Op-Ed: Sexual slavery throughout the world

Posted May 26, 2013 by Kyle Ashmead
Sex can easily be bought from sex slaves anywhere in the world, sexual slavery is not something that only happens in the developing world.
The young girls who work the shanties along Highway E55 in Eastern Europe may not have all been trafficked, but a lot of them are. Those who are are not trafficked are still victims. Victims of poverty. Or victims of the ruthlessness of their own families. Mothers and or fathers will on occasion prostitute their own children.
Highway E55 is merely one example of sexual slavery. There is no nation in the world free of forced prostitution. From Amsterdam to South Korea, sexual slavery has a firm grip on society. To understand the motives behind sex trafficking, one must understand what it is. Shared Hope International has a very good section on their website concerning sex trafficking. Sex trafficking exists because there is a demand for the services it provides, a demand that is increasing.
There was a time when tourists traveled the world to see great wonders such as the Pyramids or Niagara Falls. Now there is a new breed of travelers called sex tourists, who travel the world from Thailand to Eastern Europe looking for as many sexual encounters as they can find. It is this insatiable appetite which drives the Skin Trade. The profit made by organized crime off the buying and selling of women and children for the sex trade is estimated to be 30 to 40 billion dollars per year.
Sex tourists are not the only ones paying for sex with trafficked children and woman. Locals can often be found frequenting the brothels that occupy the back alleys of their cities. Sexual slavery exists, because there are men willing to pay to abuse woman and children. Just because they have the money, they believe they have the right. Until proper punishments are legislated and enforced these crimes will continue.
Children used in the sex trade have often been kidnapped or sold by their families. In some cases they are even born into it. Imagine the life of a sex slave being all a child ever knows. This is often the case of children born to sex slaves unless they are rescued. Sex slaves are held in captivity, abused by their captors, and forced to take drugs, to which they become addicted. The main thing to remember is they did not ask for their lives to end up this way. They are merely victims of poverty. Or victims of forced circumstance. CNN has some good information about the world of slavery as it exists today.
The US Department of State lists countries on a tier system based on what a country is doing to combat slavery, tier one being good, tier three being bad and tier two somewhere in the middle. Canada is listed tier two, as a source, destination, and transit of slaves.
Slavery is a real problem. It is happening right now in Canada and around the world. Sex Slavery is a big part of what drives the global slave trade, and it could be happening in your neighbourhood. Invisible Chains, by Benjamin Perrin paints a vivid picture of slavery, as it exists in Canada.
A common misconception when it comes to sex traffickers is that they are always men. But women are involved in recruiting young girls and woman as well. In fact many brothels are run by women. A brothel filled with sex slaves in North America can be anything from a message parlour, to a fancy house in a good neighbourhood.
When a person is denied free will, that person becomes a slave. Once a person's free will is taken away by threat of torture and death to the person or his or her family, they can be manipulated to do whatever their captors wish. If a young woman is trafficked into Canada, she will be told she owes a cash debt, that she must repay. This debt is for air travel, legal documents and other travel expenses. These are debts that will never be repaid, even though over the span of time where a woman is prostituted she will make her captors hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A trip to Thailand, Cambodia or Eastern Europe may be out of reach. If such is the case, sex tourists can usually find what they are looking in Canada, the US or any European State. The main benefit to traveling abroad for sex tourism is to get away from "restrictive" laws in ones own country. Sex tourism is a booming industry, that many are willing to make a profit from.
Slavery is real, it is happening right now and we can do something about it. The world needs abolitionists. Making a stand can be as simple as being informed. Or it can be on the front lines making a direct impact on the lives of the people who have had their free will taken away from them.