It can become overwhelming to understand something so huge as sex trafficking. There is some topic specific language that can make it even more difficult at times. I will do my best to be clear in describing sex trafficking leaving out the details. Sex trafficking can occur in a variation of ways and circumstances, but here I will be primarily describing the most common situations in India. Due to the nature of this topic, please approach this with caution.
When first defining sex trafficking, it is important to address human trafficking. Sex trafficking essentially fits under the umbrella of human trafficking, just more specific. (Urban dictionary’s definition of human trafficking:http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=human%20trafficking). Usually when someone is trafficked (usually girls or young women, but sometimes boys too) they are sold, kidnapped, and/or promised a job. These people may be someone they trust such as a family member or friend, or a seemingly friendly stranger who offers to “help.” Often times victims are drugged by something being put in their tea and then sold to a brothel. Brothels are where most of those trafficked end up; being sold and often told they need to repay “debt” before they can go home. This is a lie meant to put fear into place. They are also frequently threatened by their brothel keepers or madams (women in charge) that their families will be killed if they try to escape. In some extreme (but not rare) cases girls and women are beaten and locked in their rooms. At these brothels they are forced to prostitute themselves typically seeing 20 or more “customers” a day without receiving any of the “profit.” The customers are local men or tourists. CNN reported of a story earlier this year of a Nepalese woman trafficked across India’s boarders and sold to a brothel by a member of her extended family, “Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day.” Geeta was later rescued at the age of 14.
In addition to the horrible mental and physical abuse, there are other things that may be left unconsidered. Some brothels insist they practice “safe sex,” but the reality shows most do not. Many girls and women end up with sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnant. When pregnancy occurs, if the child born is female she is almost certain to grow up in the brothel with the intent of being raised to be a prostitute as well. Women and girls are also commonly drugged if they are being “difficult.” This can make leaving many times more difficult when addiction occurs.
If those who survive sex trafficking are able to get out, they have a challenging road ahead of them. The first step is getting out—escaping or being rescued. The physical and psychological affects are enormous. Due to the cultural norms women are assumed to marry, but with a past such as this they may not be easily accepted. They may not be able to find their families and will need a way of supporting themselves. It is important for these girls and women to get to a point where they can have a normal life. Yet, the most crucial thing is that they reach a place of healing: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The last thing I would like to mention here is that of the legal side. It has only been in very recent years that sex trafficking has been recognized for what it is… modern day slavery. The United States and other countries as well are finally deciding to take a stand. Most countries do not put a firm hand on justice for these victims. If justice becomes common practice it will be the next step in fighting this issue.