Sex Trafficking

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Siddharth Kara
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/kara13960
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  • Book Info
    Sex Trafficking
    Book Description:

    Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, which must be grown, harvested, refined, and packaged, sex slaves require no such "processing," and can be repeatedly "consumed."

    Kara first encountered the horrors of slavery in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995. Subsequently, in the first journey of its kind, he traveled across four continents to investigate these crimes and take stock of their devastating human toll. Kara made several trips to India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Moldova, Mexico, and the United States. He witnessed firsthand the sale of human beings into slavery, interviewed over four hundred slaves, and confronted some of those who trafficked and exploited them.

    In this book, Kara provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He draws on his background in finance, economics, and law to provide the first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on its most profitable and barbaric form: sex trafficking. Kara describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern slavery over the past two decades and quantifies, for the first time, the size, growth, and profitability of each industry. Finally, he identifies the sectors of the sex trafficking industry that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and recommends the specific legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target these vulnerable sectors and help to abolish this form of slavery, once and for all.

    The author will donate a portion of the proceeds of this book to the anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51139-1
    Subjects: Law, Business, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. 1 Sex Trafficking: An Overview
    (pp. 1-44)

    My father once told me the story of how the world was created. In between each cycle of time, he said, there is emptiness. The god Brahma slumbers and another god, Shiva, meditates over why the world of man invariably degrades from a realm of “generosity, self-restraint, gentleness, and truth” into a miasma of “greed, lust, violence, and deceit.” Because Shiva must swallow this poisonous cosmos at the end of time, he meditates on a way to prevent man’s degradation. At the cusp of the answer, he is disturbed by Brahma, who grows restless and prematurely seeks to initiate creation...

  6. 2 India and Nepal
    (pp. 45-82)

    Walking the streets of Mumbai is like jumping into a blender and turning the dial straight to purée. The city is a manic tornado of oppressive heat, frenetic traffic, and legions of human beings panting down your neck. Your senses have to be as sharp as a sniper’s or you will accidentally step in bovine fecal matter the same instant a delirious taxi driver runs you down. Every corner of the city brims with intensity, and the three-way intersection at the base of Falkland Road is no exception.

    On my first visit to Falkland Road, I was nerve-wracked and drenched...

  7. 3 Italy and Western Europe
    (pp. 83-107)

    November brought a chill to the Roman air, but Julia wore only white panties and a matching bra. She shivered on the sidewalk as cars sped by on the busy Salaria. I asked if she felt cold. With tired azure eyes, she replied, “If I cover myself, I do not work.”

    Julia was seventeen and pregnant. She had arrived in Rome from Romania at the age of fourteen. Standing next to her, Alyssia was the same age and born in the same town. They had traveled together with the help of a man who had promised work in a restaurant....

  8. 4 Moldova and the Former Soviet Union
    (pp. 108-128)

    Driving north from Moldova’s capital city of Chisinau, the countryside quickly morphs into bleakness. A palpable cloud of despair hangs over the tiny country. Fires burn, shacks crumble, and the scent of ash infects the air. The depth of poverty rivals South Asia.

    The absence of youth outside the capital is striking. More than any other country, Moldova epitomizes the socioeconomic ruin that fell upon the former Soviet Union during the tenuous transition years just after independence. Amid the upheaval, hundreds of thousands of Moldovans fled the country in search of wage-paying jobs. Some left legally, some left illegally, and...

  9. 5 Albania and the Balkans
    (pp. 129-151)

    Part of being a “sack, made to endure” includes the provision that if a man “beats his wife bloody,” he has only to explain his reasons to her family, and the incident passes without punishment.¹ A wife’s duties to her husband are numerous, including to “submit to his domination” and “to fulfill her conjugal duties,” whereas a husband’s only duties to his wife are to “provide clothing and shoes” and to preserve her honor.² If a man wishes to divorce his wife, then “having cut off her hair and stripped her nude, the husband expels her from the house in...

  10. 6 Thailand and the Mekong Subregion
    (pp. 152-178)

    From sublime island sunsets to pristine mountain hikes, Thailand is a country blessed with natural beauty, warm hospitality, and serene images of the Buddha at every turn. Beneath the beauty, hospitality, and the Buddha’s watchful eyes, however, a very unique ugliness resides. Children become slaves to the perversities of men, poor people flee from the hills into the hands of unscrupulous exploiters, and in no country that I visited was the line between willing and coerced more blurred. The word “trafficking” is sprinkled liberally in this steamy corner of the world, but rarely does it capture the evasive realities of...

  11. 7 The United States
    (pp. 179-199)

    It was not easy to meet Sunee. She was one of only two women I met inside a place of business in the United States that I can say with confidence was a victim of sex trafficking. With limited resources, I narrowed my search for trafficking victims to New York (2000 and 2001), San Francisco (2000), Las Vegas (2003), and Los Angeles (2001, 2002, and 2006). In addition to these cities, cases of human trafficking have been documented in San Diego, San Jose, Fresno, Seattle, Reno, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Miami, Fort Myers, Jersey City, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington,...

  12. 8 A Framework for Abolition: Risk and Demand
    (pp. 200-220)

    At the beginning of this book, I enumerated four reasons that efforts to combat sex trafficking remain insufficient: sex trafficking is poorly understood; the organizations dedicated to combating sex trafficking are underfunded and uncoordinated internationally; the laws against sex trafficking are overwhelmingly anemic and poorly enforced; and, despite numerous studies and reports, a systematic business and economic analysis of the industry, conducted to identify strategic points of intervention, has not yet been undertaken. I argued that a business analysis of the sex trafficking industry would reveal its vulnerable points, and further, that those vulnerable points were related to the market...

  13. Appendix A: Selected Tables and Notes
    (pp. 221-226)
  14. Appendix B: Contemporary Slavery Economics
    (pp. 227-258)
  15. Appendix C: Selected Human Development Statistics
    (pp. 259-262)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 263-278)
  17. Works Cited
    (pp. 279-284)
  18. Index
    (pp. 285-300)