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Column 090213 Brewer

Monday, September 2, 2013

Human Trafficking enables Transnational Sexual Exploitation

By Jerry Brewer

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. The criminal act, by definition of human trafficking, has a myriad of detailed explanations that outline the recruitment, abduction, transportation, transfer, harboring, and receipt of persons.  Victims, that include men, women, and children, enter servitude for a wide range of exploitative purposes.

The endless boundaries of human trafficking include all racial, socio-economic, and religious cultures. The diverse tools of the criminal trafficker utilized are threat, use of force, coercion, and abduction; as well as subtle tactics to gain voluntary compliance by deception, fraud or issues exploiting vulnerability.  Unfortunately, torture and murder often becomes the ultimate act of control over the victims.

The facilitators of human and sex trafficking go far beyond the initial recruiters and abductors. These network of violent transnational organized criminals include accomplices, middlemen, legitimate businesses, elements of the entertainment industry, corrupt police, government, and those people that pay as clients of these dehumanizing abuses. All of these enablers and enabling environments allow human flesh as a commodity to be trafficked for massive profits.

Human trafficking includes, but is not limited to, those trafficked for forced labor, prostitution, other elements of sexual exploitation, the harvesting of human organs, and related acts of human servitude.

The term "people smuggling" shares a difference from the term human trafficking that has been described as voluntary, covert transport from one location or country to another. In most situations, there may not be any deception involved in this agreement. Freedom for the smuggled party to continue on their way at the agreed to destination is usually permitted.

Sex trafficking through sexual exploitation is an enormously high profit industry in pornography, online sex acts, stripping, commercial sex work, sex shows; as well as marriage for the purpose of sexual servitude.

The US Department of Justice reports that "eight in ten human trafficking cases involve the sex industry; the others involve labor trafficking." Moreover, it states that human trafficking has become the second-fastest-growing criminal industry -- "just behind drug trafficking." Annually, human trafficking worldwide is estimated to be around US$40 billion at a minimum.

As far back as 2006 the numbers of those trafficked for sexual exploitation numbered approximately 800,000, according to U.S. Government sponsored research. This figure did not include "millions trafficked within their own countries." Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. Moreover, these numbers do not include "millions of both males and females globally who are trafficked within their own national borders -- the majority for forced or bonded labor."

For clarification, a person working in the sex industry can be identified as a victim of human trafficking if they are trapped in servitude for the purposes of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. For the purposes of sexual exploitation traffickers work to supply the demand for prostitution and other forms of sexual practices and entertainment.

In Latin America, as well as many other parts of the world, problems associated with poverty contribute significantly to sexual exploitation.  Lack of policing infrastructure as well as corruption in government and weak legislation contributes enormously to the problems.

Victims, as well as voluntary participants as abusers and facilitators, often face the consequences of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and mental issues and traumas. 

The criminal human traffickers take advantage of trafficking women into the sex industry preying on the vulnerabilities that include global markets of poverty, despair, family breakdown, illiteracy and lack of educational opportunities. All of these factors are welcomed evil tools of the traffickers that give them great leverage and advantages that do not necessarily require violence to recruit.  Many are lured by deception and fraud towards jobs that are promised in the bigger cities such as domestic work, restaurants, bars, offices, and other unskilled labor. Another useful tool of the traffickers is to use threats of deportation to illegal immigrants and their families.

Recently in Salta, Argentina, where there have been consistent reports of transnational organized sex trafficking, 37 women were rescued from sexual exploitation.  In an interview with Radio Salta, one of the women working as a prostitute told the reporter that many of her clients were politicians.

The sadness and urgent need for effective legislation, arrests, convictions and extended incarceration for human traffickers are that women are in great danger even beyond sex trafficking. The systematic killing of women due to their gender, known as femicide, has increased the ritual abuse and carnage of women in Mexico and Central America.

Since 2000 more than 3,800 women and young girls were murdered in Mexico, and many remain missing. Guatemala also finds itself facing the horrors of femicides.

In Guatemala City, Guatemala, femicides have claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 women and girls since 2001. Women live in constant fear of being abducted from the streets by gangs, or forced off buses at gunpoint into empty lots. The majority of victims of femicide have been described as virtually unrecognizable, due to torture and sexual mutilation.

According to the U.S. State Department, as many as “27 million people may be trafficking victims around the world at any given time.”


Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at

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