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Unsolicited Sexual Exploitation of Women

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Trafficking of women in underdeveloped countries has been an on going and growing cause for concern for decades. In today's society, both the demand and supply for prostitution have risen for various reasons, causing a sharp increase in the prevalence of the sex trade. I recently saw the movie "Taken", a film by Pierre Morel, which is based on the trafficking of American women visiting foreign countries. Before I saw the movie I had limited knowledge about sexual trafficking and what really takes place, and I also did not realize the enormity of the issue. The movie really opened my eyes to the issue and inspired me to learn more about what goes on behind closed doors. I was sickened to see the kind of conditions the women are forced to live in, receiving regular beatings and large amount of drugs. I was shocked to learn how many people are forced into all sexual exploitation because of being ill educated. There are many misconceptions about defining what trafficking entails, how large of an issue it really is, and why it is difficult to put an end to this industry.

Trafficking in general has many different definitions, one that I found to be most accurate is from The United Nations Protocol Against Trafficking, stating trafficking as "the recruitment, transportation, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving, receiving or payments of benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs" (Sex Trafficking). In simpler terms, trafficking is recruiting of humans by force for work or service to provide profit to the trafficker. The whole thought process behind trafficking greatly upsets me because I cannot fathom how people believe they have the right to exploit another human being for personal gain or money. On the other perspective, sexual trafficking brings us back to the issue of slavery and proves that we may think we have come a long way in terms of ending slavery, but in reality it is still rampant and taking place in our world.

The United States estimates that "between 700,000 and 4,000,000 people are trafficked each year and that approximately 800,000 to 900,000 are trafficked across international borders" (Sex Trafficking). However these are rough estimates due to the secrecy of the industry. It is difficult to obtain accurate figures because many women are scared to come forward and traffickers are not willing to give out information. Trafficking has become an increasingly profitable market due to the "an intricate network of local, national, regional, and international crime syndicates", and it is estimated to gross about seven billion dollars a year (Sex Trafficking). Human trafficking in Cambodia has increased because of a number of factors, including poverty, socio-economic imbalance between rural and urban areas, increased tourism, lack of unemployment, education, and safe migration (Cambodia).

As I previously mentioned the living conditions in brothels are unimaginable. Vann Sina was 13 years old when she was lured from her village where she was then taken to Phnom Penh, and was locked in an underground cellar. "She says she was beaten a lot and had to serve many clients. She says that if she refused she was tortured with electric shocks or forced to eat hot chilies. If she did not receive 15 or more clients every day she was starved and beaten" (Byrne). It is hard for me to even comprehend that this kind of torture exists in today's world. Another woman who was sexually trafficked is Somaly Mam, who says, "life in a brothel is a living hell, as she recalls her years of abuse: She says that, if you have never lived in a brothel, you cannot understand how bad it is. She had to receive more than ten clients a day and that most of them were drunk, smelled bad and were very violent. She says that the terror she endured was so bad it is indescribable"(Byrne). When I read stories like these it seems almost unreal due to how different my world is from what these women must endure. In my daily life the thought of being taken for sexual exploitation would never cross my mind, but there are many women out there who face that reality everyday. A major problem as to why this is still occurring is because many times in underprivileged countries, education especially in women is unimportant. Men and authority figures then take advantage of this situation and entice women by promising them jobs and a better life, but end up using them to make a profit.

Putting an end to trafficking is extremely difficult due to the corrupt nature of the issue and because of the secrecy and profitability of the trade. For many families prostitution of daughters is the main source of income, and even becomes a family business where daughter grow up thinking that being a prostitute is the only way for them to make money and succeed. Cambodia is extremely poor, which causes brothels to charge less for services than other countries, such as Thailand. Many tourists flock to Cambodia for that specific reason, and it is estimated due to the rapid



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