Human Trafficking Resource Pack

Slavery.  For many people living comfortably in the United States, this word is archaic and obsolete.  Perhaps at the very most it grates on our ears in a mildly unpleasant way as it reminds us of the barbaric and gruesome African slave trade that the US and other Western countries participated in.  But that was hundreds of years ago and such undignified behavior is no longer a problem.  Or is it?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a slave as “one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence”.  In the case of the sex slave trade that is currently happening between various countries internationally, the “dominating influence” is society’s disregard for the bodily integrity of women.  The involuntary bondage of these women and young girls strips them of every personal right that they have. They are tricked, coerced and lured into this trade by kidnappings and promises of jobs and economic security then literally become the possessions and property of others.  Every aspect of their bodies is controlled by someone else with the strict intention of making money.   Our Consciousness Raising group decided to focus on this particular topic in an attempt to understand how such a demoralizing and deeply inhumane occurrence can still be happening in what we like to consider a modern and civilized world.

Thus, in light of the fact that we have spent a considerable amount of time discussing personal liberty in Sex, Power and Politics, we thought this theme was particularly relevant.  When we learned about the legality of abortion in class, we talked about a woman’s right to bodily integrity and physical privacy; how no external presence (neither the invasion of a fetus nor the influence of the government) can ultimately choose the way in which she decides to maintain her own body.   What violates this right more than the trafficking of women for sex?

Likewise, we discussed sodomy and the way the government regarded the practice of homosexual behavior (such as in Bowers v Hardwick),  and came to the conclusion that peoples’ right to sexual intimacy is protected, and that they can conduct themselves in whichever sexual manner (provided it’s consensual) they please.  Likewise, they and they have the right to deny and abstain from any sort of sexual interaction.  What is more invasive than selling another human’s body for sex?

When we talked about sodomy and the way the government regarded the practice of homosexual behavior (such as in Bowers v Hardwick), we came to the conclusion that peoples’ right to sexual intimacy is protected and that they can conduct themselves in whichever sexual manner (provided its consensual) they please.  Likewise, they have the right to deny and abstain from any sort of sexual interaction.  What is more invasive than selling another human’s body for sex?

Many argue that the State has no place in the bedroom, yet we frequently say that “the personal is political”.  In attempts to maintain order, promote safety, and protect rights, the government frequently walks precariously on the line between what is personal and what is political.  Yet in the context of the sex slave trade, there seems to be a ghostly absence of legal enforcement and justice.  In many countries, corrupt or weaker governments turn their heads at the presence of human trafficking.  We found resources that describe the problem in Asian countries (such as Thailand and Cambodia) and in other parts of the world, and how in such extreme conditions of poverty it is hardly practical to tackle the problem of the sex slave trade when so many other issues simultaneously need to be addressed.  When such a terrible phenomenon is so close to home, one certainly could say that the personal is political.

Our group found various articles, websites, videos, etc. ranging from academic sources explaining the causes and consequences of human trafficking to sources promoting public awareness about the issue and encouraging an active fight in ending sex slavery.  Some sources were initiated through personal experience while others were written from a completely outside perspective.  Some described the effects human trafficking has in countries on the other side of the globe while others portrayed the effect it has in our own nation.  Through our research we discovered that human trafficking affects women everywhere; it affects women of all races, gender, and age groups.  The current increase of globalization severely aggravates this problem and thus calls for a global cooperation and effort.  Like we have learned in our readings on feminism, abortion, transgender issues, etc., effective political action cannot be made until we approach this issue in an all-encompassing way.  We must advocate for change in a way that integrates the perspectives and personal stories of all women and children that sex slavery touches.  We must cross the boundaries society builds between cultures, ethnicities, ideologies, and gender and join together as human beings fighting for a single cause: the right to live as a free individual.

ECPAT International is an organization dedicated to fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). ECPAT follows what governments are doing and have done to combat CSEC and publishes the results. Most interesting is the international updates under the global overview.

This video shows child sex trafficking and specifically sites a group (Love146) that has come together to actively fight the world of sex trafficking.  They open by relating the issue directly to the viewer by making them think of the issue in terms of the people they love, asking them what they would do if someone they loved was sold into this world.

This is a picture of a girl who is clearly involved in sex trafficking.  I think this picture does a good job of depicting sex trafficking as its true form.  Girls can be lured into sex trafficking through bribes that range from opportunities to travel and a way to make money.  What they don’t know are all the negative characteristics of this life.

Captive Daughters is an organization committed to ending sex trafficking with a focus on girls and women. Nepal and Albania are their current focus. Click on either Nepal or Albania to learn the latest news about sex trafficking. You can also learn how to get involved, and find book and film resources categorized by the region.

Shared Hope International aims raise awareness of sex trafficking and to prevent it through examinations of the conditions that allow sex trafficking. There is a brief history of trafficking under the ‘sex trafficking’ tab. This site includes ways to take action as well as personal stories.

Slavery Map is a virtual map of recorded instances of human trafficking. Click on one of the bubbles with an exclamation mark to learn details of the report. There have been 961 reports since June 6, 2008.

This link is a podcast by Allison Kasic from the Independent Women’s Forum.  She clarifies what human trafficking means, describing it as “modern-day slavery.”  Addressing it both domestically and globally, she describes the shocking prevalence of young women being sold into the sex trade in India and Taiwan, but also describes how it is a problem within the US too, and that diplomatic pressure is needed to make a change.

This video is from CNN’s report on human trafficking in Cambodia with Anderson Cooper.  It shows how young girls are lured into the city in hopes of finding employment but then are trapped in a life of prostitution.

This website is updated by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. They are a non-governmental organization that works to promote women’s human rights and combat sexual exploitation of all kinds. On this website are the latest CATW resources that discuss issues regarding the sexual exploitation of women throughout the world. An especially interesting part of the website is Abolishing Prostitution: The Swedish Solution – an interview with Gunilla Ekberg, a long time radical feminist and lawyer.

The Public Broadcast Station has a portion of their website devoted to Frontline, thought provoking journalism on air and online. On that is a section on Sex Slaves – describing the world problem as well as sharing links to other websites and related articles. The related articles lend a broad assortment of issues relating to sex trafficking.

The Child Exploitation and Obscenity section of the U.S. Department of Justice website discusses Trafficking and Child Sex Tourism as well as other issues that fall under the broad category. Each page discusses statistics and facts related to the issue of sex trafficking and child exploitation and gives additional resources on sex trafficking. Unlike the other websites, this one focuses on children.

This is a web resource for combating human trafficking. They provide information on the current situation of trafficking in multiple countries. Although the focus is not on sex trafficking it does include information pertaining to that. Posted on June 24, 2009 was an article regarding the US senate voting on a bill banning prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

This article does not address the problem of human trafficking per se, but it addresses the dire need for more efficient, recent, reliable data about human trafficking.  The authors express that in order to combat human trafficking, we must have reliable information about it, which includes using better statistics, investing resources so poorer countries can gather reliable data, doing more comparative research, etc.

This article gives a good overview of what human trafficking is and also addresses some of the problems with human trafficking data and comparability between countries.  It presents data from the database of the Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, listing countries of origin, transit and destination.  It also addresses the profile of victims of sex trafficking and interestingly enough, the profile of offenders as well.

This article addresses the problem of human trafficking from a more global perspective and addresses the impacts of globalization on sex trafficking.  It also discusses the United States’ and non-profits’  role in combating human trafficking as well as a brief description of the profile of trafficking victims and the exploitative conditions they are forced into.

The information regarding human trafficking is provided on this page and explains the various situations for the particular country. Not all countries have this section, but virtually any country in the world that has known human trafficking problems will have information regarding their current situation in human trafficking.

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