Vulnerabilities To Human Trafficking And Prostitution

Risk factors. Prostitution and trafficking are rooted in social inequality: the inequality between men and women, between the rich and the poor, and between ethnic majorities and minorities.4 The macro forces and individual risk factors contributing to human trafficking are multiple and relate to each other in complex ways. At their roots, risk factors include varying combinations of being young, poor, female, and being a member of a marginalized ethnic minority. Risk factors vary depending on the individual's country, region, city, community, and family and community supports. For example, in Latin America the growing problem of trafficking is exacerbated by sexist environments that discriminate against women and girls including by their physical and sexual abuse;5 by limited economic opportunities for women;6 by multinational corporations' demand for inexpensive labor; by sophisticated recruitment methods used by traffickers; by government corruption and disinterest in the protection of vulnerable people; immigration policies that force people into anonymity; unemployment; illiteracy; homelessness; drug and alcohol abuse; and gang membership.7 A woman from Nicaragua described how her husband, a Salvadoran man, took her to live close to the Guatemalan border with Mexico shortly after they married. Every weekend he transported her to a Mexican brothel to be sold in prostitution. She escaped her husband/pimp/trafficker when he brought her to the United States to gain greater profits from the commercial sexual exploitation. She broke into tears when she recalled failed attempts to obtain help in Guatemala, stating, "One day I was fed up and decided to go to the police. I told them what was happening, and they laughed and told me I should shut my mouth and instead work on being an obedient wife. I wanted to kill myself, but my son kept me going." Three common characteristics of Central American cases of human trafficking are control and exploitation of victims including their delivery to sex trafficking markets across borders, lawless environments, and the rampant sex-based discrimination at all levels of society.

Limited economic opportunities. Women are increasingly channeled into prostitution as their opportunities for work in other sectors of the economy shrink. A prostituting Yemeni woman angrily accused her government of making her "worthless and of no value, oppressing us with these unstable conditions, moreover forcing us to indulge in actions that will haunt us for generations to come."8 The prostitution of desperately poor women in Yemen may seem worlds apart from the prostitution of women and girls in the United States. But as globalized economies feminize poverty and as public health services and emergency networks collapse because of malignant governmental neglect, more U.S. women turn to prostitution to survive. This process of women's economic survival under the oppressive harm of poverty and conditions of war can not be described as a free choice to prostitute, as some would insist. The economic and social forces that channel young, poor, and ethnically marginalized women into prostitution are evident in post-Katrina New Orleans. One report pointed out that economic devastation of the hurricane increased prostitution and domestic trafficking into the region.9

Like domestically trafficked women, internationally trafficked women tend to be poor and unemployed and to come from countries that are in economic and social transition.10 Trade liberalization policies have failed to diminish power imbalances between men and women, with impoverished women having dramatically less access to land, credit, and education than men, which places them at higher risk of vulnerability to pimps and traf-fickers.11

Ethnic and racial discrimination. Women's vulnerability to trafficking increases when they belong to an ethnically and/or racially marginalized group. A study that looked at the prevalence of lifetime violence and post-traumatic stress disorder of women prostituting in Vancouver, Canada, included 52% percent Aboriginal women, an overrepresentation in prostitution of Aboriginal women compared with less than 8% representation in the general population.12 The authors point out that the same vulnerabilities of race, class, and gender that have been recognized as multiplicative risk factors for a wide range of health problems are also multiplicative risk factors for prostitution and conclude:

In Canada, the triple force of race, class and sex discrimination disparately impacts First Nations [term of respect used by the authors to refer to people whose ancestors were the first nations of people in North America] women. Prostitution of Aboriginal women occurs globally in epidemic numbers with indigenous women at the bottom of a racialized sexual hierarchy in prostitution itself. (p. 17)12

The social forces that are assumed to cause human trafficking, such as poverty, human rights violations, gender disparity, and discrimination, are the same as those that channel women, men, and children into prostitution.10,6 Magda, a Mayan Indian woman, described her trafficking experiences during the thirty-six-year armed conflict in Guatemala. Magda narrated how the soldiers kidnapped her from her village after killing her family. She described how they forced her to travel with them over the course of several weeks and used her to have sex with soldiers stationed in remote mountain areas. Reflecting on these traumatic childhood experiences, Magda said, "People saw me with them and they didn't do anything to help me. Maybe it's because I was an Indian girl. Maybe they would have helped if they saw a Ladina [term used to refer to westernized, biracial, or white Guatemalans] girl with a bunch of soldiers." This case illustrates the intersecting contextual factors of war, ethnic, racial, and gender-based discrimination that contribute to human trafficking.

The invisible coercions of prostitution are evident when we take a closer look at individual cases: the woman in India who worked in an office where she concluded that she might as well prostitute and be paid more for the sexual harassment and abuse that was expected of her anyway in order to keep her job; the teenager in California who said that in her neighborhood, "Boys grew up to be pimps and drug dealers and girls grew up to be 'hos." She was the third generation of prostituted women in her family. The woman in Zambia who said that five blow jobs paid for a bag of cornmeal and that this is how she could feed her children. The young woman sold by her parents at age sixteen into a Nevada legal brothel. Ten years later, she took six psychiatric drugs that tranquilized her so she could make it through the day selling sex. The narratives have a common thread: the women had extremely limited options for economic survival and all lived in cultures that were accepting of prostitution.

Sexual violence against women. Violence against women, which increases women's vulnerability to trafficking, is at pandemic levels. Conservative international statistics indicate that at least one of three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.13 A World Health Organization study found that as many as 47% of women report that their first sexual experience was rape. In some communities laws prioritize family values over the rights of women to be free of sexual assault.14 Every year, as many as five thousand women around the world are victims of honor killings—murders that are rationalized because a woman engaged in sex without community approval. Many societies have laws with loopholes that allow perpetrators to act with impunity. For example, in a number of countries, a rapist can go free under the penal code if he proposes to marry the victim, with women often blamed for having been raped by men.15

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.

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