Sex Trafficking: Facts & Figures
The Protection Project
Sex Trafficking: Facts & Figures
– The United Nations estimates that 700,000 to 4 million women and children are trafficked around the world for purposes of forced prostitution, labor and other forms of exploitation every year. Trafficking is estimated to be a $7 billion dollar annual business.
– Victims of trafficking are subject to gross human rights violations including, rape, torture, forced abortions, starvation, and threats of torturing or murdering family members.
– Nearly every country is involved in the web of trafficking activities, either as a country of origin, destination or transit. Countries of destination include Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, France, India, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
– Traffickers recruit women and children through deceptive means including falsified employment advertisements for domestic workers, waitresses and other low-skilled work. Traffickers include those involved in highly sophisticated networks of organized crime and may be as close to home as a relative to the victim.
Women And War
– In August 2001, soldiers with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Eritrea were purchasing ten-year-old girls for sex in local hotels.
– Before the arrival of 15,000 UN troops in Cambodia in 1991, there were an estimated 1,000 prostitutes in the capital. Currently, Cambodia’s illegal sex trade generates $500 million a year. No less than 55,000 women and children are sex slaves in Cambodia, 35 percent of which are younger than 18 years of age.
– Over 5,000 women and children have been trafficked from the Philippines, Russia and Eastern Europe and are forced into prostitution in bars servicing the U.S. Military in South Korea
Who Are The Traffickers?
– Traffickers are … members of highly sophisticated networks of organized crime. Ukrainian officials uncovered and detained a criminal group in the city of Dnipropetrovsk, which trafficked Ukrainian girls and women to the United Arab Emirates. They made $2,000 on each girl forced into prostitution. This gang managed to traffic more than 15 Ukrainian young women aged between 16 and 30 to the United Arab Emirates.
– Traffickers are … family members and friends of the trafficking victim. A six-year-old boy, Mohammad Mamun, was taken from his poor Bangladeshi parents by a neighbor, and ended up in a foreign desert land being exploited as a camel jockey. Mamun is one of hundreds of young Bangladeshi boys who are trafficked into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) either after being abducted or sold by impoverished parents to human traffickers.
– Victims of trafficking are later used to traffic other women and children. Traffickers from Benin see themselves as helping the home community–facilitators for families looking for some extra income. One trafficker commented, “Every girl who travels and who doesn’t get deported is a potential sponsor for more.”
The Pay Off: Trafficking and Corruption
– Allegations have been brought against top Montenegrin government officials for their complicity in the forced prostitution, illegal detention, rape and torture of a 28-year old Moldovan woman, Svetlana. Six high-ranking government officials, and the country’s Deputy State Prosecutor, Zoran Piperovic, were arrested in December 2002 after Svetlana identified to the police names of traffickers, clients, and details of the nightclubs and cafes where the incidents took place. She has also testified that she had been routinely beaten, drugged, and had been returned by the police upon trying to escape on several occasions. Although the government has assured that the case will be fully investigated, all the detained officials have been since released from custody. Svetlana herself is being held under protection in a western European country.
– Victims of trafficking are afraid to testify or contact law enforcement due to their complicity with traffickers and pimps. In Israel, the Hotline for Migrant Workers made an appeal on behalf of three women who had testified that the same men that arrested them, had been clients at the brothel from which they were detained. In March 2002, a policeman charged with the buying of a trafficked woman and tipping brothel owners of police raids was sentenced to only six months of community service.
– In interviews carried out for an International Organization of Migration report, 10% of the women who had been trafficked to Albania stated that law enforcement officials had directly participated in the trafficking process.
Children Are Not Protected
– Children from Pakistan and Bangladesh are kidnapped or sold by their parents to traffickers who take them to Persian Gulf States including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, to work as camel jockeys. These children 3 to 7 years of age and are malnourished to keep their weight below 35 pounds. They suffer physical abuse from the traffickers and work all day training camels. Many of these children suffer extreme injuries or death from falling off camels during the races.
– Child victims of trafficking are very vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Misconceptions that having sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS have fueled an increased demand for child prostitutes.
– Girls from 15 to 17 years of age are trafficked from Thailand and Taiwan to South Africa. Traffickers recruited these girls to work as waitresses or domestic workers. Once they arrive in South Africa they are forced into prostitution.
– Filipino children are trafficked to countries in Africa, the Middle East, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, where they are sexually exploited. Traffickers loan parents a sum of money, which the girl must repay to the trafficker through forced prostitution. In one case, a Filipino woman rented her 9-year-old niece to foreign men for sex, and eventually sold her to a German pedophile.
Close to Home in the USA
– 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States from no less than 49 countries every year. As many as 750,000 women and children have been trafficked into the United States over the last decade.
– Women and children as young as 14 have been trafficked from Mexico to Florida and forced to have sex with as many as 130 clients per week in a trailer park. These women were kept hostage through threats and physical abuse, and were beaten and forced to have abortions. One woman was locked in a closet for 15 days after trying to escape.
– Cases of trafficking into the United States include women and children who are trafficked from Honduras to Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas; Latvia to Chicago; Mexico to Florida; Korea to Michigan; Japan to Hawaii; Cameroon to Maryland; Taiwan to Seattle; India to California; Vietnam to Atlanta.
– In Fresno, California Hmong gang members have kidnapped girls between the ages of 11 and 14 and forced into prostitution. The gang members would beat and rape them into submission. These girls were trafficked within the United States and traded between other Hmong communities.
Sexual Slavery, In The 21st Century
– The Cadena smuggling ring trafficked women, some as young as 14, from Mexico to Florida. The victims were forced to prostitute themselves with as many as 130 men per week in a trailer park. Of the $25 charged the “Johns” the women received only $3. The Cadena members kept the women hostage through threats and physical abuse. One woman was kept in a closet for 15 days for trying to escape. Some were beaten and forced to have abortions (the cost of which was added to their debt). The women worked until they paid off their debts of $2,000 to $3,000.
– Domestic servants in some countries of the Middle East are forced to work 12 to 16 hours a day with little or no pay, and subject to sexual abuse such as rape, forced abortions, and physical abuse that has resulted in death.
– Traffickers in many countries in West Africa take girls through voodoo rituals in which girls take oaths of silence and are often raped and beaten, prior to their leaving the country. They are also forced to sign agreements stating that, once they arrive in another country, they owe the traffickers a set amount of money. They are sworn to secrecy and given detailed accounts of how they will be tortured if they break their promise. Traffickers have taken women and young girls to shrines and places of cultural or religious significance; they remove pubic and other hair and then perform a ceremony of intimidation.
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For more information and a breakdown of human trafficking statistics by country, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Human_trafficking_by_country
Most academic associations do not allow the use of Wikipedia due to the fact that anyone can edit documents on Wikipedia. However, those sentences with footnotes are backed by other sources as well.