“I just wanted to be accepted and loved. I was told how beautiful I was and if you do this, I’ll get you this…and I’ll make you my girlfriend. Before I knew it, I was prostituting myself up to 50 times a night, with the money going to my pimp or to feed the drug habit I developed to numb the pain of my life. I was just a baby. I was 12 and they preyed on me. What would a grown man want with a twelve-year-old child?”
To many people, the idea that slavery still exists is imposturous. But, the fact of the matter is that slavery still does exist in the form of human trafficking. Often referred to as modern day slavery, human trafficking represents a $32 billion industry, making it the third largest criminal industry and one of the most lucrative businesses in today’s market. This industry affects every country in the world as anyone can be trafficked, and it is even further evident in the 12.3 million men, women, and children who are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor around the globe.
Sex trafficking is the most common and perhaps the most dangerous form of human trafficking. Like human trafficking, sex trafficking can happen to anyone. However, in this specific industry, the majority of the victims are women and children. To lure in their victims, traffickers seek women and children who appear to be vulnerable and offer them a lifestyle that will provide comfort, love, and safety. Once they are entrapped, the victims are sexually exploited in multiple forms, and their humanity is ultimately stripped away.
The sex trafficking industry is market-driven based on the two basic principles of supply and demand. The supply for this industry is the victims that are treated like commodities as they are bought and sold on the market place. Since anyone can be trafficked, the supply of victims is essentially unlimited. With that being said, the demand for sex trafficking is ultimately what drives this industry as there are several factors and components that comprise and induce demand. In the sex trafficking industry, demand thrives because it is a low risk business that results in high profits. Furthermore, the men who buy the commercial sex acts, the exploiters, the states that are the source and destination countries, and the culture that tolerates or promotes sexual exploitation are the four components that make-up demand.
While international and domestic legislation has attempted to combat the issue of human trafficking, there are still multiple problems that need to be addressed, such as countries’ compliance with trafficking laws; the lack of law enforcement officials in place to tackle this issue; and understanding the mindset of victims who have been trafficked. As a result, this report offers a recommendation to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against any individual who partakes in any aspect in the trafficking of humans.