Sex Trafficking

The Facts:

Definition: sex trafficking is the acquisition and exploitation of individuals for profit (according to the United Nations).

-it is a multi-billion dollar illegal industry

-2.5 million people are trafficked each year (as of June 2011 stats)

-the majority of governments around the world are indifferent to sex trafficking or only impose a $500 fine (or currency equivalent) on traffickers

-a common ploy is to advertise for domestic workers in a nearby country, then those that apply are often kidnapped and forced into sex slavery

-the average trafficking run is 3-4 men

Trafficking ring procedures for enslavement:

-girls are often drugged and beaten by captors

-girls service 8 to 15 “clients” per day

-cycle of debt bondage created by captors – this entails that girls can buy their freedom, but typically as they approach the “freedom” price, then they are sold to a new “keeper”, thus recreating the debt bondage cycle

Source countries:

Odessa, Ukraine – a port city on the Black Sea


Destination countries:

Turkey – from here victims can be anywhere in the world in 3-4 days (from Istanbul)

Western Europe

U.S specific facts:

-every major city has a “Track” – the route/road/street walked by prostitutes, many of whom are forced into this position (many are under 21 years of age)

-75% of sex trafficking starts online

-80% of sex trafficking girls are U.S. citizens

-average customer = employed/married/40 years old

-if a raid frees sex slaves, then individuals are deported to home country (not treated as victims, rather as prostitutes)

-trafficking is prohibited in the U.S. by the Mann Act (1910), which “prohibits the interstate transportation of women for immoral purposes”. Further additions and protections have been added, including for men, underage humans, and expanded language.

Read more about this in the novel: The Secret Keepers


American Sex Slave. National Geographic TV, aired February 2013.

Crime Inc.: Human Trafficking. CNBC, aired June 2011.

Sex Traffic. MSNBC, aired November 2010.

Look Around: Sex Trafficking is not a foreign concept. Petula Dvorak. Washington Post article. May 21, 2010.

Sex Slaves. WETA, aired May 2009.

Glenny, Misha. McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime. Vintage Books, 2009.