MPHP 439: Health Policy and Management                                                           04/25/2006

On-Line Textbook Chapter Final / Section: International Health                       

 

Part I: HUMAN TRAFFICKING

By Sharlin Mikhaila Noble

 

- INTRODUCTION -

The term “trafficking in humans” refers generally to the concept of human beings moving or being moved, outside the means of regional laws, from one area to another via the actions of a third party – often called a trafficker – that typically benefits from the moving of trafficked individuals by exploiting them in various ways. In the many countries that suffer the burden of human trafficking, high rates of trafficked persons – the majority of whom are women and children – are typically due to a culmination of diverse economic, cultural and historical factors. Due to the inherently shadowy nature of trafficking (a difficulty that will be discussed at greater length later in this chapter), estimates of the extent of the problem are at best educated guesses; with this in mind, the 2005 US Trafficking In Persons Report estimated that a minimum of 600,000 to 800,000 people, mostly women and children, were trafficked across borders worldwide.  [i]

            This chapter will first attempt to present an introductory view on trafficking: the first few sections will address human trafficking from a non-country-specific perspective, and explore various subcategories of human trafficking, as well its epidemiology and causes. Once the basics of trafficking have been explained, Part I of this chapter will touch upon certain less defined themes within the literature of trafficking, including the language of the trafficking discourse and its underlying tone of victimization; and the issue of consent within the context of sex trafficking and prostitution, with an examination of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Within the international community, women and children are considered particularly vulnerable populations, and because it is primarily females who suffer the burden of the worst types of human trafficking, Part II of this Chapter will focus exclusively upon trafficking in women, sex trafficking and its effects.

 

- DESCRIBING HUMAN TRAFFICKING: the vocabulary of trafficking -

Before exploring the complexities of human trafficking, one must first establish a basic working definition of the issue. Part I of this chapter will employ the definition of human trafficking as defined in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (hereafter referred to the Palermo Protocol). The Palermo Protocol states,

(a) ‘Trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction or fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another persons, for the purpose of exploitation.  Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. [ii]

 

While this may seem an unwieldy, jargon-filled paragraph, later sections of this chapter will explore why a detailed definition may be necessary to help curb the rates of human trafficking across the world. At this point, however, a more basic definition may be appropriate as an introduction to human trafficking. Within the global economy, there exist various types of trafficking, such as the trafficking of illicit drugs or weapons. As such, it is important to emphasize that the subject of this chapter is trafficking in humans: in this chapter, therefore, where the term “trafficking” is used, it refers specifically to human trafficking.

 

Text Box: Key Terms in 
Human Trafficking:

Human trafficking / people trafficking
Human smuggling
International trafficking
Internal / domestic trafficking
Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs)
Trafficking agent / agency
Trafficked persons
Victims of trafficking
Recruitment
Country of origin
Transit country
Destination country
Exploitation
Debt bondage
Basically, human trafficking, also referred to as people trafficking, is the process by which individuals are moved from an origin region to a destination region, by means of deceit or force, by a third party that benefits from the exploitation of the trafficked individuals. It should be noted that human trafficking is a similar but separate issue from human smuggling: Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol explains that human smuggling is an illicit process comprised of "the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a State Party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident.” [iii]

In more general terms, it refers to a consensual transaction in which the transporter or “smuggler,” and the smuggled individual or “transportee” agree to circumvent regular and lawful immigration channels for mutually advantageous reasons. The most significant difference between human smuggling and human trafficking is that, in smuggling, the transaction between the smuggler and the smuggled party typically ends once the individual has been transported to his or her destination.

Conversely, in trafficking, individuals are exploited at the hands of trafficking agents.  During the initial recruitment process, trafficking situations are often presented to potential victims as mutually beneficial transactions; however, once they are en route to their destination regions, circumstances typically devolve into exploitation and abuse. Interpol summarizes, “Human trafficking is distinct from people smuggling in that it involves the exploitation of the migrant, often for purposes of forced labour and prostitution.” [iv] By definition, this is not always the case in smuggling situations.  

            While the terminology surrounding human trafficking is varied, the following key terms will allow the reader to gain a working knowledge of the issue, and a practical vocabulary. First, it is important to distinguish between the two main types of human trafficking. International trafficking is the trafficking of persons across national borders (i.e., between countries). Internal trafficking occurs when persons are trafficked from one region to another within one country, and is also referred to as domestic trafficking. The trafficking labels are important because the ability to correctly identify the process influences the degree to which offenses are rectifiable or punishable in terms of law. For example: in situations involving the international trafficking, because more than one nation is involved, the prosecution of traffickers can become a sticky issue due to the overlap of two discrete sets of national laws. Beyond this, human trafficking is rarely a black-and-white issue, and it is not uncommon for situations to involve both internal and international trafficking.

 

Because human trafficking is a transient process, the various places involved have specific names. Country of origin and area of origin, depending upon whether the trafficking is international or internal, refer to the region where trafficked persons began their journey – in other words, the place from which they were initially recruited and trafficked. It should be noted that these terms do not always correlate to the trafficked person’s ethnicity, birthplace or geographic nationality. It is typically at the area of origin that recruitment occurs, a process by which individuals are lured, tricked or bought into trafficking situations by trafficking or recruiting agents.

 

The terms destination country and destination region designate the final area to which persons are trafficked, and where they typically end up working, most frequently in exploitative conditions and activities.

 

Human trafficking does not always occur on a point A-to-point B basis; there are often several stops along the way between the country of origin and the destination country. Here, the terms transit country and transit region come into play: these are the countries or areas through which trafficked persons are routed on their way to their final destination region. According to the regulations set forth by the US Government via the 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report, [v] countries known to be only trafficking transit areas are considered to be conducting or aiding in human trafficking and can be prosecuted as such, given the UN Protocol’s definition of trafficking, which includes the phrases “transportation, transfer, and harboring.” [vi]

 

The term trafficker, or trafficking agent, refers to the entity that moves people from one region to another, whether internationally or domestically, via means of deceit or force, and in doing so benefits at the expense of the trafficked person. A trafficking agent can be an individual or an organization: for example, in many situations involving small-scale human trafficking, the trafficker or recruiting agent in question is often a family friend or even a relative of the individual being trafficked. On a larger scale, human trafficking can also involve organizations such as semi-legitimate “placement agencies” that serve as agents, often in trafficking rings.

 

Text Box: Types of Human Trafficking:

Sex trafficking:
-	Trafficking of women
-	Trafficking of children
-	Sex tourism / marriage tourism
-	Mail-order bride industry

Child trafficking:
-	Child sex exploitation
-	Child labor trafficking
-	Male-child kidnapping 
-	Camel jockey trafficking

Labor trafficking:
-	Adult / child labor trafficking
-	Slavery / “indentured servitude”
-	Domestic labor trafficking

Human organ trafficking
Individuals who undergo the process of human trafficking are most often referred to as victims of trafficking. However, a lack of standardization in the literature’s terminology is perhaps most notable in the range of terms by which these individuals are identified: examples from the literature include “victims,” “smuggled aliens,” “irregular migrants,” “trafficked persons,” “forced migrants,” and “coerced immigrants;” in the case of trafficked individuals who become prostitutes, terms range from “forced sex workers” to “comfort women,” and many of the terms convey an underlying sense of victimization.  Undertones of victimization are inherent to the majority of the labels associated with human trafficking to avoid this, for the purposes of this chapter, the neutral term trafficked individuals will be used to refer to individuals who have undergone human trafficking.  

 

- TYPES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING -

Human trafficking exists as an illicit means to fulfill various underground economic demands, and there are several subcategories within the larger framework of human trafficking. Exploitation is a definitive part of the process of trafficking; however, there is a broad range of defined “exploitation”: the latter portion of the UN Palermo Protocol’s definition of human trafficking emphasizes that “Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” [vii]  The next few sections focus on the most common subtypes of human trafficking: amongst them, sex trafficking, child trafficking, and labor trafficking.

 

- Sex trafficking -

Sex trafficking, or the trafficking of individuals specifically for the purpose of sexual exploitation, is strongly tied to the trafficking of women and children on a global basis and is overwhelmingly the most common type of human trafficking; in fact, “the U.S Department of State estimates that 70% of all victims of international human trafficking are forced into the commercial sex industry.” [viii] Sex trafficking is typified by trafficked individuals, whether women, men or children, being forced to participate in sex work, often for minimal or no pay, in their destination country. Beyond simple prostitution, related activities include the practices of sex and marriage tourism, as well as the mail-order bride industry (these issues will be discussed further in Part II of this chapter); widespread demand for all of these industries feeds into the trafficking of women and children into the sex industry all over the world. Because sex trafficking is the most predominant type of trafficking, Part II of this chapter is devoted entirely to this issue.

 

- Trafficking of children -

Child trafficking is a grievous and widespread issue in the realm of human trafficking.  As defined by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “a ‘child victim of trafficking’ is any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, har­boured or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country. The use of illicit means, including violence or fraud, is irrelevant.”[ix] Unlike adults, children cannot give consent to be trafficked, regardless of their word or situation, because they are underage. It is estimated that half of all trafficking victims are children,[x] “as many as 1.2 million children [are] being trafficked every year,”[xi] and that the majority of these children are channeled into sex work.  Because child trafficking primarily feeds into the underground sex industry across the world, it is considered one of the worst forms of sex trafficking. It occurs in response to a widespread global demand for cheap, undocumented labor, or for sexual exploitation. Many trafficked children were stolen or kidnapped forcibly and then channeled into trafficking rings; however, another common process is recruitment, a deceit-ridden process in which typically poor urban or rural families are lured into essentially selling their children to recruiting individuals who offer promises that the child will be provided opportunities, education or wealth that the family could never afford. Alternately, in the case of many teenage girls, it is a friend, acquaintance or boyfriend that acts as the trafficking agent, offering a better life in a new country.

 

- Male-child kidnapping -

Beyond labor or sexual exploitation purposes, a newer form of child trafficking is emerging today, in regions such as China where high societal value is placed upon the male child.  For lack of an official term, this type of trafficking can be referred to as “male-child kidnapping:”

[In China] trafficking may be on the rise. A traditional preference for sons, combined with family planning restrictions limiting families to one child, have created a particularly strong market for boys. Christian Voumard, the Unicef representative in Beijing, says rising prosperity is contributing to the problem.  ‘We heard that the price for a male child will be around $3,600. It's much higher than the price for girls, …between $120 and $1000," he said. As people have more money and more resources …they could be tempted to buy these children.’ No one knows how widespread child trafficking is, but Unicef and the Chinese government estimate 1,000 babies are bought and sold every year. [xii]

 

Text Box: Real Trafficking Stories: Child Trafficking
The following is an account of child trafficking as experienced by an Albanian girl who is now living at a women’s shelter in Italy. 

“My name is E.R. and I am from Elbasan. When I was 15, my parents married me, against my will, to a man aged 35, whom I did not love. So started my miseries.
		Not too long afterwards, I abandoned him and returned to my family. But my parents did not accept me back because I had dishonored them by leaving my husband. I had no support and nowhere to go. I got acquainted with a boy who was 20, who said he loved me and promised to marry me. He convinced me to go to Italy for "a better life."
		I thought my sufferings now were at an end, but I did not know the real hell that was expecting me. I was compelled to work on the street. I did so for nearly three years. My exploiter savagely battered me frequently, mainly when I did not bring home the required sum or when he faced drug trafficking problems. During that time I gave birth to a son. 
		Once he beat me so hard that I cannot remember, and I fell on the floor. A friend of mine passing by…found me on the floor, covered in blood. She saved my life by taking me to the hospital. I gave evidence in Italy and returned to Albania with my son. Again, they did not accept me. They took in my son only, and I could not take care of him.
		Being destitute on the street again, I was forced to prostitute in Tirana, in the hotels and motels. I slept wherever I could – on the street, in the park. I decided my condition would be better in Italy. When I returned there, I worked on the street again and was caught by the police and taken back to Albania a second time.
            I find calmness and support in the shelter, and I now contemplate my future. I do not want anything else except to go home, to see and take care of my son, to be the mother he missed for so long.”


~ Account courtesy of the Association of Albanian Girls and Women
http://www.aagw.org/Education/TrueStories/True1ER

 

- disparity of terms: trafficking language and data difficulties -

            The official definition of human trafficking varies widely between governments, NGOs and other agencies, with certain themes often, and other key issues remaining under-addressed; this “lack of consensus” underlines the innately nebulous nature of the issue and “continues to be a barrier to progress – both in addressing and studying the issue.” [xiii] One issue is language: where separate nations’ trafficking documents are converted into other languages (for presentation at multinational anti-trafficking conventions, for example), such documents, which often detail the experiences and first-hand interviews of trafficked persons as originally given in their native tongue, may suffer from mistranslation; loose, shoddy or overly-interpretable transliteration; lack of relevant translations for local vernacular (a common issue when addressing sensitive issues of sex work or domestic labor) and the loss of difficult, nuanced, or culturally-specific ideas and undertones via the process of translation.

            Once the inherent linguistic issues have been addressed, establishing a common trafficking vocabulary – one that, ideally, upholds some sense of cultural relevance regarding multiple cultures’ different trafficking terms and the subtleties therein – proves difficult.          Another obstacle to standardizing the language of trafficking, writes Elizabeth Kelly for the International Organization for Migration, is the lack of trafficked persons’ self-identification.  With so many terms in use,

…[it] is even less likely that research participants, trafficked women and children in particular, will be aware of an agreed international definition and they are, therefore, likely to define trafficking in a variety of ways that diverge both from the Palermo definition and various national laws. While this is a problem in practice, research and policy need not rely on ‘self-definitions,’ especially since the tendency for women to minimize their situation and not define themselves as victims is certainly not limited to trafficking. [xiv]

 

Disparities in the terms across the trafficking discourse are widespread, and the resulting discrepancies across nations’ trafficking data often stymie anti-trafficking efforts and skew numbers: “…signatories to the Protocol are likely to have different definitions in their national laws, and it is these that are used in the construction of official data.” [xv] As such, language and terminology differences result in nearly all global statistical reports on trafficking – reports that are numerically questionable to begin with, due to the illicit, difficult to track, and therefore grossly underreported nature of trafficking incidents – being further distorted.

           

Text Box: Main Causes of
Human Trafficking

In various regions of the world, the following factors contribute to the increased rates of trafficking: 

- Poverty 
- Feminization of poverty
- Low traditional female status / worth
- High worldwide demand for              sex workers, and upon sex industries
- High demand for cheap labor
- Increased demand for male children
- Demand for child entertainers or child sports, i.e., camel jockeys
- Scarce job opportunities
- Low levels of education / literacy
- Traditionally subservient female role
- Increasing spread of HIV/AIDS




- What Causes Trafficking? - What factors render individuals vulnerable to human trafficking? The vulnerability of victims of trafficking is made up of a constellation of elements, and women and children are particularly susceptible to these various forces that propel trafficking. Status- and empowerment-reducing elements, including poverty and the feminization of poverty, in the case of the trade’s many female victims; reduced cultural esteem of the woman’s or child’s value in society; scarce job opportunities within the home country, and the traditional roles played by women and children as determined by culture and religion in the various origin countries all serve as driving factors for the booming trafficking trade. 

            On a global scale, possibly the most influential factor to motivate trafficking is poverty. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), "Trafficking is inextricably linked to poverty. Wherever privation and economic hardship prevail, there will be those destitute and desperate enough to enter into the fraudulent employment schemes that are the most common intake systems in the world of trafficking."[xvi] Throughout many poverty-stricken regions of the world, a belief often predominates that any work abroad will yield more income and a better life than work within the country; as such, poverty-ridden families are particularly vulnerable to the recruitment methods used by trafficking agents. Beyond this, feminization of poverty, in particular, contributes heavily to the increased rates of trafficking of women across the world: the combination of more female-funded households, lower pay rates and scarce domestic job opportunities for women, paired with the often prohibitive expense of trying to emigrate legally for work abroad, results in the increased likelihood that a woman will turn to the informal economy to earn a living, or that the family of a young female or child will resort to trafficking measures as a source of income and opportunity.

            Poverty drives trafficking in more than one way, and contributes to the vicious cycle in which many trafficked women become ensnared. In many situations, women who were once on the receiving end of the harmful results of trafficking eventually become the perpetuators of the process in order to remain above poverty.  The literature cites several examples of Filipina women trafficked from the Philippines to Japan who married either the host country’s trafficking boss or another non-involved citizen and then became trafficking agents or brothel madams themselves, working to continue the trade.

            Existing global issues of gender imbalance – which often stem from the traditional, religiously-determined roles of women – compounded with the feminization of poverty, render women and children, in particular, prime candidates for trafficking.

            Social constructs, as set forth by religion, impact significantly upon the vulnerability of women and children to trafficking. Various social customs, such as the practice of dowry, require that women marry at a young age, often via forced or arranged marriages. Traditionally associated with bride-burning and the commoditization of women in other areas of the world, dowry is one of the cultural practices that contribute to the reduction of the value of the female, which in turn informs upon the spread of trafficking.  Among many international communities and subcultures, there is significant emphasis placed upon the traditional, subservient role of a woman, in which she is responsible for serving and supporting her family. [xvii]

            Traffickers take full advantage of the proverbial hands that these women have been dealt, manipulating potential victims in various ways: “…by advertising in newspapers for dancers, waitresses, club hostesses, etc. or by direct recruitment in discotheques and bars. [Traffickers] also lure women through the use of marriage bureaus.” [xviii] Means of coercing women into prostitution are as diverse: upon entry into the destination country, victims may have their passports and travel documentation confiscated or destroyed, such that they cannot leave; some women are even led into drug dependency by their traffickers or madams, so that they have to continue sex work as a means to support their addiction. [xix]

            Another issue frequently cited by returned trafficking victims is debt bondage. As defined by the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, debt bondage is “the status or condition arising from a pledge by a debtor of his personal services or of those of a person under his control as security for a debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied towards the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.” [xx] Debt bondage is a particularly harmful coercion technique in that it contributes to a systematized cycle of trafficking: in many situations, if a woman cannot repay the monies owed to traffickers for her transportation and document costs, she may take on additional jobs while abroad (for which hiring a “placement agent” can cost her a large portion of her typically sparse salary), or, upon repatriation, be forced into trafficking again – thereby compiling more documentation and travel debt – in order to pay off her initial debts. With few legitimate earning options available to her, this practice can set the woman on a path of perpetual indebtedness, in which repeated trafficking is both the cause and the most available solution.

 

- What constitutes choice? -

Separate from, and yet intricately linked to the idea of consent (discussed in the next section) is the hazy realm of choice. This topic merits attention because it is significantly correlated with the trafficking of individuals; however, it is a huge subject and therefore will only be summarized briefly in this chapter. Looking beyond the disputed issue of an individual’s consent to enter into a trafficking situation, even in situations where people actively and knowingly choose to be trafficked to jobs of sex work or servitude, the idea of “choice” is debatable.  While the individual home-country situations of trafficked people across the world vary tremendously, the average trafficking victim typically comes from a particularly poor region or family within a less affluent country. Most of the countries that experience high rates of outbound female trafficking are also characterized by significant gender imbalances often due to disparate educational levels, religious beliefs, and a resultant lack of earning opportunities for females within the formal economy. Does the act of deciding between inexistent or scarce earning options and any available earning prospects truly represent an active choice, or is it simply a means of moving oneself a few meager notches up an economic spectrum by taking advantage of an illicit, and possibly harmful, opportunity? With so few chances for earning available to them in their home regions, individuals who “choose” to be trafficked typically do so in order to mitigate economic difficulties faced either personally or by their families. Beyond this, regular migration (traveling to another country via lawful means) is often prohibitively expensive and time-consuming for people in this situation, which is one reason trafficking becomes a viable option.

Anti-Slavery International’s UK Communications Director Mike Kaye explains, “The lack of regular migration opportunities to take up work in other countries and the fact that many migrants are looking for work abroad as a means of survival, rather than an opportunity to improve their standard of living, has left migrants with little choice but to rely on smugglers or traffickers in order to access these jobs.” [xxi] It is not, therefore, a matter of living well: for the majority of people who have undergone trafficking, the decision to travel irregularly stemmed from their need to simply survive. From a humanitarian perspective, this kind of “choice” serves to emphasize the condition of poverty-stricken individuals’ lives in their home countries: what problems are they facing, on a global scale, that they should regard irregular migration or trafficking as a solution?  Additionally, returning to the difficult issue of defining trafficking, the Palermo Protocol states that trafficking has occurred if a person is moved under “…threat or …forms of coercion, [or] …of the abuse of power of a position of vulnerability….”[xxii] Within this definition, the sources (be it a person or a social construct) and forms (whether physical, mental, fiscal, emotional, or of another quality) of these various means of coercion, and their temporal nature (immediate, sporadic, or long-term) are not explained, however. To this end, given the typical home situation of a person who turns to trafficking as a means to earn subsistence, one must ask whether poverty or suppressive home-culture measures should be considered coercive forces that drove him or her to turn to trafficking in order to better define trafficking and to better identify and target at-risk populations.

Another difficulty regarding the matter of choice is common to various other international health affairs: its tremendously relative nature, both culturally and economically. This speaks to the idea that what one person from one culture, education level, family status and earning ability may consider to be a “choice” does not necessarily reflect what another person within a different set of circumstances might. This seems to be a relatively recent subject in the discourse, and needs to be better addressed within the literature on human trafficking to make anti-trafficking programs more effective.

 

- INTRICACIES WITHIN HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Prostitution, Consent and Victimization in the UN Palermo Protocol -

            There is a huge spectrum of beliefs regarding sex trafficking, prostitution, and consent, and this chapter will touch upon a few of these issues surrounding the negotiations of the Palermo Protocols. In December 2000, over eighty countries signed the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, in Palermo, Italy (hence the documents are often referred to as the Palermo Protocols). A definition of human trafficking was created in Palermo and is currently officially employed by the ninety-six countries that ratified the Palermo Protocol. Consequently, this is the definition these countries use to identify and act upon human trafficking situations in their home countries. To reiterate, the Palermo Protocol states,

For the purposes of this Protocol: (a) ‘Trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction or fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another persons, for the purpose of exploitation.  Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.[xxiii]

 

This definition of trafficking was the target of heavy feminist lobbying during the two years in which the Palermo convention negotiations took place. One of the key arguments was fueled by the difference between voluntary and involuntary prostitution. Author Jo Doezema writes,

The lobby efforts were split into two camps, deeply divided in their attitudes towards prostitution. One lobby framed prostitution as legitimate labor. The other considered all prostitution to be a violation of women’s human rights. Not only feminist NGO networks were bitterly divided over the issue, however: many state delegations used the negotiations as an opportunity to denounce the evils of prostitution, while others…argued that focusing on prostitution detracted from the efforts to come to an agreement on trafficking. The differences were most ferociously fought out during debates on the proposed definition of trafficking, with the pivotal term “consent.” [xxiv]

 

The Palermo Protocol’s definition of trafficking suggests that even if the victim initially gives consent to be trafficked, her consent is considered moot within a legal framework because various methods of coercing the victim into issuing a consent (amongst them, “means of threat, or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction or fraud…” [xxv]) were probably used; as such, the trafficked person’s word is not truly uninfluenced, freely-given consent. Essentially, the consent of a victim to the intended exploitation is irrelevant where any of the exploitative means have been used.

            Part II of this chapter will discuss in depth the situation of the many women who are unwittingly or forcibly trafficked into sex work. The UN Palermo Protocol states that prostitution is by definition a form of exploitation, and that any woman who has been trafficked into prostitution has been exploited. In this sense, the language in the Protocol characterizes all women who have been trafficked as victims in need of protection, regardless of consent or whether they suffered due to the trafficking, and, in the case of prostitutes, whether or not their involvement in prostitution was coerced or voluntary. However, there are women working as prostitutes who knowingly used trafficking as a means to travel from their home countries to situations of improved earning opportunity, and it has been argued that these individuals are not necessarily “victims” of trafficking.

            Many ideas regarding prostitution as one implicitly non-consensual end result of human trafficking informs further upon women’s health on a global scale by targeting the issue of prostitution and its vulnerable, largely female population. Because various definitions of trafficking make little or no distinction between the forced and unforced types of prostitution into which trafficked women may enter, and due to the frequent societal correlation between prostitutes and trafficked women, many agencies combine their anti-trafficking efforts with measures to combat prostitution, regardless of whether the women in each case chose to become prostitutes, or whether they were coerced into it.

            Bebe Loff writes, “Historically, efforts to combat trafficking have ended up justifying repressive measures against prostitutes themselves in the name of 'protection' for women and children.” [xxvi] Implementing highly restrictive measures on sex workers can have devastating consequences, from both global health and human rights perspectives: because the majority of prostitutes work outside of the law, they are civilly vulnerable, with no recourse to protection from crime and little or no access to healthcare. Additionally, “legally sanctioned encouragement of prostitutes to use condoms or access screening services, both major determinants of the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, is impossible because of their illegal status.” [xxvii] 

            Regardless of the moral and legal connotations attached to prostitution, wide-aiming anti-trafficking policies that simultaneously target the practice of prostitution relegate millions of trafficked sex workers further to the outskirts of society, and impede the protection of the individuals involved, rather than helping them:

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has signed conventions on forced labor (1930), holidays with pay (1936), the protection of the right to organize (1948), the protection of wages (1949), and migration for employment (1949), but because of our intuitive sense that sex work should be marginalized as immoral and degrading to women, none of these rules has been applied to the gray market in sexual services. Our well-meaning desire to "protect" women forces the prostitution industry underground and out of the reach of established labor statutes. [xxviii]

 

The continued stripping of prostitutes’ human rights – one unfortunate side effect of anti-trafficking campaigns – pares down their already limited health rights, further reduces their access to healthcare, and renders sex workers even more vulnerable to harm from various sources. Inherent to the nature of their work, prostitutes are at great risk of violence in the workplace, or violence at the hands of arresting or deporting authorities; additionally, they are significantly more susceptible to HIV infection due to their lowered status: “Vulnerability to contracting HIV has been characterised as ‘exercising little or no control over one’s risk of acquiring HIV infection… vulnerability is magnified by societal factors such as marginalisation or discrimination.’ This account encapsulates the situation of most prostitutes.” [xxix] Marginalization of prostitution can also impact the very individuals whom the anti-trafficking policies aim to protect: those who have already been unwillingly or unwittingly trafficked and coerced into sex work. This is particularly true in situations involving the rescuing and reintegrating of these victims: “Where women are still within the sex industry, their fear of both the traffickers and the local law enforcement and immigration officials is likely to affect what they will say, including whether they identify themselves as victims of trafficking.” [xxx] Addressing the UN Palermo Protocol’s definition of prostitution within the framework of trafficking, Bebe Loff and her coauthors conclude,

The failure to recognize the distinction between forced and unforced prostitution allows the claims of prostitutes’ rights groups to be ignored. This expression of international law undermines efforts to reduce the incidence of HIV and AIDS and discriminates against prostitution on the basis of occupation. …This problem contributes to the vulnerability of prostitutes to disease. …[Human] Rights instruments should not contribute to the vulnerability of populations to disease, they should aim to diminish this vulnerability.[xxxi]

 

 

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Part II: TRAFFICKED WOMEN: SEX TRAFFICKING, INVOLUNTARY PROSTITUTION AND THEIR EFFECTS

By Asma Hussain

 

 

- INTRODUCTION -

            The exploitation of women occurs in numerous fashions through a variety of forces and conditions such as poverty, lack of education, little or no access to health care, economic restrictions, cultural, social, and religious ideologies, political violence and corruption, family structure, childcare, and limited decision-making in the household. The interplay and overlap of these forces reproduces, reinforces, and maintains the oppression of women. In order to survive, many women enter the dangerous work of prostitution – a profession that often keeps women in the strong threshold of oppression.

            Consider the following statistics: according to the United Nations, although women comprise one-half of the world’s population, they do two-thirds of the world’s work while only earning one-tenth of the world’s income and they own one-hundredth of the world’s property.[xxxii]  Eighty-percent of the world’s refugees are women and children and women constitute 70% of the world’s poor and two-thirds of the world’s illiterates.[xxxiii] Women occupy approximately one in seven of the world’s managerial and administrative jobs, and women are less likely to have access to paid employment; the average woman who does have a job earns only approximately half of the average man’s income.[xxxiv]  Clearly, the current condition of women worldwide is one that offers little consolation, and when the situation of women is so despairing, the condition of prostitutes is typically worse. 

            The complex and multifaceted forces outlined above are intricately woven together to create, multiply, and sustain prostitution.  The sex industry has become a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon that profits immensely from the collective and corrupt, direct and indirect work of mafias, police, government officials, policy-makers, tourists, airline workers, businessmen, clients, and even other women.  Part II of this chapter is divided into five parts:  the different methods through which women become prostitutes; the multiple social, economic, and political factors which help keep them in this work; the physical and health consequences of prostitution; the emotional, psychological and mental effects of prostitution; and a resource list of different organizations working to combat this worldwide problem. The final section of this chapter will address various steps that are being taken to stem the human trafficking trade on a global scale.

 

 

- Section 1: BECOMING A PROSTITUTE -

There are many methods through which women become prostitutes; this chapter will highlight four of the means by which individuals enter situations that result in their entry into involuntary prostitution: via trafficking; by kidnapping; via trickery; and via the selling of female relatives.

 

- Trafficking -

          According to USAID, between 700,000 to 4 million people are annually bought and sold as prostitutes, domestic workers, sex slaves, child laborers, and child soldiers.[xxxv]   As many as 100,000 female victims are forced into prostitution each year and trafficking generally flows from poorer to wealthier nations, with South and Southeast Asia reported to have the most active traffickers.[xxxvi]   UNICEF estimates that the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in the past thirty years has victimized over 30 million people. [xxxvii]  According to UN calculations, the procurers, smugglers, and corrupt public officials involved in the international human trade extracted $7 billion in profits in 1997.[xxxviii]   The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was established by the US State Department in October 2001.  This office releases an annual report which includes three-tiered lists of countries that experience significant levels of trafficking.[xxxix] Each country is categorized based on its government’s level of commitment to combating trafficking and criminal activity, especially in the areas of public education, victim protection, and prosecution.

 

- Kidnapping -

           

Women and girls are forced into prostitution when traffickers who focus their attention on poor villages kidnap, illegally smuggle, and then sell the women to others who will force them to have intercourse with scores of strange men.  One incident described how a trafficking agent in a central Thai province photographed village girls on their way to school.  He then showed the pictures to a brothel keeper who “ordered” the girls he wanted.  After the selection, the agent returned and kidnapped the chosen girls.[xl]

 

- Trickery -

Traffickers or recruiters may also offer women legitimate work such as restaurant workers, hostesses, models, domestic and household servants, or entertainment workers.[xli]  The financially dismal situation of these families often drives them to give their children to traffickers who pose as job placement agents.  Unbeknownst to them, their children are instead often forced to engage in dangerous sex with paying clients. Offers made to the families become even more appealing when traffickers take the responsibility to secure travel documents and even pay for the passage of the victims to different countries.  Traffickers also often offer cash advances to poor families with young children in order to lay claim on their children’s futures.[xlii]  For families who have little opportunity of a stable future, an offer of legitimate work with an all-expense-paid trip to another country hardly sounds like the workings of an illegal, corrupt, and violent underground economy.

 

- Selling of Female Relatives -

Apart from being kidnapped or tricked, women also become prostitutes when their families knowingly sell them into this profession.  The lack of jobs and basic necessities experienced by those in poverty-stricken areas is cause enough to send their daughters to work with the only commodity they can sell — their bodies.  And there is demand enough.

 

 

- Section 2: REMAINING A PROSTITUTE -

THE OPPRESSION OF PROSTITUTES

          The nature of prostitution has been argued to be inherently oppressive; however, the tragedy does not end there.  This oppression is methodical, stemming from a variety of social and cultural ideologies and economic and political forces.  Sociologist Julia O’Connell Davidson[xliii] quotes Iris Young by declaring that “We cannot eliminate…structural oppression by getting rid of the rulers or making some new laws, because oppressions are systematically reproduced in major economic, political and cultural institutions.” [xliv]  Although Davidson says that the domination of women is more than “being merely oppressed by the bad laws of bad guys,” this is actually a very large and imperative aspect of the perpetuation of oppression against prostitutes, especially when these “bad guys” legitimize their “bad laws” through ideology.

 

- Cultural Ideology -

          In most societies, mainstream religious and cultural ideologies perpetuate the view that prostitutes are undeserving deviants from dominant society.  Many also believe that because these women have “chosen” this “promiscuous profession,” violence against them is permissible.  The popular notion that prostitutes are morally inferior causes prostitutes to view themselves as being unworthy— a belief that is of course maintained by the majority of the society in which these prostitutes reside.  Beadle describes how the Sangha — Thailand’s religious leadership—is essential in its promotion of prostitution.  She writes, “…Thai Buddhism’s role in the justification and perpetuation of sex trafficking as a national industry is arguably the most dangerously underestimated factor in a complex web of social and political realities contributing to the growing problem.[xlv]  It is interesting to note that most societies are patriarchal and despite the glaring fact that the clients of prostitutes are men, these oppressive views against prostitutes are nonetheless very powerful.  Even in cultures and religions that do not hold such negative views, prostitutes are still at the very least considered social outcasts and little is done to assist these women out of their suffering—which again, is mainly due to the demand created by men.  So the irony becomes this:  societies, mainly ruled by men, come to accept that prostitutes are undeserving while these are the same men who create the demand for such atrocities. Interestingly, men who patronize prostitutes are experiencing a shift in the terminology used to describe them.  For example, in Australia, where prostitution is legal, “men who were formerly called procurers and pimps now comprise a newly respected class of sex ‘businessmen’.” [xlvi]  This serves to reinforce the idea that what these “businessmen” do is legitimate.  Such legitimization is also seen in the vocabulary currently used to describe prostitutes. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women reports that “The trading of women and an increasing number of girls is…often glamorized by including language that makes such practices acceptable…one no longer uses the word prostitute, but instead uses “sex worker,” “entertainer,” “guest relations officer,” or “cultural dancer.” [xlvii]  

Davidson also describes how prostitutes “often buy into discourse about gender and sexuality which attach stigma and moral blame to prostitutes, rather than to their third-party exploiters or clients.”[xlviii]  She goes on to support her claim by providing the account of one Filipina prostitute who says, “…If you have sex outside of marriage, it’s as if you’re a bad woman who has ruined her life.  You’re repulsive to look at.  I think I’m still conservative in my thinking.  I still feel the same towards the women who work in the clubs.”[xlix]  Not only do prostitutes develop negative feelings towards themselves, but they come to also view fellow prostitutes in the same manner: in this way, ostracizing and stigmatization become a vicious cycle within sex worker communities. In other cases, older women help younger ones enter this profession and the former find no problems with this action.  In fact, they believe they are helping these younger women.  Flamm describes one narration by a female brothel owner who had just received a new girl: “She is very pretty and very young, just 15 years old.  My girls are happy to stay here with my family.  We live as one family.  I provide for them a place to live and work, and they can earn some money for later.  They are from very poor villages in Vietnam so we are able to help each other out.”[l] 

 

- Family structure/Childcare -

            The limited involvement of women in household decisions also has an important effect upon their treatment as women and as prostitutes.  Again, the rule of patriarchal societies does not allow women equal membership in important matters in the home.  Rather, the rule becomes less participation, but more contribution.  Remember that women do two-thirds of the world’s work despite the fact that men have more jobs and own more property than women.  Husbands may live off the earnings of their wives who prostitute or they may even help their wives find clients.  Husbands may even be the ones who first force their wives into prostituting to ensure the steady arrival of an income.  Because of the woman’s lack of control over herself and her social position, the money she makes ends up in the hands of the decision-maker — this certainly not being her.  Even women who are not prostitutes are subjected to their husband’s violent demands. Davidson shares the following disconcerting account:

I know non-prostitute women, for example, whose economically inactive male partners expect them to work two or three part-time cleaning jobs, as well as to perform all the domestic tasks in their own household, and who will use physical violence or the threat of it to ensure that they meet these expectations.  I have also known non-prostitute women who have been manipulated into performing unpaid sexual acts with acquaintances, strangers, even dogs, for the sexual and psychological pleasure of their male partner.[li]             

 

The subordination of wives is intertwined closely with the cultural ideologies described above.  Clearly, the negative beliefs against prostitutes and even women help create a situation in which they not only lose their autonomy to their husbands and the patriarchal society, but their rights over their own bodies as well.  Just as prostitutes come to accept the belief that they are unworthy, many Thai women come to accept that their husbands will visit prostitutes.   Some even prefer this behavior to an adulterous affair and the possibility that their husband’s will take on a mia noi — a “minor wife.”  Since prostitutes are simply considered to be another commodity to be bought and sold, the night activities of Thai men are never questioned and usually ignored.[lii]  In fact, surveys of Thai university students, military officers, and young men reveal that between 60%-97% either lose their virginity to a prostitute or continue visiting prostitutes on a regular basis.[liii]  Beadle describes how “for the majority of adolescent boys, their initiation into adulthood begins with a night of carousing and drinking with their buddies, and ends in the bed of a prostitute.”[liv]  This phenomenon illustrates how not only do family dynamics play an essential role in prostitution, but how these actions are considered legitimate because of the ideology that supports these actions.

Changing dynamics of the family structure are also affecting the social environment for women and children.  The breakdown of the extended family, the increased rate of marriage breakdown, and the separation of families for long periods due to migration for work have resulted in an increase of broken families.  This has in turn exposed many children to high-risk behavior, including drug use or has increased their chances of becoming homeless or delinquent.[lv]  Migration is also a key component in the spread of AIDS, as men separate from their wives to leave their homes in search of economic security but then end up finding prostitutes instead.

Another aspect closely related to family structure is the care women must provide for their children. In situations where women are left to care for numerous children and opportunities are scarce, they resort to having sex with other men and the matter is worsened when the woman is the sole provider for an extended family.  In societies and cultures where fathers are missing and mainstream society rejects prostitutes, the future of half the world’s population is not promising. 

 

- ECONOMIC FACTORS -

 

- Poverty: Jobs, Education, Healthcare -

 

Poverty is one of the fundamental problems underlying the entrance of women into prostitution.  According to the United Nations Chronicle, “Poverty will always remain one of the root causes for women and children to be lured into prostitution.  In Asia and the Pacific alone, where roughly one third of the world’s population of 7 billion lives, nearly one fourth lives on less than one dollar per day.”[lvi] In an area with no jobs to make money and no education to get those jobs, the only feasible solution and irony is to constantly sell the very thing that women want to keep alive—their bodies.  This problem is compounded when there is no infrastructure to provide basic health care, especially since prostitutes suffer from a multitude of health problems.  The effects of a profession that is intrinsically violent are exacerbated when no healthcare system is in place to provide not only women but all members of its society with medical care. 

USAID describes how “poverty and unemployment fuel the supply for potential victims.”  According to this agency, between 70-80% of unemployed workers in the Russian Federation are women and “they constitute a deep pool of potential trafficking victims.”[lvii]

 

PART 3: THE HEALTH REPERCUSSIONS OF PROSTITUTION

 

- VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND PROSTITUTES -

            “It is a violation of human rights when women are trafficked, bought and sold as prostitutes.”[lviii]  This statement, made by Hillary Clinton, reflects the current belief held by organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United States Agency for International Development.  However, it is essential to note that violence against prostitutes only comes after violence against women—that is to say, violence against a prostitute is first and foremost violence against a woman.  This phenomenon is a global one, affecting every region, culture, nation, people, and religion.  Violence against women is truly an international occurrence.  Consider these statistics:  in the United States, a woman is attacked every 15 seconds. One-third of women admitted to emergency rooms are victims of domestic violence and 47% of men who beat their spouses do so at least three times a year.[lix] Approximately 1.5 million women are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year and as many as 324,000 women suffer from intimate partner violence while pregnant.[lx]  In the one minute it takes to read these statistics, 1.3 women will be raped.  Rape is the fastest growing violent crime in the United States.[lxi]  A 2004 World Bank-funded study reports that up to 20% of Thai husbands have beaten their wives at least once.[lxii]  It is important to reiterate here that if the rate and frequency of violence against women is so profound, the condition of prostitutes is only worse.  After all, if men do not respect their wives, it is not expected that they will offer respect to women perceived as deviants.  These statistics only allow a very diminutive glimpse into full scope of this crisis and its far-reaching and devastating effects.  The following is also only a brief analysis of the multitude of physical, emotional, mental, and psychological consequences prostitutes endure.  To illustrate a complete picture is certainly beyond the scope of this paper and perhaps every paper.  Perhaps then, it is sufficient to take the words of Catharine A. MacKinnon: “Women in prostitution are denied every imaginable civil right in every imaginable and unimaginable way, such that it makes sense to understand prostitution as consisting in the denial of women’s humanity, no matter how humanity is defined.” [lxiii]

 

PHYSICAL TRAUMA: RAPE, TORTURE, MURDERS, MUTILATIONS, WHIPPINGS

 

A survey by the Prostitution Research and Education project interviewed 854 people currently or recently involved in prostitution in the United States, Zambia, Turkey, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, and Thailand.  The study revealed that 70-95% had been physically assaulted and 60-75% were raped.[lxiv]  Similarly, a study led by psychologist Melissa Farley at Kaiser Permanente that included 475 prostitutes from the United Sates, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and Zambia found that 62% had been raped, 73% had been assaulted, and 68% had been threatened with a weapon.[lxv]  Kordvani[lxvi] reported that 18% of his interviewees were subject to sexual abuse by the police and six cases of sexual abuse had taken place on the way to the police station.  Eighty-six percent reported physical violence from police.  This violence included (ranging from highest frequency): beating, slapping, kicking, punching, and virginity testing.  Forty-four of the victims were subject to multiple physical abuses and 96% of the respondents mentioned that the police used derogatory language while arresting them and during the time of custody. 

Davidson describes the physical injuries and illnesses suffered by child prostitutes in Thailand, which was compiled by the United Nations Working Group of Experts on Slavery in August 1984.  This list included “rectal fissures, lesions, poor sphincter control, lacerated vaginas, foreign bodies in the anus or vagina, perforated anal and vaginal walls, death by asphyxiation, chronic choking from gonorrheal tonsillitis, ruptured uteruses, bodily mutilation and death in childbirth.”[lxvii]

            Child prostitutes are especially treated violently.  Brothel owners make them work without break, steal their wages, and warn them not to leave by informing them that they will be arrested as illegal immigrants. Many are beaten for refusing to work and even the men who buy the child prostitutes become violent if they refuse to perform various sexual acts.[lxviii]

            According to a Canadian Report on Prostitution and Pornography, women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average.[lxix]  One study [lxx]revealed that 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide and prostitutes comprise 15% of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.  Seventy-eight percent of women who sought help from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, Oregon had attempted suicide.[lxxi]

            Every woman in the Dignity House program (Developing Individual Growth and New Independence Through Yourself) said she had been robbed, raped, kicked, and beaten with knives, fists, guns, baseball bats, coat hangers, and boards and every girl knew someone who had been murdered while working in prostitution.[lxxii]  One woman in another study offered the following graphic account:

"I’ve had three broken arms, nose broken twice, [and] I’m partially deaf in one ear….I have a small fragment of a bone floating in my head that gives me migraines. I’ve had a fractured skull. My legs ain’t worth shit no more; my toes have been broken. My feet, bottom of my feet, have been burned; they've been whopped with a hot iron and clothes hanger… the hair on my pussy had been burned off at one time…I have scars. I’ve been cut with a knife, beat with guns, two-by-fours. There hasn’t been a place on my body that hasn’t been bruised somehow, some way, some big, some small."[lxxiii]

 

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL TRAUMA

 

            The same study at Kaiser Permanente mentioned above also found that two-thirds of prostitutes suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, flashbacks, and nightmares.  This disorder is a psychological reaction to exceptionally stressful events and is more commonly associated with war veterans or those who have been involved in serious accidents.  However, researchers concluded that, “The severity of the post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by the prostitutes was comparable to that of Vietnam veterans.”  Mostly street prostitutes were interviewed because of their availability, but while there exists more physical violence in street as opposed to brothel prostitution, there was no difference in the incidence of this disorder.  The researchers stated that this suggests that, “psychological trauma is intrinsic to the act of prostitution.”  The psychologists began this study to help determine whether prostitution is a violation of human rights.  Julie Bindel from the Research Centre on Violence, Abuse and Gender Relations at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK declared that “With the hazards that prostitutes have to face daily, I would be extremely shocked if anybody who was involved for any period of time did not show signs of stress disorder.”[lxxiv]  This research clearly illustrates how prostitution is inherently a disturbing violation of human rights.

            Prostitutes also suffer from high rates of drug and alcohol abuse.  In the United States, 85% of prostitutes are addicted to heroin, crack, alcohol, or prescription drugs.[lxxv]  Prostitutes who work on the streets are often drug addicted, generally weighing 25-35 pounds underweight in jail as a direct result of their drug addictions.[lxxvi]  Moreover, women are also forced to support their pimps’ drug habit and almost half of the thirty prostitutes interviewed for a story described how their pimps were responsible for getting them addicted to drugs.  All of them said their pimps also ordered them to commit other crimes.[lxxvii]

            Another factor that contributes to the mental and emotional trauma of prostitutes is their presence in a new country when they are trafficked.  Here, they truly become powerless as they struggle to stay alive in a foreign land with new people and no understanding of the language or culture. The prostitutes realize that their chances of escaping are near impossible without the knowledge of the area, their lack of communication skills, and their illegal status in the country. Eliciting help from authorities would be unfeasible, first because of their lack of information on where authorities are located and the difficulty getting there, and secondly, because the authorities themselves are simply part of the system.  The emotional and mental stress is exacerbated when prostitutes discover that they have been tricked and have arrived in a new country and their loved ones back home have no knowledge of their whereabouts.  

            The sheer number of clients prostitutes are expected to service is also a factor that results in the deterioration of the latter’s health.  Strange men after men after men are given permission from some more strange men to intrude into the women’s most private, intimate, and personal being.  One author describes how “The everyday life of prostitution is distant from most of us. And here, our imagination is a poor assistant. Negotiate a price with a stranger. Agree. Pull down one pant leg. Come and take me. Finished. Next, please. It becomes too ugly to really take it in. The imagination screeches to a halt."[lxxviii]  The repeated exposure of women to these undignified acts undoubtedly takes a toll.  The following is an account by a prostitute who describes her emotional pain.

For a great part of 1992 I lived in a beautiful apartment on Capitol Hill. I drove my expensive car. I bought lovely clothes and traveled extensively out of the country. For the first time in my 20 years as an adult woman, I paid my own way. There was no need to worry about affording my rent, my phone bill, all the debts one accumulates simply by living month to month. I felt invincible. And I was miserable to the core. I hated myself because I hated my life. All the things I came to possess meant nothing. I could not face myself in the mirror. Working in prostitution lost my soul.[lxxix]

 

Children who have no understanding of sex are also forced to perform degrading acts they did not know existed.  One Australian man beat and raped two Thai girls, aged eight and eleven, in a Bangkok hotel in October 1993.  The man was arrested after a series of pictures were sent to a child protection agency by a photo-processing laboratory.  One pornographic photograph showed the eight-year-old crying as she was orally raped.[lxxx]  Women suffer tremendously from these violent acts; the effects on children are beyond imaginable.

            It comes as absolutely no surprise, then, that prostitutes strongly desire to leave this daily threat. Another study by Kaiser Permanente and the Prostitution and Research Education found that 92% of the 130 people surveyed reported that they wanted to leave prostitution but could not because of a lack of basic human services, including job training, healthcare, counseling and treatment for drug and alcohol addictions, or even a home.[lxxxi]

 

AIDS: A CATEGORY OF ITS OWN

            The threat and reality of AIDS has become a constant social force deeply intertwined with prostitution, which has heightened the vulnerability of women, especially prostitutes, to the dangers of this combined phenomenon.  A United Nations report stated that although Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the world’s highest incidence of AIDS, Eastern Europe and Central Asia are suffering from the fastest rate of growth in HIV infections.[lxxxii]  The leading cause of death among the population ages 15-44 is HIV/AIDS in Thailand.[lxxxiii]  Sixty percent of the world’s population resides in Asia, a region in which 7.4 million people are living with HIV and this epidemic “is fueled by injected drug use, infected sex workers and sex between men, but it is fast moving into the general population.”[lxxxiv]  It is important to recall the cultural ideology in which Thai women expect their husbands to visit prostitutes and actually prefer this action to having a mistress—and this is precisely how non-prostitute women are becoming infected with AIDS.  In fact, the largest cause of the spread of AIDS in Thailand is men who service prostitutes.[lxxxv]  Thus, this social occurrence not only threatens the lives of prostitutes, but other women as well.  The situation is exacerbated when children are infected through mothers in childbirth or nursing.  It becomes very easy to see how the family structure is deteriorated, which then makes these groups highly susceptible to other social problems.

            The travel industry is a vital factor in the proliferation of HIV/AIDS and also profits immensely from prostitution, both directly and indirectly.  However, Davidson writes that, 

Most travel companies and airlines would, of course, be quick to distance themselves from sex tourism and to insist that it is beyond their power to affect what individual tourists choose to do while abroad.  Yet tour operators typically promote travel to known sex tourist destinations by emphasizing the pleasures of the ‘nightlife’ which exists in them, and, whether these third-party beneficiaries connive with sexual exploiters by drawing attention to the ‘opportunities’ on offer or not, companies which facilitate tourism to known sex tourist resorts play a very active role in the daily reproduction of tourist-related prostitution and derive substantial profits from it.[lxxxvi]

 

 

- PART IV: COMBATTING THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF PROSTITUTION -

 

In addition to the URLs throughout this Chapter’s “Works Cited” list, please refer to the following list for additional resources of information on prostitution and human trafficking. An asterisk (*) next to the link indicates that opening the document requires Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.

 

United Nations Global Programme Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GPAT)

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/trafficking_human_beings.html

 

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

http://www.catwinternational.org/

 

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

http://www.usaid.gov/about/women/trafficking.html

 

Human Rights Watch: Women: Trafficking

http://www.hrw.org/women/trafficking.html

 

United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

http://www.state.gov/g/tip/

 

UNICEF Child Protection Information Sheet – Trafficking *

http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/trafficking.pdf

 

UNICEF-USA. Child Trafficking: Advocate: Take Action

http://www.unicefusa.org/site/c.duLRI8O0H/b.269279/k.B9A1/Child_Trafficking__Advocate__Take_Action__US_Fund_for_UNICEF.htm

 

 

- WHAT CAN BE DONE? Combating and preventing human trafficking -

 

Many UN agencies on a global scale have established special programs or offices to deal with the issue of trafficking, including UNICEF, the United Nations’ Women’s Fund (UNIFEM), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). US and multinational organizations including USAID, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration, and the World Health Organization have also taken up the call, creating programs and funding huge projects, backed by millions of dollars, to further identify, quantify and determine ways to lessen the degree of the trafficking problem. Additionally, beyond the widespread reach of UN organizations, NGOs and local governments, nearly every single nation afflicted by trafficking – whether they are origin, transit or destination regions – have established local trafficking watchdog organizations, as well as various local agencies that disseminate anti-trafficking awareness via widespread campaigns, and work with returned trafficking victims on assuring them a smooth reintegration into their home societies.

 

Additionally, multinational conventions like the Palermo meetings in 2000, which resulted in the creation and implementation of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime,” are a strong, necessary step in the right direction towards abating the scourge of human trafficking. The adoption of a worldwide trafficking definition and vocabulary will also pave the path towards redressing this massive problem.

 

However, the worldwide problem of trafficking will not be fully extinguished until the underlying, large-scale factors that truly fuel it, including global poverty, the feminization of poverty, the widespread lowered values of the female, and a global demand for the sex industry, have been properly addressed. Because these issues are also at the root of a multitude of other international problems, including the degradation of the environment, urban sprawl, overpopulation, loss of natural resources, and the degradation of the Earth, it is becoming even more urgent now that these matters be recognized and addressed on a massive, globally cooperative scale.


Works Cited, URLs, and Bibliography

 



[i]        United States Government. Trafficking in Persons Report 2005. Viewed 02/11/06.

[ii]        United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.  United Nations, New York; 2000.

[iii]       UN, 2000.

[iv]      “Trafficking in Human Beings.” http://www.interpol.int/Public/THB/default.asp,  Viewed 03/25/06.

[v]       United States Government, 2005.

[vi]      UN, 2000.

[vii]      UN, 2000.

[viii]     Forte, VL. “Human Trafficking: Types of Human Trafficking – Crime.” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art24738.asp.  Bella Online: The Voice of Women; 2006. Viewed 03/20/06. 

[ix]       UNICEF. “Child Protection – Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.” http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_exploitation.html.  Viewed 03/09/06.

[x]       Forte, 2006.

[xi]       UNICEF, 2006.

[xii]      BBC News, Asia-Pacific. “On the Trail of a Trafficked Child.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4101567.stm.  Thursday, 16 December, 2004. Viewed 03/18/06.

[xiii]     Kelly, E. Journeys of Jeopardy: A Review of Research on Trafficking in Women and Children in Europe. IOM Migrant Research Series. No. 11: November 2002.

[xiv]     Kelly, 2002.

[xv]     Kelly, 2002.

[xvi]     Advocacy Net. Network Against Trafficking Unites Civil Society in Nigeria and Italy. AdvocacyNet Newsletter. Volume 1, Issue 1; November 2001.

[xvii]    Mizell, A.  Alternatives to violence: A comparison of the Muslims of the Southern Philippines and the Kurds of Turkey – II. http://www.KurdishMedia.com. Published 01/31/2006. Viewed 02/12/06.

[xviii]   European Commission, Justice and Home Affairs. Trafficking in women: the misery behind the fantasy: from poverty to sex slavery: a comprehensive European strategy. March 8, 2001.

[xix]     European Commission, Justice and Home Affairs, 2001.

[xx]      UN-OHCHR. Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, Article 1; 1. Adopted by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries convened by Economic and Social Council resolution 608 (XXI) of 30 April 1956. UN-OHCHR. Geneva; 7 September, 1956.

[xxi]     Kaye, M. Actual conditions of human trafficking and strategies for its eradication.  http://www.nkhumanrights.or.kr/NKHR_new/new_pages/sixth/documents/Session4/Mike Kaye-Session4.doc.  Viewed 02/10/06.

[xxii]    UN, 2000.

[xxiii]   UN, 2000.

[xxiv]   Doezema, J. “Now You See Her, Now You Don’t: Sex Workers at the UN Trafficking Protocol Negotiations.” Social and Legal Studies. Volume 14, No. 1, 2005: p. 61-89.

[xxv]    UN, 2000.

[xxvi]   Doezema, J. Who Gets to Choose? Coercion, Consent and the UN Trafficking Protocol. http://www.walnet.org/csis/papers/doezema-choose.htm  Viewed 02/14/06.

[xxvii]  Loff, B. et al. Prostitution, public health, and human-rights law.  The Lancet. Volume 356, November 18, 2000: 1764.

[xxviii] Platt, L. Regulating the Global Brothel. The American Prospect. Volume 12, No. 12, July 2, 2001.

[xxix]   Loff et al., 2000.

[xxx]    Kelly, 2002.

[xxxi]   Loff et al., 2000.

[xxxii]  Marger, M. Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes.  3rd ed.  New York: Mc-Graw Hill, 2005.

[xxxiii]  Rourke, J.  International Politics on the World Stage.  Connecticut: McGraw-Hill, 2003.

[xxxiv] Rourke, 2003.

[xxxv]  “Trafficking in Persons.”  USAID: Combating Trafficking in Persons.  10 March 2004.  United States Agency for International Development.  8 Sept. 2004 http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/trafficking/.  

[xxxvi] “Women as Chattel: The Emerging Global Market in Trafficking.” Gender Matters Quarterly.  Feb. 1999. USAID Office of Women in Development GenderReach Project.

[xxxvii]   Flamm, Mikel.  “Exploited, Not Educated: Trafficking of Women and Children in Southeast Asia.”  2003.  United Nations Chronicle Online Edition.  14 Sept. 2004  http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2003/issue2/0203p34.html.

[xxxviii]   “Women as Chattel: The Emerging Global Market in Trafficking.” Gender MattersQuarterly. Feb. 1999.  USAID Office of Women in Development GenderReach Project.

[xxxix] “Trafficking in Persons.”  USAID: Combating Trafficking in Persons.  10 March 2004.  USAID.  8 Sept. 2004.

         http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/trafficking/.

[xl]       CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: Thailand.  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.catwinternational.org/fb/Thailand.html.

[xli]      “Women as Chattel: The Emerging Global Market in Trafficking.” Gender MattersQuarterly. Feb. 1999.  USAID Office of Women in Development GenderReach Project.

[xlii]     “Women as Chattel: The Emerging Global Market in Trafficking.” Gender Matters Quarterly. Feb. 1999. USAID Office of Women in Development GenderReach Project.

[xliii]    Davidson, Julia. Prostitution, Power and Freedom. The University of Michigan Press, 1998. 

[xliv]    Davidson, 41.

[xlv]     Beadle, Monique.  “The Sangha and the Thai Sex Industry.”  2003.  The Institute for Global Engagement.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.globalengagement.org/issues/2003/08/sangha.htm.

[xlvi]    “Legalizing Prostitution at the U.N.”  5 March 2000.  Concerned Women for America.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=3457&department=CWA&categoryid=nation

[xlvii]   Javate de Dios, Aurora.  “Making the Harm Visible: Confronting Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sexual Exploitation in Asia.  Feb. 1999.  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/mhvasia.htm.

[xlviii]  Davidson, 39.

[xlix]    Davidson, 39.

[l]        Flamm, M. “Exploited, Not Educated: Trafficking of Women and Children in Southeast Asia.”  2003.  United Nations Chronicle Online Edition.  14 Sept. 2004 

[li]        Davidson, 46.

[lii]       Beadle, M. “The Sangha and the Thai Sex Industry.”  2003.  The Institute for Global

Engagement.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.globalengagement.org/issues/2003/08/sangha.htm.

[liii]      Beadle, 2004.

[liv]      Beadle, 2004.

[lv]      “Women’s Health and Development: Country Profile, Thailand.  Jan. 1998.

         World Health Organization, South East Asia Region Office.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.journ.freeserve.co.uk/thai/thai1.html

[lvi]      Flamm, 2003.

[lvii]     “Women as Chattel: The Emerging Global Market in Trafficking.” Gender Matters Quarterly. Feb. 1999. United States Agency for International Development Office of Women in Development GenderReach Project.

[lviii]    “The Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation: USA-Trafficking.”  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.catwinternational.org/fb/usa1.html.

[lix]      “Organized and Institutionalized Sexual Exploitation and Violence.”  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. 

[lx]       “Intimate Partner Violence: Fact Sheet.”  5 Aug. 2004.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.  8 Nov. 2004.

         http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/ipvfacts.htm.

[lxi]      United States Department of Justice, 2000. 

[lxii]     “Fighting Domestic Violence in Thailand.”  2004.  The World Bank Group.

         20 Sept. 2004.

<http://www.worldbank.or.th/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICE....>

[lxiii]    MacKinnon, Catharine.  “Prostitution and Civil Rights.”  Michigan Journal of Gender and Law.  1993.  Prostitution Research and Education.  24 Sept. 2004 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/mackinnon1.html.

[lxiv]    “Legalizing Prostitution at the U.N.”  5 March 2000.  Concerned Women for America.  24 Sept. 2004.

http://www.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=3457&department=CWA&categoryid=nation

[lxv]     “Most Prostitutes are Psychologically ‘shell-shocked.’  19 Aug. 1998.  BBC NEWS 14 Sept. 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/154140.stm.

[lxvi]    Kordvani, 5.

[lxvii]   Davidson, 35.

[lxviii]  CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: Thailand.  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.catwinternational.org/fb/Thailand.html

[lxix]    Farley, Melissa.  “Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations.”  2 April 2000.  Prostitution Research and Education.  8 Nov. 2004 . http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html

         Taken from Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, 1985, Pornography and Prostitution in Canada 350.

[lxx]     Farley, Melissa.  “Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations.”  2 April 2000.  Prostitution Research and Education.  8 Nov. 2004 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html.

         Taken from Letter from Susan Kay Hunter, Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Jan 6, 1993, cited by Phyllis Chesler in "A Woman's Right to Self-Defense: the case of Aileen Carol Wuornos," in Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness, 1994, Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine.

[lxxi]    CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: United States. 

[lxxii]   CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: United States. 

[lxxiii]   Farley, Melissa.  “Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations.”  2 April 2000.  Prostitution Research and Education.  8 Nov. 2004 .

         http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html.

         Taken from Giobbe, E. (1992) Juvenile Prostitution: Profile of Recruitment in Ann W. Burgess (ed.) Child Trauma: Issues & Research.Garland Publishing Inc, New York, page 126.

[lxxiv]  “Most Prostitutes are Psychologically ‘shell-shocked.’  19 Aug. 1998.  BBC NEWS 14 Sept. 2004 . http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/154140.stm .

[lxxv]   CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: United States. 

[lxxvi]  CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: United States. 

[lxxvii] CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: United States

[lxxviii] Farley, Melissa.  “Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations.”  2 April 2000.  Prostitution Research and Education.  8 Nov. 2004 http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html.

         Taken from Cecilie Hoigard and Liv Finstad, Backstreets: Prostitution, Money, and Love, 1992, translated by Katherine Hanson, Nancy Sipe, and Barbara Wilson; first published as Bakgater in Norway, 1986, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania.

[lxxix]  Farley, Melissa.  “Prostitution: Factsheet on Human Rights Violations.”  2 April 2000.  Prostitution Research and Education.  8 Nov. 2004. http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/factsheet.html.

         Taken from Survivor interviewed by Debra Boyer, Lynn Chapman and Brent Marshall in Survival Sex in King County: Helping Women Out (1993), King County Women’s Advisory Board, Northwest Resource Associates, Seattle.

[lxxx]   CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: Thailand.  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.catwinternational.org/fb/Thailand.html.

[lxxxi]  CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: United States

[lxxxii]  Nakashima, Ellen.  “Record Numbers Infected with HIV: U.N. Cites Rapid Rise in Asia and E. Europe.”  7 July 2004.  Washington Post Foreign Service.  20 Sept. 2004 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A30273-2004Jul6?language=printer .

[lxxxiii] Nakashima, Ellen.  Thailand’s AIDS battle falters: Anti-AIDS effort, hailed as model for Asia, loses steam.”  Washington Post Foreign Service.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5407073/.

[lxxxiv]   Nakashima, Ellen.  “Record Numbers Infected with HIV: U.N. Cites Rapid Rise in Asia and E. Europe.”  7 July 2004.  Washington Post Foreign Service.  20 Sept. 2004 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A30273-2004Jul6?language=printer

[lxxxv]    CATW: The Factbook on Global Exploitation: Thailand.  Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.  24 Sept. 2004. http://www.catwinternational.org/fb/Thailand.html.

[lxxxvi]   Davidson, 86.