Slavery is a modern, pervasive problem. Human trafficking has been found in every state in America (humantrafficking.org). It seems that most Americans likely live within a comfortable drive of someone who is being exploited through human trafficking. There is a growing trend in human trafficking toward sexual exploitation (Bennetts, 2011). The Information Age has helped to create new opportunities for sex trafficking to flourish.
Information drives many modern experiences. A wealth of information, on seemingly any topic, is at the fingertips of any person with Internet access. Society has grown accustomed to real-time solutions, instant gratification, and anonymity. New technologies tempt the depth of human curiosity, sometimes resulting in opaque consumer markets that bear heavy human costs. One such market is that of sex trafficking. I will demonstrate how this issue is not being treated with the appropriate seriousness, how sex trafficking results in egregious violations of human rights and losses of human autonomy. The Internet plays a key role in sex trafficking, and we, behind our computers and in our communities can play vital roles in stemming the tide of sex trafficking. While the American government’s current response to combat sex trafficking has been more robust of late, it is imperative that results follow from these improved efforts.
Sex -trafficking, defined by the U.S. Department of State’s Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, is, “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” (TVPA, 2000). Many sex trafficking victims are transported and concealed in establishments that offer legal sex acts, like strip clubs, pornography production, escort services, and so on. Traffickers buy and run legitimate businesses, like massage parlors, modeling studios, and adult book stores, in order to conceal and harbor victims with the goal of selling them (humantrafficking.org). Sex trafficking is not hidden behind closed doors, but is disguised as a regular business for anyone who is interested.
Sex-trafficking victims are diverse: U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, women, men and children all make sex slaves (U.S. Department of State PITF). Victims are trafficked in three ways: within their countries of origin, from country-to-country, and to destination countries (humantrafficking.org). The sex trade is not stagnant and easy-to-see. Instead, the sex trade is a complex, mobile network, where perpetrators move from one location to the next. In 2007, the U.S. state Department reported, “600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year,” “1 million is the number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade every year,” and “161 countries identified as affected by human trafficking” (Polaris Project, DoSomething.org).
Sex -trafficking has not dissipated over time; it is a growing, adaptive market...