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Trafficking Of Humans And The Sex Slave Trade History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

I believe that the trafficking of humans and the sex slave trade coincide with one another. Human Trafficking and sex trafficking is modern-day slavery (Moossy, 2009) . It can be described as the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them (UNODC). In many occurrences the trafficking of humans particularly women and children have led them to be demoralized sexually by traffickers. More so today than any time in history, people are being trafficked across border at any given time.

Victims of human trafficking especially adults are persuaded into this hidden industry with the intentions of a good job, bogus marriage proposals or even being kidnapped are often sold into a trade that few seldom ever leave. Children who are part of the sex trade are often kidnapped into this industry, either sold by their own family or even manipulated into selling their own. Traffickers usually tell the parents or family members that their children will have a better future if they go with them and often enough, the urge to see their children do better pushes the parents to let their children go. Most of the time, women and children are sold to prostitution rings and become prisoners to their captors. Victims of the sex trade are often kept in dreadful conditions, threatened, beaten and raped in order to break their spirit.


Human trafficking is not something that just suddenly happened. History shows that selling and use of the body for sexual satisfaction has a long history and still continues in society today. The exploitation of sex has been more prominent with women and children. Women and children are especially vulnerable to sex trafficking because of their experience of powerlessness, poverty, gender-based discrimination, and the history of sexual and physical violence (Cree, 2008). While researching the history of sex slavery, I have found several academic pieces written that pertained to women and children for sexual use.

The notion of slaves for sexual and domestic uses has been well documented in history. During the 16th to the 19th century, slaves were kept in Jewish household during the Ottoman Empire especially females (Yaron Ben-Naeh, 2006). Slavic women were captured during the Ottoman Campaign, or their Tator kept associates in Eastern Europe. Often time’s females of Slavic origins were sought out because of their beauty, strength, domestic skills, and of course their obedience. Court records from that time period indicated the price of slaves. The value of the slaves were ranked by their attributes such as the slaves age, physical attributes, appearance and the length of service agreed upon (Ben-Naeh, 2006). Female slaves were used not only for their domestic servitude but also used as concubines. It was her domestic duty to satifiy their masters sexual needs. There has also been a few recorded documents that show female slaves were freed in the wills of their owners, but only if they were loyal and obedient.

Not all slaves were as fortunate to be granted freedom or left with money. At the time of the owners death, slaves were either sold off to different family members or neighbors. During those times, it was common practice for female slaves to be married to family members, friends or relatives. The concerns about human trafficking isn’t new (Cree, 2008). To combat human trafficking organizations in the 19th and 20th century were brought together to stop this issue in its tracks. In August 1885 in London, the National Vigilance Association (NVA) was launched. The purpose of the NVA was to undertake private prosecution and alert the police to the infringements of the newly passes Criminal Law Act. The provisions were to one, become an offense to procure a woman under 21 years of age for prostitution. Two, the age of sexual consent was raised from 13 years to 16 years. Three, anyone who detained a women or a girl for the purpose of unlawful sex, in a brothel or other premise. Four, financial penalties or imprisonment were imposed on anyone found guilty of keeping, managing, assisting, owning, or renting out premises used as a brothel or for the purpose of prostitution (Cree, 2008).

The organizations initial focus was on local activities. One example would be prostitutes were blamed for the decline in health on the nation and the armed forces. To address this problem, the NVA created campaigns to eliminate prostitution. The NVA investigated brothels, dance halls, and “dangerous houses” which also removed women and children whom they suspected to be at risk (Cree, 2008).

The NVAs executive members formed the IBBNC which stood for the International Bureaus British National Committee. They would handle the international activities during the end of the 19th century. The League of Nations took over the responsibilities of the IBBNC in 1921 and combined forces with the NVA. Their main purpose was to workout agreements between countries to send back victims of prostitutes such as trafficked women and children and elimination of brothal houses. They mostly targeted the white slave trade, dealing with child prostitution and removal of British girls from overseas brothels. The major fear was kidnapping of young girls who were forced into the a life of servitude. They believed that prostitution was the by-product of capitalism. Young women were using their bodies in this manner because the economy did not offer them legitimate opportunities (Cree, 2006).

War has always been an reason used to violate women’s bodies and history has shown that women were trafficked to the front line to service the military. The Imperial Japanese Army used comfort women to the extreme during WWII which was a form of institutionalized violence against women. The Japanese military called these women “military comfort women”. This was in order to hide the true and horrific nature of these women. The use of “comfort women” was institutionalized because the Japanese military believed that if brothel stations were set up, it would reduce the amount of rapes. In the past century, Korean comfort women from WWII began coming out with their history and personal experiences. Their stories as comfort women unveiled the sex crimes committed against them during WWII. The Korean Comfort Movement has three component one, being forced into military sexual slavery, two, their suffering inside military brothels, and three, their half-century of agonizing experiences after their return home (Min, 2003). The comfort women came forward because they wanted an official apology as well as compensation from the Japanese government. Some of the things on their list would be the offenders to be prosecuted for the crimes, the public to be aware and educated about comfort women, history books to be rewritten which includes the truth of the comfort women and memorials for the deceased comfort women.

The crimes committed on these women damaged these women not only emotionally but physically. In the book, The Comfort Women: Japans Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War, women were rotated between multiple men. This cause their genitals to be inflamed and swollen. In order to relieve the inflammation they were constantly applying cold towels (Hicks, 1995). Adolescent girls ages 14 to 17 were basically kidnapped off the streets by Japanese soldiers. Those girls were forced to service the military, averaging thirty to forty soldiers per day. With servicing such a high numbers of soldiers per day, the girls douched between rapes with cotton wool soaked in disinfectant. This also drained the majority of supplies which forced women to reuse condoms. Comfort women were not limited to only Korea women, but they also came from other parts of the world such as from Europe, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, and China. These women were forced to service the military men in brothels located in the Asian countries during the Asian and Pacific War from 1932-1945. Roughly 200,00 women were shipped to the battlefield during the war but only a little less than 30 percent of the 200,000 survived to see the end of the war. The ethnicity of comfort women were Korean which was the majority of the total population of comfort women. To further degrade these comfort women, the Japanese army categorized the women by race, class, and nationality. Women of Asian ethnicity were used to service the lower class soldiers while European women were saved for the high ranking officers.

The denial of the use of “comfort women” during WWII by Japanese government was a long-standing one. For years, Japan denied the allegations of comfort women being using during the war, however on January 16, 1992, Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki uncovered documents containing information about the military comfort women in Japans Self Defense Force library. With the discovery of hidden documentation, Japan admitted to the use of comfort women during the war. One by one, women started to come forward with their stories of being comfort women during the war and Japan gave an apology in August of 1993. Although there was no compensation for these women, the government quickly owned up to the situation and asked for donations from their citizens in order to set up the Asian Movement Fund. Doing so would relieve the government from being liable financial and legal from the crime. Not only did this happen during the Asian and Pacific war where comfort women were being used, the Vietnam war has the same set of issues. Women were being trafficked under the radar to Vietnam to service the military. With the United States begin associated with the Thai government, they received billions of dollars in economic aid (Jayagupta, 2009) in exchange for 700,000 United States troops sent to the northeast and eastern part of Thailand. Criminal networks started to recruit females from Bangkok and Pattaya for sexual services because of the huge influx soldiers. When the Vietnam war ended, sex tourism still continued in Thailand up until this day.


When we look at the crime, the biggest driving force behind it is money. Like all crime, sex slavery and human smuggling is an extremely profitable business. This business of trafficking humans into cities, across borders and into other countries nets a profit of over a billion dollars annually. Neil Jensen who is the former chief executive officer of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center says, “Human trafficking has become the third lucrative illegal business after drugs and weapons trafficking” (Xinhua, 2010). Human Traffickers’ profit, usually stable and regular were estimated at 10 billion to 31.6 billion US dollars a year or 13,000 US dollars a victim. Even though drugs and weapons are listed as number one and two, unlike drugs and weapons, the human body can be used multiple time which can be considered more profitable. The United States C.I.A. estimates that a trafficker can earn up to $250,000 for each trafficked women with the price of the product going up varing age and ethnicity. Most if not all the money goes directly to her pimp (DREA, 2010). Women are not the ones that are in demand in the sex trade industry. Children are also a high priced commodity in Asian countries. In this industry, there really is no health care which is why children are more prone to diseases. Not having proper medical treatment wears down their bodies quicker which always lead to death. When both women and children no longer become useful to their pimps and clients, they are tortured and killed.

In order to profit from human trafficking, pimps and traffickers must make sure their product is obedient. Most if not all victims are forced to use drugs which will render them impaired and are raped over and over again by their captures to break them down emotionally and physically as well as being able to handle more clients. The women must learn the tricks of the trade however if they aren’t up to par and learn the skills quickly, they can be sold to other pimps. Regular beating and raping of the victims will prevent from escaping. One example would be Ganga who was sold into sex slavery when she was twelve years old. She was locked in a room, tortured, abused and threatened with death if she didn’t service customers. She was forced to service ten to twenty men on a daily basis with the threat of deadly diseases however she managed to escape (Ganga). When women and children become useless to their pimp, they seek to find new recruits to fill their places. A non-profit group called Shared Hope International took on a 12 month long investigation in which it examined commercial sexual exploitation in countries such as Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. From SHI’s investigation it revealed that human traffickers used a sophisticated business model for its prostitution rings and sex trafficking. This business model was compared to being in the mall in which a buyer was able to choose from a variety of products of all ages and ethnicities. Human traffickers like economist use supply and demand to forecast the type of women customers want. Pornography, which is already a taboo in American culture, has become an increasingly profitable industry for pimps and sex operators to exploit, particularly child porn. Child porn can include any of these items such as books, videos, pictures, magazines, photos, and images all depicting children in sexual acts. Traffickers realizing how profitable children are often force young children into child pornography or into prostitution, where they turn these children into sex slaves (Barri Flowers, 2001). Feeding this appetite for child porn is the United States where consumers have spent millions if not billions annually is nearly 85 percent of worldwide sales of pornography comes from (Flowers, 2001). So as we look at profits and cost involved in human trafficking, we must ask how much does the human body cost in the black market and The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has attempted to tackle this question by giving an example of how profitable the human body can be. The examples uses a girl who is kidnapped from Nepal. She is trafficked to India and sold for roughly $1000. Next she is trafficked into the United States and sold for $20,000. Of course this is merely a brief and over inflated example. Often times, young Nepal girls are sold at the Indian border for a measly four dollars, then a second time to brothel owners for a price ranging from $500 to $1000 dollars (Bagnall, 2002). The young girls are often held captive at these brothels until their purchase price plus the price of interest is paid off. Each slave girl can be purchase for roughly $12,500 and the United Nations estimates that human traffickers can earn about 10 billion dollars per year.


Human trafficking expands to all parts of the world. Traffickers, pimps and organized groups have found that by expanding their markets they are able to make their business go international. The trafficking of women and children globally has allowed human traffickers to supply a larger clientele base. Like true global business, traffickers have brought their products to areas where there is high demand for these types of services. Criminal organizations have now targeted all sorts of events ranging from football games, concerts, and other sporting events where there is high demand for sexual services. It was estimated that during the 2006 World Cup, over 40,000 women and children were shipped to Germany for the soccer event. Victims were placed in mega brothels, shacks and other underground networks that had already existed in Germany during that time.

The world wide web has now made it possible for clients to find their victims all over the world. Advances in technology have now made it possible for consumers to find women and children with the click of a mouse. In a matter of minutes a person can book a ticket, hotel and reserve a female all in the comfort of his or her own home. Consumers now have access to a variety of services that they once did not. When someone cannot find what they are looking for, they can easily log onto the internet to find chat forums and search through hundreds and thousands of threads. They now able to find information regarding the price of the women and children they want and the names of the brothels in other countries that supply them. Descriptions likes these can be found in The World Sex Guide, which gives someone information on taxi services, telephone numbers and hotel and what kinds of sex acts can be bought and the reviews on the women. Sex tours are a growing trend in the sex industry as well. In 1995 a sex tour was organized by an American who ran Pimps R’ Us in the Dominican Republic. The tour, which was four days and three nights, included things like oral sex from a prostitute chosen the organization. In 1996, some companies in the United States offer these types of tour in foreign countries. The companies are packed deals that generally include plane tickets, accommodations, transportation, a local guide, and the promise of sex with local girls.

Women and children are trafficked on a regular basis between undeveloped and developed countries. The general trend in human trafficking is taking women and children from more undeveloped countries that suffer from economic and political problems into developed nations. The flow of the trafficked is from poorer to richer countries. From Latin America to the United States and Western Europe, from Eastern Europe to Western Europe, the Middle East, Japan, North America; from Africa to Europe; from Nepal to India; from Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam to Thailand; from Thailand to Japan and Australia (Baird, 2007). The United Nation (UN) believes that the victim of trafficking spans the globe, from 127 countries to be exploited in 137 countries. Victims of sex slavery are taken mainly from countries such as Albania, Belarus, China, Romania, Russian, and Thailand. These victims are trafficked to such countires as the Middle East, western Europe, North AMerican and Asian. During the 1990’s, women and children have been trafficked to Asia and into neighboring countreis such as Cambodia, Lao’s, Myanmar, Yunnan Province in China and Vietnam. Neighboring countries such as Vietnam traffic women from Cambodia to work in brothels.

Foreign males coming from fairly rich and developed countries ranging from the United States to Europe are going to other countries as sex tourist. Each year foreign travelers from predominantly Western countries pump billions of dollars into the economies of developing nations when they purchase sexual services (Andrews, 2004). The men who travel as sex tourist often times have little to no fear of being caught or arrested because of low prosecution rates in the countries where they commit the crime. Prosecution rates are even lower in countries that are economically unstable because of corruption among the police and government. Most developing nations have little incentive for domestic enforcement because tourism is one of the main driving forces behind their economies (Andrews, 2004). Prosecution is made even harder because victims of these sex crimes can’t seek help within the institutions designed to help them. Organized crimes of low income nations often pay police officers to look the other way or provide sexual service in return for not being arrested (Andrews,2004). Dr. Kek Galabru who is the president of a Cambodian human rights group said that government officials and police officers profit greatly from the child sex trade. In order for the slave trade to work, it requires the involvement of national governments (Kapstein, 2006).

Sex slavery is not limited to poor and economically challenged countries, but also in well-developed nations such as the United States. In the United States, massage parlors, spas, homes as well as beauty establishments have been used to disguise brothels. The U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2005 prosecuted more than 500 people in human trafficking cases, over 100 of those cases dealt with child prostitution. According to the State Department, roughly 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year.

Foreign Countries

Foreign countries have higher numbers of trafficking than the United States. Roughly 80 percent of the countries listed with the U.S. Department of State comply the rules and regulations of trafficking whether they lie in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 category. The U.S. Department of State has a tier system on how they categorize each countries trafficking problem. There are basically three tiers. Tier one meaning that countries who governments fully comply with the minimum standards for eliminating and handling trafficking. Tier two means countries that don’t fully comply with the standard but are making an effort to bring themselves into compliance. Tier two watch list means countries who governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making efforts to bring themselves in to compliance. The sub categories for Tier Two watch list is A. the absolute number of victims of sever forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing. B. there is failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year. C. the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year. Tier three is countries who governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so (Powell, 2004). Some of the Tier One countries that follow the rules and regulations are Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Norway, Poland, Austria, Denmark, just to name a few. On the other side of the spectrum are the worst countries which are listed as Tier Three. Some of the those countries are Bangladesh, Burma, Cuba, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Venezuela. These countries are transits for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude. These countries aren’t at par with the rules and regulations because it’s extremely hard for law enforcement to catch the perpetrators only because traffickers are always on a move. Too add to the problem most of these countries have different priorities which keep them from meeting the standards of human trafficking regulations.


Everyone can be victims of this crime but the discrepancy is that each organization will report a different number of people who are trafficked annual. For instance, the U.S. Department of State estimated that 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across the United States borders into international borders. Its believe that this figure is only growing. Most if not all of the victims are forced into prostitution, or to working quarries and sweatshops, on farms, as domestics, as child soldiers and in many forms of involuntary servitude all over the world (Powell, 2004).

The United Nations International Children�s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) global studies from that 1.2 million individuals are trafficked across international borders annually. The demand for trafficking children as cheap labor or for sexual exploitation is high. Most of the time children and their families are often unaware of the dangers of trafficking because they believe that better employment and lives are across the border (UNICEF, 2010). Most trafficked victims are forced into this industry believing that the traffickers will take them to a better life, seldom that’s what happens. In some European countries women are lured by traffickers with the idea of having opportunities such as becoming actresses and models or they are kidnapped off the street and shipped to other countries and held against their will where they are forced into a life of servitude. UNICEF estimates that more than 1,000 to 1,500 children are trafficked to North America and girls as young as 13, most from Asia and Europe are to be trafficked as mail order brides. Children who are sexual exploited are to be in the age range of 11 to 17 (UNIDEF, 2010).

For some families, money is a problem in poverty stricken countries. They’re answer to this is to sell their own children as prostitutes. Children who are sold into prostitution experience physical coercion as well as psychological abuse and bondage. The traffickers use a different variety of methods to “condition” their victims. This includes 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 (The Home Foundation, 2004). A health concern for children who are sold in to prostitution will more than likely suffer from sexually transmitted diseases such as crabs, syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes or even becoming pregnant. Children pose a greater risk than adults who have been forced into this industry because their bodies are more frail. Some if not all children commit suicide because they are confronted with the lack of self esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.


Stopping Human Trafficking isn’t going to be an easy task. In this day and age, people are still being trafficked across borders more so today than even in past history. The governments of large powerful countries should step up and take charge to address this issue. If no one does anything, this problem will eat away at the foundations of the international economic system which ties in to the rest of the world (Kapstein, 2006). In the United States, the media reports on certain issues only if they are important enough. If we use the media to convey the message to everyone rather than locking up our borders tighter, there may be a chance to resolve this issue. The United States should let those who really deserve to come across our borders. Governments should also address the issue of corrupt officials and police as well as following the standards for the rules and regulations of human trafficking rather than below the bare minimum. If the United States and international cities and countries put their resources together, the transnational police can stop global prostitution given the right plan and tools. Working together, the transnational police are starting to make an effort to address this issue by using better record and statistics keeping, identification and analysis of best practices, and partnering regionally and internationally with relevant international governmental and non-governmental bodies to strengthen their efforts (Mameli, 2002). Law enforcement resources are extremely valuable but it should not be only limited to that. Having third party non-governmental agencies resources will educate those who do not know about the issue and make them aware that this happening. The main reason why women and children are persuaded into these situations is because the majority of them live in poverty or their parents believe they are making a better life for their child if they give them up. By educating them about the issue in school, they will not be coerced or tricked into a life of servitude and this will help them by giving them a chance to find a job so they can survive. For those who did not get the chance to be educated this will help victims get back on their feet as well as punish their captors and future traffickers. This will help victims reestablish themselves back into society with the means to try and live a fulfilling life.

Research – Questionnaire

For the research paper, I didnt have a chance to do any interviews because of my topic. I decided that it wasn’t a good idea to go to the Tenderloin seeing as how I might get in trouble with the law or get killed by someones pimp. I believe that these prostitutes more than likely would not disclose any truth if I had questioned them. However, I was able to pass out my survey to the students at San Francisco State University and to the customers and co workers at my job.

Before handing out the survey, I made sure that the survey didn’t violate anyone’s ethics. All applicants were fully aware of the topic and knowing that I had specific question that I wanted to ask. I explained to each person that my research is for statistical data purposes only and it would only be used for my paper and not be sold or given to third parties. No names would be provided which was great for the applicant because this survey is anonymous. There is no risks to answering any of these questions. Basically I asked for each person’s consent before they survey. I also told them that everyone has the right to end the survey at anytime they wish. Everyone pretty much continued with the survey anyways.

I basically chose this questionnaire survey because I was on a time constraint. Not everyone has the time to do an internship seeing as how I work full time. The major advantage to the questionnaire method was it convenience. I passed out the survey whenever I wanted to. It was also fast and hardly cost me anything. I was able to hand out my survey to my classmates in different classes. My friends, co workers and customers also took the survey. . One of the benefits of working at Safeway is I deal with the public from all walks of life and I can ask everyone who shops at my store if they would like to answer a few questions. This method gave me a good small sample of what our community knows about this topic. However, some weaknesses that I find when using this method is the sample population who participated may be only 150-200 people. My findings might not be accurate because the sample population is so small compared to the hundreds of thousands of people that actually live in San Francisco. I can’t really say this is what all of San Francisco thinks because the findings can’t speak for everyone. Everyone will have a different opinion on this topic. I can only base my findings on what the random sample says. If I had more time and man power, I could survey more than just 150-200 people and perhaps then my answers would be more accurate, but for now I have to do the best I can with the time I’m given.

(Questions for each applicant to fill out.)

1. Are you a student as SFSU? and if so, what is your major?

a. Yes

b. No

Major _____________

2. If you not a student at SFSU, what is your occupation?

Please specify ____________________

3. What is your sex and age group?

Please circle: M or F

Age: 17-20




4. What is your ethnicity?

a. Asian

b. Latino

c. Black

d. White

e. Other ____________________

5. What city do you currently live in?

Please specify ____________________

6. What does “slavery” mean to you?

a. Sexual exploitation

b. Human trafficking

c. Both

d. Not sure

7. Does “slavery” still subsist in our world today?

a. No

b. Yes

c. Not sure

8. Who is affected by slavery?

a. Men only

b. Women only

c. Children only

d. Men and women only

e. All men, women, and children

f. Not sure

9. Can you give me an example of what you think slavery is?

Please specify _________________

10. Where do you

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