rape and many other forms of abuse aimed at forcing the young girls and women to work for them while they are under their control. Many of the youths become drug addicts and this gives the traffickers a very good opportunity to supply them with drugs as a way of controlling them. Traffickers can as well take the identity forms of their victims, such as driving licenses, passports, and birth certificates as a way of controlling them because these youths will not be able to support them themselves without these documents if they decide to leave the traffickers and therefore must return to their perpetrators for continued support. The abusive methods of control used by traffickers negatively affect the victims both mentally and physically. When the victims are abused for a prolonged period of time, they start to develop an attachment to the traffickers. Because of this self-contradictory psychological phenomenon it is often not easy for law enforcement to break the bond of control, even if they are abusive, the perpetrators hold over their victims (Parrot 74).
Factors promoting sex trafficking
There are many factors that have been found to encourage increased rate of sex trafficking across the world, with the United States inclusive. They include: increased male desire for sex with prostitutes and other related sexual activities; gender-based economic and social inequality in many areas across the world; information technology and globalization of capital; military occupation, armed conflict and the concentration of militia bases and military in many parts worldwide; increase in the number of industries that deal with transnational sex and the advanced predatory recruitment networks and techniques; the macro-economic policies, enhanced by international lending organizations making some countries to export juveniles and women for labor and therefore increasing the likelihood of experiencing sex trafficking; and developing such economies like tourism that include sex tourism(Murthy and Smith 58). In a number of countries, commercial sex has become a good source of income because of high profits.
Globalization has also been found to enhance human trafficking. Through globalization, human labor is obtained and moved over international boundaries from the countries of origin to countries of destination. This movements of labor from one country to another country, has brought about critical consequences of human sex trafficking internationally. The process of globalization, especially the disintegration of the Soviet Union that resulted in the formation of a number of small and precarious East European nations, has made very many people to be extremely poor. Most of these poor people are looking for ways to get out of these unstable countries and search for job opportunities in foreign countries. As the parents are looking for job opportunities, their children also are full of imaginations of living in decent cities such as Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York. Young girls and women are especially at risk when they hear of job opportunities such as actresses, models, and waitresses, but these are deceptions by traffickers (Murthy and Smith 62).
The presence of push and pull factors on people is considered globalization’s economic context. Those people who live in unstable countries feel obliged to move from their homes into other countries that seem to be economically sound where they can earn attractive remunerations to bring their families out of poverty. Following this desire, they get pulled out of their countries in aims of making money. The human sex traffickers prey on these desires by promising better lives and lots of job opportunities. Most of these victims of sex trafficking are poor and sometimes uneducated, and therefore are at an increased likelihood of not discerning the traffickers deceptions beforehand (Flowers 108).
Need for change
An anti-trafficking plan in the United States encourages prevention of sex trafficking, prosecution of the traffickers and protection for the victims (Murthy and Smith 65). The legislation that deals with human rights against sex trafficking must be applied to both the United States and international women. This reduces the risk to stereotype trafficking as a problem of immigration, and depriving women of remedy, redress and recourse. The anti-trafficking programs and policies must deal with organized domestic trafficking and commercial sex. Education as well as public awareness regarding sex trafficking is very necessary in both the receiving and sending countries. People in the sending countries should be informed about the consequences of trafficking. There should be strict penalties for sex traffickers and any other individual who is found to encourage trafficking business (Murthy and Smith 63).
Techniques used in trafficking
The international sex traffickers make use of training, educational and tourist visas as well as work permit to import women and children into the United States. These women and young girls are kept in the country of destination beyond the specified expiry date of the visas. According to Flowers (102), some traffickers make use of deceitful documents to import or export women. Trafficking is therefore considered an exploited migration that takes advantage of women’s desire to travel to far places and especially across borders usually for economic purposes. Smuggling networks in the United States are one option that is used to import women and children for commercial sex.
For instance, Chinese snakeheads import women for an increased fee, for sexual and labor exploitation, indenting them in debt slavery that usually lasts for many years Flowers (106). Both in the United States and in China, kinship networks are used to keep the trafficked persons in line to ensure that all debts are paid back (Kara 279). The undocumented and indebted Chinese are as well inscribed as enforcers in brothels and sweatshops, and may attack others to pay back their own debts (Territo and Kirkham 109). The smuggling networks in China are extensive and seem to be very organized networks that depend on hundred of persons, including China’s corrupt officials.
Human sex trafficking is a fast growing transnational industry, but in many cases pimps and traffickers operate as small-scale owners. For instance, even if Asian trafficking and smuggling networks are large-scale, sophisticated, and international, the Mexican traffickers are usually less sophisticated, small-scale, and not very organized (Territo and Kirkham 112). American traffickers who operate domestically seem to be family or one-man operations; however, they run trafficking enterprises in more than one state. Women are imported into the United States usually across neighboring borders or via other transit nations. These women are imported by plane, boat, car and bus. Most of the women are at first convinced that they will be working as dancers, waitresses, models, and domestics. Those who are aware that they will be participate in prostitution, or escort services usually do not have an idea about the conditions under which they will be working (Territo and Kirkham 114).
Once these women have reached their destinations, they are held in bars, improvised brothels, and apartments where they serve a number of men daily. Most of these women are beaten, raped and remain confined under very bad conditions. Human sex trafficking is characterized by an economic pattern of poor women trafficked to richer men. Therefore women are usually trafficked from the South to the North since in the North most of the people are rich than in the South. North America, Europe, Gulf States, Australia, and Japan are the most common destinations for those women who are trafficked internationally (Flowers 136). Prostitution and domestic trafficking in the United States are characterized by large numbers of the minority women of the United States and the African American women, and those white women who are economically marginalized (Parrot 76).
The trafficking conditions range from coercion or force to deception, taking advantage of the victims’ vulnerability, and abuse of power. Women are in most cases deceived to think that they will be doing some better work, or they are turned into sexual slaves by force. Some women are sold immediately and are moved from one place to another depending on the plans of their procurers. In the United States, most of the victims who are domestically trafficked are the juvenile runaways, especially those who have been sexually abused in the previous days. These juvenile victims are recruited in the bus stations and on the streets of urban areas. The networks of the sex industry operate commonly in big urban centers. However, these networks also operate in suburbs, smaller cities and towns. These sex trade and trafficking networks are very mobile as they are characterized by moving the trafficked women from one place to another, as well as establishing clubs, escort services, brothels and massage parlor, for example in rural area trailers (Parrot 76).
Education and work experience of the victims of sex trafficking
It has been found that most of women, who are the victims of human sex trafficking, are the primary school leavers, high school leavers and college graduates or dropouts. Most of these victims have job experience in various areas, though it has been found they have been earning minimum remunerations from their bosses. Some of their earlier jobs include store manager, waitress, receptionist, kindergarten teacher, salesperson, knitter, horticulturalist, bartender, security guard, shuttle driver, and food service worker (Flowers 132).
Background of traffickers, pimps and recruiters
Most of the sex industries within the United States are under the control of highly organized criminal groups and gangs. The countries of origin of the traffickers, pimps and recruiters include El Salvador, the United States, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Serbia, Poland, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Japan, Yemen, and Vietnam (Flowers 136). However, is not easy to know where they come from because they don’t use their real names in these businesses. They also hire other individuals such as phone girls, to help them carry out daily activities. Both African Americans and Caucasians are involved in procuring (Flowers 136). The domestic and international sex industries are associated such that the traffickers and recruiters connect the victims to domestic sex industries. According to advocates, researchers and social service providers, traffickers and recruiters maintain their connections with procurers.
According to Flowers (125), the traffickers, pimps and recruiters are usually involved in many other criminal activities, in addition to prostitution and trafficking. Some particular forms of criminal activities in which the traffickers, pimps and recruiters are engaged include tax evasion, welfare fraud, domestic violence, racketeering, robbery, and bank fraud. The pimps are characterized by being involved in gambling, pornography, insurance scams, and concealing the source of their money that they have gathered through illegal means. Some gangs in Jamaica and Chicago are turning to procuring because they find it less dangerously and in which they are less penalized in case they are caught.
Advocates, researchers, law enforcement officials, and social service providers have reported that procures and traffickers own legitimate as a way of covering for their criminal activities. Traffickers and their trafficking networks depend on the complicity of local businesses in the United States, which are legitimate such as bars, hotels, travel agencies, and cooperating and corrupting the law enforcement and immigration agents across the world (Flowers 127).
Factors that facilitate recruitment
A number of factors indirectly facilitate recruitment of women and juveniles into the commercial sex industry, therefore making them to be at an increased risk to trafficking as well as sexual exploitation. Some of these factors include economic disadvantage and desperation, insufficient income, and poverty. However, it will not be conclusive to say that is a precipitating element. For most women poverty is what is preyed upon by traffickers, pimps and recruiters. In the countries of origin, economic conditions are the push factors. Other push factors include oppression in the country of origin, inadequate family support, and direct family coercion or pressure. In some homes, juvenile girls are considered as liabilities and burdens. Sometimes, uncles or older brothers contribute to this recruitment when they create unfavorable conditions in their homes, for example drinking alcohol and constant fights. The promises by the procurers about better lifestyle act as the pull factors that facilitate the recruitment of women into the commercial sex industry. Other are promised that they will be married and get good jobs.
Ways of controlling the victims of trafficking
Nowadays, human sex trafficking is a business that is violent and much more organized. These juvenile girls and women are bought by traffickers shut up in brothels or other rooms for many days, forced to use drugs, raped repeatedly, and terrorized (Kara 289). The persistent abuses enable the traffickers to easily control these victims. These captives become so intimidated and afraid that they hardly sound off against these traffickers, even the time when they get a good chance to escape. The traffickers are generally very organized and many of the traffickers have a hierarchy system like other criminal organizations do. Traffickers with many victims usually have a prostitute who sits at the top of the hierarchy. This prostitute at the top of the hierarchy is also a victim but she has stayed with the trafficker for an extended period of time and has earned the trafficker’s trust. These prostitutes are known as bottoms and they play various roles such as collecting money from the other victims, disciplining them, seducing unwitting juveniles into trafficking, and do many other daily activities for the trafficker (Territo and Kirkham 102).
Sexual slavery and sexual trafficking of children and women is growing at an elevated rate and has become widespread across the world and more especially in the United States. In a number of countries such as North America, Europe, Gulf States, Australia, and Japan, commercial sex has become a good source of income because of high profits. The trafficking of children and women for commercial sex has become a grievous issue for media, Governments, and Non-Governmental Organizations.
There is an increased demand for juvenile girls in prostitute activities because they are believed to be free of sexually transmitted diseases and can be deceived easily about getting opportunities such as actresses, models, and waitresses. There are many factors that have been found to encourage increased rate of sex trafficking across the world, with the United States inclusive. Traffickers employ a variety of delusive promises to attract women and young girls into the business of commercial sex, for instance decent jobs and marriage.
Most of the victims of commercial sex are thrown-away or runaway juveniles who usually live on the streets. These juveniles usually come from families where they have been abandoned by their parents or from homes where they have experienced some forms of abuse. They involve themselves in commercial sex in order to gain financial support, which can enable them achieve a number of things they need. Other youths join prostitution as a result of pressure from parents, forced abduction, or due to deceptive agreements between traffickers and parents.
Traffickers employ various techniques to control the victims of trafficking. After the women have arrived in foreign countries, these sex traffickers confiscate their documents as a way of controlling them. The confiscation of documents makes these women to lack proper documentation and therefore remain stranded. These women are forced to work in order to pay off their debts by actively participating in prostitution. Traffickers also use drugs, force, financial methods, and emotional tactics to thoroughly control their victims.