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Sex Trafficking

Every year, millions of vulnerable children and women are trafficked for sex around the world. The nightmare of sex trafficking thrives when law enforcement cannot or does not protect vulnerable children and women.

Pimps and brothel owners often lure impoverished women with promises of a proper job, but then force them to sell their bodies over and over again. At other times, these traffickers trick families into giving up young girls, or they kidnap them to fetch a high price in the sex trade. Controlled with fear and violence, trafficking victims are left vulnerable to repeated abuse and disease. Many lose hope of ever getting help.

Cybersex trafficking is on the rise as internet access increases everywhere. Now, paedophiles anywhere in the world can direct live sexual abuse of boys and girls hidden in private homes or internet cafes. Learn more about cybersex trafficking of children here.

The Facts arrow-simple-bottom
  • One million children are exploited in sex trafficking. [1]
  • In IJM cases, sex trafficking survivors have described being beaten, forcibly injected with narcotics, and forced to watch their own children be physically abused.
  • Human trafficking generates about US$150 billion a year—two-thirds from commercial sexual exploitation. [2]
[1] The Walk Free Foundation & ILO
[2] ILO

The vast majority of victims of trafficking come from backgrounds of poverty. Impoverished women and girls are especially susceptible to traffickers’ schemes of deception. Because of their desperate economic situation, they (or their parents or caretakers) are more willing to take risks—so they are more likely to accept fraudulent job offers or insincere marriage proposals from traffickers, to move to another location or migrate to another country, or to believe other deceptive techniques criminals use to entrap victims.

Before the internet, customers had to physically go to a bar or brothel to purchase sex. In the Philippines, most customers were opportunistic predators seeking out young women or teenagers. Now, pedophiles and abusers located anywhere in the world can exploit children without ever leaving their bedroom.

Once trafficked, victims find themselves facing violence as a constant threat. In addition to serial rape, children and adults forced into the commercial sex trade are particularly vulnerable to physical assault from owners, pimps, recruiters and customers.

Though sex trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon, it is most pervasive in countries with weak justice systems, where perpetrators know they are unlikely to face any significant consequences for profiting from repeated sexual assault.

However, because the crime is an economic one, traffickers, pimps and others who profit from the sexual exploitation of children are particularly sensitive to law enforcement action. When the likelihood of serving serious jail time and paying significant financial damages increases, the potential financial rewards are no longer worth the high risk, and traffickers change their behavior.

IJM combats sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic, India and Romania. Our Philippines offices now combat cybersex trafficking and our Cambodia team combats forced labour trafficking.

RESCUE VICTIMS
We identify children and adults forced into the commercial sex trade, support professional law enforcement rescue operations and ensure that all people, including non-trafficked individuals who may be present, are treated with dignity during the operation.

BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE
We partner with local authorities to help build strong cases against traffickers, pimps and other perpetrators and support their prosecution.

RESTORE SURVIVORS
We create individual treatment plans for each survivor, partner with excellent aftercare homes, provide focused trauma counselling and support access to school and vocational opportunities.

STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS
We provide training and hands-on mentoring to law enforcement, judges, prosecutors and other professionals, and advocate for improvements to the justice system that will ensure cases are heard and survivors are protected.