Human trafficking is a form of sexual slavery. Many of the children and women forced to be a part of this illegitimate source of income are preyed upon and then pushed into a world of lustful exploitation. Sex traffickers look for an exclusive type of victim, runaways, those in a vulnerable state, children, and women. The reason for this paradigm is that traffickers find it easier to pursue and or obtain people who fit these qualifications. The statistics of targeted victims are alarming, 95% of trafficked victims come from an abusive home, 12 years old is the average age of girls forced in sexual exploitation, 1/3 teens get approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of running away, 1in 100 are the odds of the victim being rescued, and 7 years is the average life expectancy of a victim who has been sexually exploited (Arrow Child and Family Ministries). The question is how can societies and governments prevent the lude act of trafficking in our cities.
Poverty is one of the most commonly known factors for trafficking. Although most cited, poverty is only the context surrounding the issue, traffickers look for vulnerability in their victims. Michele Clark gives a perfect definition of vulnerability saying, vulnerability is a condition resulting from how individuals negatively experience the complex interactions of social, cultural, and economic areas of life. The vulnerability factor is shaped by the victim’s gender, lack of social integration, lack of opportunities and employment, and limited education (EU strategy 2012-2016). The factors of vulnerability are personal, situational, and circumstantial.
Cho’s study in 2012 showed that the crime of human trafficking is most prominent depending on how poverty-stricken an area is. Cho’s finding was followed by controversy since the research did not attest to gender discrimination as an inflow or outflow of human trafficking (pg3 the illegal business of human trafficking). Although Cho’s discovery received debate, there has been a deeper exploration for the reasons his research found less of a pattern with trafficked victims and traffickers. EUROPOLE (European police office) Specialist found that stated that there are victims that do not fit the stereotype which they call “Fluctuating typology.” R Surtees study states that a profile of traffickers and recruiters in South-Eastern Europe appears to be diverse and does not seem to be a part of the usual social representation (pg3 the illegal business of human trafficking). He found that there are both male and female traffickers.
Data first gathered by the Polaris Project showed that eighteen thousand foreign nationals are trafficked yearly in the U.S and that the number of American citizens sold each year is even higher (Christina Fisanick, Greenhaven Press, 2010. Current Controversies, paragraph1). Human trafficking has become a huge industry in its own design, profits annually for trafficking is at 44.3 billion with a large portion coming from sex trade (paragraph3, Introduction to human trafficking current controversies). In 2009 the UN found that 79% of people who have been trafficked are done so for a sexual purpose, and that children as young as infants are forced into this specific part of slavery (paragraph3, Introduction to human trafficking current controversies). The Early Show found a study showing that this occupation is low risk with high profit, which is considered easy money for the trafficker (paragraph4, Introduction to human trafficking current controversies). American Teens who are sold into prostitution are often drugged and then forced into sexual oppression.
South East Asia has expanded its child exploitation rings, due to the governments inadequate handling of trafficking within their region, the expansion of child trafficking threatens to get higher. The recent downturn is set to drive more vulnerable children and young people to be exploited by the global sex trade (ECPAT, Dedria Bryfonski Global Recession Boost Child Prostitution and Trafficking). The increasing poverty rate is only helping to diminish the budget for social services. Households within the region of South East Asia have extremely poor dwellings due to the downturn in the economy, most young people will drop out of school to help their families financially, unfortunately, this put them in harm’s way. As these children seek employment most of their option lead them into sexual exploitation. UNICEF has estimated that 1.8 million girls and boys are involved in the billiondollar industry of sex trade.