Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by use of force, fraud, or coercion, to gain consent of another person for purposes of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. Consent of a victim becomes irrelevant when force, fraud, or coercion is used. Consent is irrelevant in case of children less than 18 years of age even if this does not involve force, fraud or coercion.
THE PROBLEM. It is shocking to realize that slavery still exists today. Despite all the laws, international organizations, education programs, and slavery liberation movements; still, every year millions of women and children are sold as objects to become sexually exploited. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported in 2008 that an estimated 27 million people were living in forced bondage. Even more alarming is the number of people that are trafficked into the sex market. The U. S. Department of State estimates that 20 million women and children have been sold into sexual slavery throughout the world during the last decade. Why is this criminal activity rising at such an exponential rate? Examining the problem from a business perspective can help us uncover the cause for this rapid growth. A market is a place where products are sold. Markets exist because buyers demand a product. As the demand for a product increases, markets adapt to meet the needs of the buyer. In the commercial sex market, women and children are deemed products. As the demand for these products increases, sex trafficking becomes the only way to meet the needs of the buyer. In the end it is the buyer, not necessarily the trafficker, who creates the demand and therefore is responsible for the sexual exploitation of millions of women and children every year.
THE BUYER. Who is a buyer? Visiting a strip club, watching pornography, hiring an escort, or buying adult novelties are seemingly harmless forms of entertainment; however, all these activities sustain the sex market. The U. S. Department of State reported in 2005, that 70% of women and children trafficked into the United States are forced to become part of the sex industry. Thus, it is important to realize that any purchase, no matter how small, contributes to fuel the demand created by the commercial sex industry and directly or indirectly promotes the trafficking of women and children to become sexual slaves. Even more astonishing is the fact that children and teenagers are being exploited by the sex entertainment industry by either being coerced or forced to become part of pornographic material. Family Safe Media reported in 2006 that 1 in 5 pornographic images on the Internet is of a minor. The unpopular reality is that when a buyer purchases sex, he or she is probably obtaining sex from a minor or a trafficked person.