SOLYMONE BLOG

A JOURNEY INTO SEX SLAVERY

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People talk of prostitutes or women trafficking and mainly of sex slavery in every part the world. As, such sex slavery is present and alive in every country of the world.
In some cases, categorized as 'domestic', women are sold into brothels within their own country. But international
sex trafficking of women and children is on the rise.
However, according to the latest reports, there are an estimated 1.4 million sex slaves in the world today; most of them are women, although there are some men and many thousands of children. These women do not voluntarily enter prostitution, but have been forced under the threat of violence to have sex with men who pay their 'owners'.
  • When I was in Turkey a friend from Europe told me that the bright night in the street of Istanbul is nothing compared to the red-district ini Netherlands. According to him, majority of the women working at the red-light district are from Eastern Europe, with an estimated 70 per cent thought to come from countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.
  • World are changing, the dramatic decrease in employment opportunities in urban and rural areas of Eastern Europe has been responsible for driving many women into the sex industry in the Netherlands and other parts of Western Europe.
Why women choose sex work can vary from one case to the next, but a desire to escape poverty and low standards of living, false expectations about making 'easy money', low self-esteem as a result of childhood abuse or rape and deception are among the most common reasons.
Debt is often one of the ways in which a woman becomes a target for human traffickers. To give an example, the penalty for prostitution in Romania is 120 euros ($160). For an impoverished woman this sum is too great to pay off.
"I got fined almost every night. I could never pay the fines and the rent and now my child maintenance. Eventually I ended up in jail.", Said one woman.
  • Another factor that increases the vulnerability of some is the tendency to adopt Western values and lifestyles, with young women leaving their families early in an attempt to attain financial independence.
  • The fascination with making money by working abroad as models, dancers or waitresses - has led many girls into the traps set by human trafficking networks. These networks, which have been active in Romania since 1989, have been the starting point for many young women on their journey into the sex industry.
  • Attempts to escape from this environment are, in most cases, abandoned due to the lack of other opportunities available.
  • Sex workers have nowhere to go and nobody to ask for help; they are often condemned and stigmatized by the community in which they live and their efforts to build a new life are usually undermined by their past. The situation is, of course, even worse when the sex workers attempt to escape human traffickers - something that results in severe punishment.
  • The Netherlands legalized prostitution in 2000, in the hope that it would lessen some of the complications surrounding the industry. But after 11 years, reviews of the legalised system suggest that this move has, so far, been unsuccessful.
The opening up of the European Union has made it increasingly difficult to distinguish those women who have been trafficked or exploited from those who have 'chosen' to work as prostitutes.
A woman from Eastern Europe, for example, might have the right papers but could be afraid of telling the police that she has been trafficked or exploited because she has been warned that the police cannot be trusted.
The fight against human trafficking cannot be one-dimensional; there are many factors that must be addressed. These include the root causes - poverty, psychological problems, a lack of economic opportunities, somebody's family situation and so on.
Source: Al Jazeera, Agency. UNCHR
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