Sex Trafficking’s Assault on Women and Children
LIFE FOR A SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM
After a trafficking journey that typically involves deception, rape, beatings, and constant threats, victims are often forced to live in confining and unsanitary conditions. Once formally put to work, human trafficking victims can be forced to service from 40 to 110 customers in one day. Malnutrition, sleep deprivation, as well as emotional and physical abuse become day-to-day normalities. In addition, forced abortions and the contraction of STI’s, Hepatitis B & C, and AIDS are ever looming probabilities. Life for a victim of sex trafficking is hell on earth.
How Women and Children are Trafficked
Traffickers typically lure women to the U.S. with false promises of jobs as waitresses, nannies, models, factory workers, or situations with severely curtailed freedoms. Women are prevented from leaving by security guards, violence, threats, debt bondage, and/or retention of documents.
The traffickers maintain control through isolation; in many cases, the women must live and work at the location. The women may also be denied outside medical assistance when needed. Once recruited, the women usually find themselves being threatened with physical abuse against themselves and/or their families in order to force cooperation.
Traffickers also play upon the women’s fears of arrest and deportation. In additional cases, trafficking victims suffer extreme physical and mental abuse, including rape, imprisonment, forced abortions, and physical brutality.
23.Richard, Amy O’Neill, International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime, DCI Exceptional Intelligence Analyst Program, Center for the Study of Intelligence, November 1999.
Forced to Abort (Asia)
Pross was 13 and hadn’t even had her first period when a young woman kidnapped her and sold her to a brothel in Phnom Penh. The brothel owner, a woman as is typical, beat Pross and tortured her with electric current until finally the girl acquiesced.
She was kept locked deep inside the brothel, her hands tied behind her back at all times except when with customers.
Brothel owners can charge large sums for sex with a virgin, and like many girls, Pross was painfully stitched up so she could be resold as a virgin. In all, the brothel owner sold her virginity four times.
Pross paid savagely each time she let a potential customer slip away after looking her over.
“I was beaten every day, sometimes two or three times a day,” she said, adding that she was sometimes also subjected to electric shocks twice in the same day.
Pross herself was never paid, and she had no right to insist on condoms (she has not yet been tested for HIV, because the results might be too much for her fragile emotional state). Twice she became pregnant and was subjected to crude abortions.
The second abortion left Pross in great pain, and she pleaded with her owner for time to recuperate. “I was begging, hanging on to her feet, and asking for rest,” Pross remembered. “She got mad.”
That’s when the woman gouged out Pross’s right eye with a piece of metal. At that point in telling her story, Pross broke down and we had to suspend the interview.
Public Health Implications of Trafficking
Besides being a criminal and human rights issue, human trafficking has serious public health effects. Victims of trafficking often endure brutal conditions that result in physical, sexual, and psychological trauma. The health risks and consequences include sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic inflammatory disease, hepatitis, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases; unwanted pregnancy, forced abortion, and abortion-related complications; rape and other physical assault; a host of mental and emotional health problems including nightmares, insomnia, and suicidal tendencies; alcohol and drug abuse and addiction; and even suicide and murder. The health implications of sex trafficking extend not only to its victims, but also to the general public, as well as those who frequent brothels and who can become carriers and/or core transmitters of serious diseases.
• In India, scientists have noted high levels of prostitution along trade routes in the Northeast, with associated high levels of HIV in those areas.
In addition, the HIV/AIDS epidemic may be spread by human trafficking. Some experts have linked sex trafficking to the spread and mutation of the AIDS virus. They believe that sex trafficking is aiding the global dispersion of HIV subtypes.
This audio gives understanding to the horror of domestic minor sex trafficking and the violence against this generation of young women: