Module 7 Reflection

What are the different types of human trafficking? How does involvement in human trafficking vary across gender? Who is at the highest risk sex trafficking?

There are two definitions for human trafficking. The first one is "exploitation of another person for purpose of sex labor by means of force, fraud, or coercion. The second is any commercial sex act of a minor under 18. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to cross borders to be trafficked. The most common forms of human trafficking are sexual exploitation, forced marriage, and exploitative labor. According to the video, 71% of trafficking victims are women and girls. Children (girls) are at highest risk of being trafficked.

What is the difference between sex trafficking and sex work?

The simple answer is consent. Sex work is when an adult CHOOSES to offer sexual services in exchange for something of value (usually money). Sex trafficking is when an individual or group uses force, fraud, or coercion to compel another into some kind of labor (usually nonconsensual sex work). People who are in sex work choose to do that; people who are trafficked did not choose it.

How do women and girls enter trafficking? What is the impact of trafficking on their lives?

It's not as dramatic as movies and TV make it. Sometimes women or children are brought across borders with promises of safety, freedom, jobs, etc. The video defined a pimp as a person who lies, coerces, and violently forces girls into sex trade. Pimps and traffickers can both be male or female. In one video we heard about a girl who was befriended by a more popular girl. She felt so lucky to be invited to a party. Then she was trafficked; forced to dance at a strip club and was repeatedly raped. I've heard of women falling in love with a man and then he forces her to have sex with his friends to work off drugs or expensive gifts (I can't remember if I heard that on these videos). It can happen to anyone who is vulnerable and unsuspecting.

Reflect on your learning experience for this module

This material was fairly new to me. I just recently started learning about human trafficking. I learned about prostitution and sex work in my Gender and Crime course. Even some of the women who choose to make that their profession and are doing so as consenting adults, did so because they had few choices left. We (society) view them as bad instead of looking at them as a person. This module really brought in the human aspects of trafficking and sex work.

This was an interesting module. I did not realize how many victims of trafficking are arrested and how much they suffer legal consequences when they are forced to engage in the behaviors. I had never put a lot of thought into sex workers. As I have gotten older, I've become less judgmental about it (we all can grow) and feel that if it's consensual, then it's not really my business. Listening to how much the girls can make at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch was eye opening. It seems in the U.S. that we criminalize a lot of things instead of just regulating them. One woman on a video in the last section said, "Decriminalization of sex work does not mean the decriminalization of human trafficking." This really stood out to me. I think the victims of trafficking should not face criminal charges at all. This makes them less likely to come forward and report. We need to start treating everyone as human instead of judging them for their choices. We need to protect more and not "punish" the wrong people.

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