Sex Trafficking & Forced Prostitution
At no point in history have more people been enslaved than women currently are in the sex trade.
Now, it’s time for us to take action.
Women and girls account for 80 percent of the people trafficked across international borders each year, most often for sexual exploitation. In parts of the world, families submit their own relatives to forced prostitution, benefiting financially from their exploitation and creating a cycle that is difficult to break. Millions of women and girls worldwide are trapped in the commercial sex industry. Stripped of their basic human rights, they are bought and sold, generating an estimated $27.8 billion of profit for their exploiters.
Lend your voice to push for stronger legislation targeting sex trafficking and supporting victims, and learn more about the organizations working to end this terrible injustice.
Sex workers at a karaoke bar in Rangoon, Burma (Photo by John Stanmeyer/ VII)
• Stay Informed
Sex trafficking is an insidious industry that knows no boundaries. Read Nicholas Kristof’s column about a New York City teen who at the age of 12 was kidnapped, advertised on the Backpage.com and forced into prostitution. Learn about the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law in 2000 but is currently stalled in Congress.
• Speak Out
Call on Village Voice’s advertisers to boycott the publication until it can ensure that girls aren’t being trafficked on the Backpage. Sign on for IJM’s 100 Postcard Challenge to generate support for the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Share this video with your family, your friends and anyone within earshot of the highest rooftop near you.
• Save a Life
Help clothe a young woman who has escaped sexual exploitation. Cover the cost of school supplies for a child rescued from a brothel. Provide legal services for survivors of sex trafficking. Bring traffickers to justice by sponsoring undercover investigations. Support skills training for survivors to earn new livelihoods that are safe and self-determined.
Donate to the organizations making a difference.
Organizations Making a Difference
Apne Aap was founded by 22 women from Mumbai’s red light district with a vision of a world where no woman can be bought or sold. Today Apne Aap’s work reaches more than 10,000 women and girls, breaking their isolation and giving them the strength and support to resist oppression and target the inequalities that perpetuate sex trafficking. Apne Aap provides safe spaces and empowerment groups where women and girls can gather, access education, improve their livelihood and receive legal rights training.
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) serves girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Founded by Rachel Lloyd, who had been sexually exploited as a teenager, GEMS has helped hundreds of young women and girls exit the commercial sex industry and develop their full potential. GEMS takes a holistic approach to the experience of every victim, providing empowerment, leadership skills and emotional support.
International Justice Mission
No amount of aid will stop sex trafficking unless traffickers and oppressors are confronted and brought to justice. Founded by Gary Haugen in 1997 to fill this gaping hole in humanitarian work, IJM has grown to more than 400 lawyers, investigators, social workers and support staff to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice protects the poor.
Every year, hundreds of young children are born into brothels and resigned to the same fate as their mothers. New Light seeks to disrupt this cycle and provide the opportunity for self-determination. Based in Kalighat, Kolkata, one of the oldest red light districts in the city, New Light provides shelter, educational opportunities, recreational facilities, healthcare and legal aid for the children and women of Kalighat.
Somaly Mam Foundation
Co-founded by sexual slavery survivor Somaly Mam, the Foundation works to eradicate human trafficking, liberate its victims and empower survivors to create and sustain lives of dignity. The Foundation provides shelter and rehabilitation programs to rescued survivors globally with a special focus on Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and girls, some as young as five, is a widespread practice.