Sex trafficking has no borders, every country in the world either receives or transports people illegally; men, women and children are trafficked every day. Despite the fact that countries have passed anti-trafficking legislation in their national laws, this legislation is not adhered to in many countries and the people engaged in trafficking are not punished in relation to the crime. According to the UN, 2.5 billion people around the world are trafficked at any given time.
The UN also estimates that the total market value of human trafficking including trafficking for sexual exploitation is worth $32 billion! Corruption, conflict, greed, and organised crime are the impetus for sex-trafficking. People think that sex-trafficking just occurs in developing countries, when in fact, it can also happen not far from your own front door. It is the largest crime activity in the world with 80% of sex-trafficking victims being women and 50% being children. The traffickers use source, transit and destination countries to move the victims around, a source country is where the victims of trafficking originally come from, a transit country usually has a border or a port which has weak officials guarding them and who are also more than likely corrupt. These transit countries are always near the destination countries they intend to sell victims in. Destination countries are usually wealthy countries that are supporting a sex industry.
Libya is a transit and a destination country for sub-Saharan and Asian men and women who are forced into prostitution. Migrants who come to Libya for work are extremely vulnerable and many of the women are domestic workers who are en route to a better life in Europe, but their identity papers and travel documents are taken from them and they are unable to escape as they are coerced into prostitution rings and then they are trafficked to brothels in the south of Libya. The life they had planned will never happen as they have become part of the world’s human trafficking vicious circle. The Libyan Government is not making much effort to try and stem sex trafficking as they are not arresting and prosecuting traffickers or trying to protect the victims of trafficking.
Mauritania is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children. Young Mauritanian girls and women are forced into prostitution in their own country or they are trafficked to the Middle East, where they are compelled to become prostitutes. Men from Middle Eastern countries come to Mauritania with legally held marriage contracts to sexually exploit young girls and women. There has been no attempt by the government to help their own citizens or women from other West African countries who have been sexually exploited. Nor have they arrested any of the perpetrators of these crimes.
Zimbabwe is a transit, destination and source country for men, women and children. Women and young girls who live on the borders of South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique are set up in brothels on both sides of the borders and long distance lorry drivers are their main customers. Young girls and women are sold into prostitution by their parents. Many women are lured into other African countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Angola with the false promise of jobs but these women usually end up in prostitution. Zimbabwean girls are also lured to China and Europe with the promise of a better life but once again they are forced into prostitution. Men, women and children from Asia are trafficked through Zimbabwe to South Africa and young boys from Zambia are coerced into prostitution in Zimbabwe. The government does not investigate or prosecute the traffickers and the victims are not given any protection.
7. Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is a destination and also a source country for the trafficking of women and children who are compelled into forced labour and sex trafficking. The oil industry has encouraged this trafficking as there is a lot of money available and the sex industry is alive and well. Many young Guinean girls are forced into prostitution by their parents who use the money the girls earn to buy food and housing. The girls are encouraged to attract the foreign workers as they have a lot of money to spend. Women from other neighbouring countries in West Africa such as the Cameroons and Benin are falsely recruited for work and then they are subjected to prostitution. Chinese women migrate voluntarily to Equatorial Guinea to work but their passports are sometimes confiscated and they have to resort to prostitution in order to survive. Despite the fact that the Government introduced an anti-trafficking law, the ‘powers that be’ have not been very active in preventing or prosecuting traffickers.
Cuba is a source country for sex-trafficking. Sex-tourism is big business and the people who visit Cuba for that sole purpose, come from western countries because it is cheaper and nearer than Thailand as regards to travel. Also the HIV statistics are lower than those of other Caribbean countries. As Cuba is a country where secrecy is the norm, it is actually very hard to get statistics regarding the scale of trafficking. Information does occasionally get out through US Diplomats based in Havana; such as the fact that parents are forcing their children into prostitution for money and gifts. Hotels, taxi drivers and pimps are quite open in pointing western tourists to places where women and children are available to engage with them. Cuba is another country whose government does not make many attempts if any, to stop the sex-industry and protect the women and children who are subjected to this so called ‘industry’.
5. North Korea
North Korea is a source country for men, women and children who are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. The deterioration in the economy has sent many women across the border into China to seek employment and these women are sex-trafficked into prostitution. The North Korean Government has agreements with Russia, China and Mongolia to send their citizens to work in those countries. The government keeps most of the money they are paid and there are tens of thousands of North Koreans in China but it is unclear as to how many of these people have been trafficked. There are trafficking networks along the borders of North Korea and China who work with the guards on both sides of the border to recruit women for prostitution and forced marriages. The Government is actually contributing to trafficking by banning emigration, sending people into forced labour and by not dealing with the economic situation and food shortage in the country. The people are entering other countries illegally and thereby becoming prey for the sex-traffickers.
Iran is an origin, transit and destination country for men, women and children. Young boys from Afghanistan who are residing in Iran are procured for prostitution. Iranian women, boys and girls are also sex trafficked both in Iran, Pakistan, and Europe. There has been a significant increase in teenage girls working in prostitution in the capital city Tehran. Children are forced by their parents to enter into prostitution and they are also sex trafficked abroad. Criminal organisations are involved in the sex-trafficking industry. The Government of Iran is reluctant to divulge any information regarding sex-trafficking in their country, therefore the information regarding the statistics of sex trafficking are few and far between. They also are not pro-active in preventing it. Women who complain about sexual abuse are liable to end up in prison and be accused of adultery; the punishment for which is death.
Uzbekistan is a source country for men, women and children for both enforced labour and sex trafficking. The women and children are trafficked to over 12 countries which include Russia, Japan and United Arab Emirates. Young women and girls who have been brought up in orphanages are in a very vulnerable position as it is easy to traffic large numbers of girls who have no parents to protect them. Uzbekistan has seen an increase in trafficking and yet it does not take the culprits to task either by prosecution or imprisonment.
2. Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is a transit, source and destination country for men, women and children who are forced into sex trafficking. Children as young as five from the tribal areas are sexually exploited by members of their own families or the leaders of the tribes. Sometimes the leaders of these tribes exchange young girls for guns and political favours. There are mining and logging camps into which young girls from Malaysia, Thailand and China are brought in by foreign business men or logging companies on false visas. These girls are then turned over to traffickers and subjected to prostitution and domestic slavery. The government committed to putting anti-trafficking legislation in place, but this has not been done.
Rapidly becoming one of the richest countries in the world, China still continues to be a source, transit and destination country for sex trafficking. China is a transit country for trafficking to Thailand and Malaysia. It is a destination country for women and children who are brought in from neighbouring countries such as Burma, Vietnam and Russia. As China’s male population is larger than the female population, it is possible that the trafficking of women from other countries is to counteract this problem. Trafficking within China itself is high and children are sexually exploited and forced into prostitution. Children are kidnapped and sold to people who are unable to have children, these children are usually boys.