Forced labor is common throughout the world especially in countries such as North Korea where entire families are held in forced labor camps for generations. India is estimated to hold half of the world’s slaves, many in debt bondage for generations of forced labor and prostitution.
Seventy percent of those held in slavery are female and 50 percent are children. There are estimated to be as many as 30 million slaves in the world today, which means there are as many as 15 million children held in situations of forced labor and prostitution.
Human trafficking is a relatively safe crime, many countries have lax laws concerning human trafficking and in some cases the victims are the ones treated as criminals. The victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution can be charged under a nation’s prostitution laws and deported back to their country of origin without medical or psychological treatment. Unlike drugs, a human slave can be sold again and again, providing income for the slave holder until their body breaks down from abuse and disease. Slavery is big business, with big consequences for its victims and big profits with little to no consequences for the criminals. Billions of dollars are made each year from forced prostitution alone.
Canada’s aboriginal women and girls face violence at a higher rate than non-aboriginal women according to Amnesty International
. Many women are forced into prostitution by economic circumstances whether or not they are trafficked. Many aboriginal women are forced into the sex trade in Canada according to the CBC
Sex tourism has risen in popularity over the last 25 years, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union. Former Soviet bloc nations such as Ukraine are popular destinations for sex tourists. The feminist protest group FEMEN
was started in Ukraine in 2008 with the purpose of fighting sex tourism.
The porn industry takes advantage of human trafficking to feed the ever growing demand for pornography. Sex slaves are used in the making of pornographic films and other materials for the Internet. The Internet has revolutionized the sex industry, globalizing the trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation. The sale of young women for sex online can make perpetrators as much as $1,000 every night.
The obsession of “virgin sex” is typically associated with power and control of men over women and young girls. Two types of men seek out virgins, pedophiles and those of a religious or otherwise upbringing which teaches them a value system that degrades the rights of women and emphasizes the rights of men. In order to exert control and fulfill their psychological need of ownership, they will seek out children. Many young girls are sold into sex slavery by their own parents; this is common in nations such as the Philippines and Cambodia. Many sex tourists travel to South East Asian nations for the sole purpose of sex with children.
Child brides are common in nations across the Middle East and India, but also occur in countries such as Canada and the US. Religious extremists and cults force young girls to marry against their will or without informed consent. Child marriage is a crime, its victims are sex slaves, and the perpetrators are criminals guilty of the extreme abuse of children. The so called “husbands” are pedophiles regardless of their cultural backgrounds or religious beliefs. Child marriage is sex slavery of children, causing severe mental and physical problems.
Millions of young girls are forced to marry against their will every year. The world must place a higher value on the lives of young girls than it does on the right of an individual to practice a so called “culture” that encourages child marriages.
Why slavery is allowed to continue on such a large scale, the answer has to do with politics and greed. Brothels and traffickers can simply pay officials to look the other way.
Women and girls are being held as sex slaves by ISIS, passed around from one jihadist to the next. It is estimated that ISIS has captured as many as twenty five thousand women and young girls for their fighters to rape. Sex slavery in war is far from a new phenomenon sex slaves for the Imperial Japanese Army during WW2 has become well documented.
While there is no end of slavery in sight, simple steps can be taken in your everyday life. Fight slavery with your wallet, only buy items produced without slave labor. Spread the word that slavery is still happening. Slavery can end with stricter sentences for those who have forced laborers and for those who force others to sell their bodies. Promote education for at risk women and girls, poverty alleviation, and harsh punishments for sex tourists. The time is long overdue to end slavery and child marriage.