Women trafficking is a worldwide problem. Every year many women and little girls become victims of this horrific act.
“Although boys and men are victims as well, most individuals identified as trafficked for both labor and commercial sex are women and girls (U.S. Department of State, 2006).
Traffickers lure manipulate and control vulnerable individuals using a variety of coercive means. Sex trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, occurs when a person performs a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion.
For under-18-year-olds, it is any kind of commercial sex act. While sometimes perpetrators and their victim’s cross borders, sex trafficking, including activities such as pimping, does not necessarily involve transport. And it is a $99 billion annual industry that has ensnared an estimated 4.8 million people around the world, mostly women and children, according to a 2014 report from the International Labour Organization, a U.N. agency.
While much of the criminal activity is international, the U.S. has its own sex-trafficking problem, with more than 32,000 cases reported in the past decade, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which is run by the anti-trafficking organization Polaris. Since few Americans know how to identify signs of sex trafficking, and even fewer victims are likely to call for help, Polaris CEO Bradley Myles says that number represents only a small fraction of the epidemic’s true size.
The lack of solid data makes it hard to craft an appropriate response, says Bethany Gilot, human-trafficking prevention director at the Florida Department of Children and Families. “There’s still tons of people who don’t believe sex trafficking is an issue in the U.S.,” she says, despite the fact that Florida alone verified 470 cases of child sex trafficking in 2017.
Gilot compares sex trafficking today to domestic violence 30 years ago: people had to understand that it existed before anyone could talk about it as a problem. “People just don’t want to know that this is happening in our own great nation.” Source: “time.com/longform/windie-jo-lazenko-sex-trafficking-survivor”
Trafficking Leaves Both Visible and Invisible Scars
“Trafficked women and girls encounter high rates of physical and sexual violence, including homicide and torture, psychological abuse, horrific work and living conditions, and extreme deprivation while in transit.
Serious mental health problems result from trafficking, including anxiety, depression, self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideation and suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dissociative disorders, and complex PTSD.
Physical symptoms among trafficking victims include neurological issues, gastrointestinal disturbances, respiratory distress, chronic pain, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV).”