Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sexual slavery or forced sexual slavery

Definition of sexual slavery

According to the Rome Statute (Article 7(2)(c)), sexual enslavement means the exercise of any or all of the powers attached to the "right of ownership" over a person. It comprises the repeated violation or sexual abuse or forcing the victim to provide sexual services as well as the rape by the captor. The crime has the character of a continuing offence. The Rome Statute's definition of sexual slavery includes situations where persons are forced to domestic servitude, marriage or any other forced labour involving sexual activity, as well as the trafficking of persons, in particular women and children.[2]
 Human trafficking
Main article: Human trafficking

Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is a major cause of contemporary sexual slavery.

The most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the US, according to a report by UNODC.[3]

The countries that are major sources of trafficked persons include Thailand, China, Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.[3]

Women and young girls had to work in sex industry, while men had to work in dangerous conditions with little or no pay.[3][4]
 Commercial sexual exploitation of children
Main article: Commercial sexual exploitation of children

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) constitutes a form of coercion and violence against children and amounts to forced labour and a contemporary form of slavery.[5][6]

A declaration of the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm in 1996, defined CSEC as:

‘sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons. The child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object.’[6]

CSEC includes the prostitution of children, child pornography, child sex tourism and other forms of transactional sex (survival sex) where a child engages in sexual activities to have key needs fulfilled, such as food, shelter or access to education.
Child prostitution
Main article: Child prostitution

The prostitution of children is a form of commercial sexual exploitation of children in which a child performs the services of prostitution, most often for the financial benefit of an adult.

In India, the federal police say that around 1.2 million children are believed to be involved in prostitution.[7] A CBI statement said that studies and surveys sponsored by the ministry of women and child development estimated that about 40% of all India's prostitutes are children.[7]

Thailand’s Health System Research Institute reported that children in prostitution make up 40% of prostitutes in Thailand.[8]

In many parts of the world, child prostitution is tolerated and ignored by the authorities. Reflecting an attitude which prevails in many developing countries, a judge from Honduras says, on condition of anonymity: "If the victim [the child-prostitute] is older than 12, if he or she refuses to file a complaint and if the parents clearly profit from their child's commerce, we tend to look the other way".[9]
 Child pornography
Main article: Child pornography

Child pornography (also known as child abuse images [10][11][12]) refers to images or films depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child; as such, child pornography is a visual record of child sexual abuse.[13][14][15][16][17][18] Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts which are photographed in the production of child pornography,[13][14][16][17][18][19][20] and the effects of the abuse on the child (and continuing into maturity) are compounded by the wide distribution and lasting availability of the photographs of the abuse.[18][19][21]
 Child sex tourism
Main article: Child sex tourism

Child sex tourism (CST) is a travel to a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in commercially facilitated child sexual abuse.[22] Child sex tourism results in both mental and physical consequences for the exploited children, that may include "disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possibly death", according to the State Department of the United States.[22]

Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil and Mexico have been identified as leading hotspots of child sexual exploitation.[23]
 Forced prostitution
Main article: Forced prostitution

Sexual slavery encompasses most, if not all, forms of forced prostitution[citation needed]. The terms "forced prostitution" or "enforced prostitution" appear in international and humanitarian conventions but have been insufficiently understood and inconsistently applied. "Forced prostitution" generally refers to conditions of control over a person who is coerced by another to engage in sexual activity.[24]

The laws from Sweden, Norway and Iceland--where it is illegal to pay for sex, but not to be a prostitute—define all forms of prostitution as inherently exploitative, and abusive, and reject the notion that prostitution can be "voluntary". In contrast, prostitution is a recognized profession in countries such as Netherlands and Germany.

The question of whether prostitution should be considered a free choice or a form of exploitation of women is dividing Europe.[25]

In 1949 the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (the 1949 Convention). The 1949 Convention supersedes a number of earlier conventions that covered some aspects of forced prostitution. Signatories are charged with three obligations under the 1949 Convention: prohibition of trafficking, specific administrative and enforcement measures, and social measures aimed at trafficked persons. The 1949 Convention presents two shifts in perspective of the trafficking problem in that it views prostitutes as victims of the procurers, and in that it eschews the terms "white slave traffic" and "women," using for the first time race- and gender-neutral language.[26] Article 1 of the 1949 Convention provides punishment for any person who "[p]rocures, entices or leads away, for purposes of prostitution, another person" or "[e]xploits the prostitution of another person, even with the consent of that person." To fall under the provisions of the 1949 Convention, the trafficking need not cross international lines.[26]
Crime against humanity

The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum, which defines the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, recognises rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, "or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity" as crime against humanity if the action is part of a widespread or systematic practice.[27][28] Sexual slavery was first recognized as crime against humanity when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia issued arrest warrants based on the Geneva Conventions and Violations of the Laws or Customs of War. Specifically, it was recognised that Muslim women in Foca (southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) were subjected to systematic and widespread gang rape, torture and sexual enslavement by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen, and members of paramilitary groups after the takeover of the city in April 1992.[29] The indictment was of major legal significance and was the first time that sexual assaults were investigated for the purpose of prosecution under the rubric of torture and enslavement as a crime against humanity.[29] The indictment was confirmed by a 2001 verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that rape and sexual enslavement are crimes against humanity. This ruling challenged the widespread acceptance of rape and sexual enslavement of women as intrinsic part of war.[30] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found three Bosnian Serb men guilty of rape of Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) women and girls (some as young as 12 and 15 years of age), in Foca, eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The charges were brought as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Furthermore two of the men were found guilty of the crime against humanity of sexual enslavement for holding women and girls captive in a number of de facto detention centers. Many of the women subsequently disappeared.[30]
Contemporary sexual slavery

Official numbers of individuals in sexual slavery worldwide vary. In 2001 International Organization for Migration estimated 400,000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated 700,000 and UNICEF estimated 1.75 million.[47]

A common misconception is that sexual slavery and sex-trafficking only occur in poor countries. In fact, most countries of destination for victims of human trafficking are wealthy countries from the Western World, where customers can afford to buy sex from these victims.

Trafficking victims from Eastern Europe, as well as from Asia, Latin America and Africa, to Western Europe, for the purpose of sexual exploitation, is a serious problem.

In Netherlands, it is estimated that there are from 1,000 to 7,000 trafficking victims a year. Most police investigations relate to legal sex businesses, with all sectors of prostitution being well represented, but with window brothels being particularly overrepresented. [48][49][50] In 2008, there were 809 registered trafficking victims, 763 were women and at least 60 percent of them were forced to work in the sex industry. All victims from Hungary were female and were forced into prostitution.[51] [52]

Out of all Amsterdam's 8,000 to 11,000 prostitutes, more than 75% are from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, according to a former prostitute who produced a report about the sex trade in Amsterdam, in 2008.[53] An article in Le Monde in 1997 found that 80% of prostitutes in the Netherlands were foreigners and 70% had no immigration papers.[54][55]

In Germany, the trafficking of women from Eastern Europe is often organized by people from that same region. Authorities identified 676 sex-trafficking victims in 2008, compared with 689 in 2007.[56] The German Federal Police Office BKA reported in 2006 a total of 357 completed investigations of human trafficking, with 775 victims. Thirty-five percent of the suspects were Germans born in Germany and 8% were German citizens born outside of Germany.[57]

In Greece, according to NGO estimates, there are 13,000–14,000 trafficking victims in the country at any given time. Major countries of origin for trafficking victims include Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Albania, Moldova, Romania, and Belarus.[58]

In Switzerland, the police estimates that there may be between 1,500 and 3,000 victims of human trafficking. The organisers and their victims generally come from Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Thailand and Cambodia, and, to a lesser extent, Africa.[59]

In Belgium, in 2007, prosecutors handled 418 trafficking cases, including 219 economic exploitation and 168 sexual exploitation cases. The federal judicial police handled 196 trafficking files, compared with 184 in 2006. In 2007 the police arrested 342 persons for smuggling and trafficking-related crimes.[60] A recent report by RiskMonitor foundation found that 70% of the prostitutes who work in Belgium are from Bulgaria.[61]

In Austria, Vienna has the largest number of trafficking cases, although trafficking is also a problem in urban centers such as Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. The NGO Lateinamerikanische Frauen in Oesterreich–Interventionsstelle fuer Betroffene des Frauenhandels (LEFOE-IBF) reported assisting 108 trafficking victims in 2006, down from 151 in 2005.[62]

In Spain, in 2007, officials identified 1,035 sex trafficking victims and 445 labor trafficking victims.[63]

In Africa the colonial powers abolished slavery in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but in areas outside their jurisdiction, such as the Mahdist empire in Sudan, the practice continued to thrive (see also: Slavery in modern Africa). Now, institutional slavery has been banned worldwide, but there are numerous reports of women sex slaves in areas without an effective government control, such as Sudan,[64] Liberia,[65] Sierra Leone,[66] northern Uganda,[67] Congo,[68] Niger[69] and Mauritania.[70] In Ghana, Togo, and Benin, a form of religious prostitution known as trokosi ("ritual servitude") forcibly keeps thousands of girls and women in traditional shrines as "wives of the gods", where priests perform the sexual function in place of the gods.[71]

Recently[when?] the supreme court of India stated that India is "becoming a hub" for largescale child prostitution rackets, and suggested the setting up of a special investigating agency to tackle the growing problem.[72]

According to Save the Children India, clients now prefer 10- to 12-year-old girls. The soaring number of prostitutes believed to have contracted HIV in India’s brothels has helped give India the second-largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world, just behind South Africa.[73]

In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development reported presence of 2.8 million sex workers in India, with 35.47 percent of them entering the trade before the age of 18 years.[74][75] The number of prostitutes has also doubled in the recent decade.[76] Over 200,000 Nepalese girls have been trafficked to red light areas of India.[77] Nepalese women and girls, especially virgins, are favoured in India because of their fair skin and young looks.[78][79] Every year between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked into the red light districts in Indian cities. Many of the girls are barely 9 or 10 years old.[80]

In Pakistan, young girls have been sold by their families to brothels as sex slaves in big cities. Often this happens due to poverty or debt, whereby the family has no other way to raise the money than to sell the young girl.[81] Cases have also been recorded where wives and sisters have been sold to brothels to raise money for gambling, drinking or consuming drugs. Many sex slaves are also bought by 'agents' in Afghanistan who trick young girls into coming to Pakistan for well-paying jobs. Once in Pakistan they are taken to brothels (called Kharabat) and forced into sexual slavery for many years.[82][83]

In Thailand, Thailand’s Health System Research Institute reports that children in prostitution make up 40% of prostitutes in Thailand,[8] and a proportion of prostitutes over the age of 18, including foreign nationals mostly from Myanmar, China's Yunnan province, Laos and Cambodia, are also in a state of forced sexual servitude and slavery.[84]

Sexual slavery also exists in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, where women and children are trafficked from the post-Soviet states, Eastern Europe, Far East, Africa, South Asia and other parts of the Middle East.[85][86][87]
United States

In the 21st century, women, mostly from South America, Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet Union, are trafficked into the United States for sexual slavery.[88] Contrary to some existing misconceptions, American citizens are also coerced into sex slavery.[89]

In 2001 the United States State Department estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 women and girls are trafficked each year in the United States. In 2003, the State Department report estimated that 18,000 to 20,000 individuals were trafficked here for forced labor and sexual exploitation. The June 2004 report set the total trafficked annually at between 14,500 and 17,500. However, the Bush administration set up 42 Justice Department task forces and spent more than $150 million. But in the seven years since the law was passed, The administration has identified only 1,362 victims of human trafficking brought into the United States since 2000, nowhere near the 50,000 a year the government had estimated.[90]

Many times these girls are some of the most vulnerable that are thrust into this industry. According to Girl’s Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS), an organization based in New York, the majority of girls that are thrown into this industry were abused as children. Poverty and a lack of education play major roles in the lives of the women in this industry. According to a report conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, anywhere from 100,000 up to 300,000 American children are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation at any given time.[91]

As described in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons report, "The United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor, debt bondage, and forced prostitution." [92]

Sexual slavery in the United States occurs in multiple forms and in multiple venues. Popular forms of sex trafficking in the United States are Asian massage parlors, Mexican cantina bars, residential brothels, and street-based pimp-controlled prostitution. There is currently a divide among the anti-trafficking community in the United States over the extent of sexual slavery. Some groups view all prostitution as abusive and coerced, arguing that the exploitation is inherent in the act of commercial sex. Other groups take looser approaches to defining prostitution and sex slavery, considering the elements of force, fraud, and coercion to be necessary for sex slavery to exist.

Asian apartment massage parlors exist all over the USA, especially in Silicon Valley, California. Many of the prostitutes are females from Korea, either brought illegally across the borders of Mexico and Canada, or with the use of fake student visas. A Sunnyvale police officer was accused of human trafficking and taking bribes from the local highly organized crime syndicate.[93] The prostitutes are forced to work out of apartment complexes for many hours a day. They are forced to use narcotics and amphetamines and to have sex with many men.[94] Also, they often have to undergo plastic surgery and forced abortions.[95]

In the United States of America, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has also been implicated in the trafficking of underage women across state and international boundaries (US/Canada). In most cases, this is for the continuation of polygamous practices, in the form of plural marriage.[96][97]

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