Women and Children First: The Economics of Sex Trafficking

Women and Children First: The Economics of Sex

Americans who think that the slave trade is a foreign problem
mostly confined to impoverished countries may be unnerved by the
Department of Justice’s estimates of sex trafficking in the U.S.:
It is the third most popular brand of organized crime, with America
being home to 50,000 out of the 700,000 women and children that are
trafficked worldwide. Kari Lydersen in LiP Magazine
describes the causes and processes of this growing crime, whose
profitability now approaches that of drug and weapons

Lydersen writes that foreign women brought into the U.S. are
especially vulnerable to falling into the sex trade: ‘Women
abducted or coerced from their native countries rarely speak
English, and their captors have perfected the art of intimidation
by regaling them with horror stories about life in America and
capture by police or the INS.’

The women are lured to America with promises of well-paying jobs,
and they are usually desperate to either escape poverty themselves
or to provide for families back in their homeland. However, the
women end up being indentured servants to those that smuggle them
into the states, unable to pay to their captors the cost of coming
to America.

Lydersen argues that the U.S. government’s current actions are
unable to combat sex trafficking as the phenomenon increases, and
she expects that things will only get worse if we fail to pay
attention to it: ‘As the economy gets worse around the world, and
the U.S. and European countries tighten their immigration laws, the
trafficking of women and children for sex work and other purposes
is likely to become even more pervasive.’
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