Sexual trafficking is the movement of women and children, usually from one country to another but sometimes within a country, for purposes of prostitution or some other form of sexual slavery. It includes the recruitment, transportation, harbouring, transfer, or sale of women and children for these purposes. Most sexual trafficking also includes some form of coercion – such as kidnapping, threats, intimidation, assault, rape, drugging or other forms of violence.

Nation states have a responsibility under international law to act with due diligence to prevent trafficking, to investigate and prosecute traffickers and to assist and protect trafficked persons. It is clear that many states are failing in this responsibility.

The June 2003 U.S. Government “Trafficking in Persons Report” and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) indicate that 700,000- 2,000,000 people annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide.

Alarming Facts

  • Between 18,000 and 20,000 of those victims are trafficked into the United States alone. This estimate includes men, women, and children trafficked into forced labour and sexual exploitation. Trafficking in Persons Report 2003 USA Department of State
  • Children from Mexico are sold to brothels in the U.S.A.
  • Almost 200,000 Nepali girls, many under the age of 14.are sexual slaves in India.
  • Experts estimate that 10,000 children between 6-14 are virtually enslaved in brothels in Sri Lanka.
  • I 5,000 children were sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia between 1991 -97.
  • The Thai government reports that 60,000 Thai children are sold into prostitution/prostitutes. NGO experts estimate there are 800,000.
  • An estimated 10,000 women from the former Soviet Union have been forced into prostitution in Israel.
  • Asian women are sold to North American brothels for $16,000 each.
  • 20,000 women and girls from Burma have been forced into prostitution in Thailand.
  • Of 155 cases of forced prostitution brought to court in the Netherlands, only four resulted in conviction of the traffickers. Statistics provided by The Protection Project – John Hopkins University
  • Of the estimated 2,000,000 persons trafficked each year, Africa accounts for 450,000.
  • Between 1999 and 2000 over 1180 trafficked girls were repatriated to Nigeria. This does not include those who were not caught, the dead and the maimed, and those sick with AIDS. Her Excellency Chief (Mrs) Amina Titi Atiku Abubakar
  • The UK Home office reports that in 1998 (the number is believed to have risen dramatically since) 1,400 women were trafficked into the UK for exploitation. It is “thought” that a similar number of children are trafficked into the UK for exploitation as prostitutes, child labour, or for criminal gangs and benefit fraud. UNICEF ’Stop the Traffic in Children'

Dr. Laura Lederer, who has been studying the issue of sexual trafficking for 20 years at Harvard University, reports:

Over the last 10 years, the numbers of women and children [who] have been trafficked have multiplied so that they are now on par with estimates of the numbers of Africans who were enslaved in the 16th and 17th centuries.