The trafficking of people has constantly been in the limelight owing to its severe consequences on its victims, particularly women. These women are traded for sexual servitude, a coerced exploitation form that crosses the boundaries of prostitution. Victims undergo adverse psychological and physical conditions. This form of trafficking has increased in the United States and the larger global community. Therefore, this paper seeks to analyze the occurrence of human trafficking, stakeholders, and potential solutions.

Background Information

Human trafficking has been acknowledged as a modern form of slavery as it encompasses trading individuals for coerced forms of exploitation. According to a report from the U.S department of crime and drugs, this trafficking form involves any step to recruit, transfer, receive, transport, or harbor individuals through coerced methods such as deception, fraud, or abduction. Annually, over 800 000 individuals are trafficked over international borders. 50% of these individuals are often minors, whereas 80% consist of girls (Deshpande and Nour 1). Regardless of the variations in the degree of trafficking experienced in various countries, human trafficking has been acknowledged as a global problem.

Forced labor and sexual exploitation are the most common reasons people engage in human trafficking. As for sex trafficking, individuals are coerced into various forms of sexual exploitation. It is to be acknowledged, however, that prostitution and sex trafficking are not conducted synonymously, with prostitution being an example of the exploitation practices that victims are engaged in. Sex trafficking encompasses exploitation methods such as prostitution, live sex shows, exotic dancing, pornography, stripping, military prostitution, sexual tourism, and mail-order brides. Most victims are adolescent girls and women, although this practice can be composed of victims of all ages.

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There exist several methods of recruitment that perpetrators employ on victims to coerce them into participating in sexual exploitation. They include promises of education, citizenship in certain countries, good jobs, or falsified marriage proposals. The victims are often sold by their familial ties, parents, guardians, siblings, or significant others, such as husbands, while the traffickers abduct others. The most prevalent means of coercion is debt bondage, an illegal practice (Deshpande and Nour 1). In this method, victims are asked to pledge their services as compensation for certain debts, such as living expenses or transport to foreign states. Most victims approached by these traffickers are often from low-income families who are promised better living standards. At times, those already engaging in acts of prostitution are also approached with promises of better ‘sales’ overseas.

Traumatic bonding is another tactic that is employed when recruiting victims of sex trafficking. This method involves instilling deep-rooted fear in victims linked to gratitude for being granted the chance to live. These traffickers, also addressed as pimps, pick victims from socially or economically vulnerable populations. These vulnerable populations accommodate girls and women susceptible to societal isolation, family dysfunction, poverty, school failure, drug addiction, family violence, and criminal records. At times, it also involves women suffering from physical impairments, orphans, the illiterate, and the innumerate. These victims are selected through guerilla or finesse pimping. Guerilla pimping involves using threats, violence, aggression, or intimidation to recruit and enslave victims. Finesse pimping, on the other hand, revolves around the use of kindness, psychological games that include gifting victims with shelter, cash, clothing, food, or drugs to establish debt towards the pimp, and compassion.

When victims are recruited into sex trafficking, it is often difficult for them to leave. They are faced with legal hindrances since their pimps sequester or confiscate all their forms of citizenry and immigration documentation. In addition, they are also barred by fear, language barriers, insufficient funds, and limited knowledge from escaping their predicament. In various regions, the enslavement conducted on involuntary terms on young girls is slowly becoming a societal norm (Deshpande and Nour 1). This is referred to as legacy prostitution. This sex trade has grown to be top-ranked among other organized forms of crime, generating 32 billion dollars annually. It has also been acknowledged as the third largest source of income revenue, succeeded by arms sales and narcotics. Unlike narcotics and arms sales which earn their pimps profits only once, sex trafficking makes its pimps significant profits for years.

Consequences of Sex Trafficking

The victims of sex trafficking undergo severe consequences that interfere with their emotional, mental and physical health. Health professionals such as nurses, physicians, midwives, and other experts must engage in critical role-playing to identify and offer advocacy and aid to the affected victims. To begin with, victims are often susceptible to infections such as syphilis, pubic lice, gonorrhea, and urinary infections. The most prevalent infection is HIV. Victims may also undergo rectal trauma, anal or vaginal tearing, urinary difficulties, and pelvic pain owing to the commercial nature of their sexual encounters. At times, victims are often physically tortured or abused by their partners. Thus, it is recommended that victims be screened for physical injuries that could include broken teeth and bones, scars, and burns. Records should also be taken over potential head trauma and concussions to identify any instances of brain injury that could lead to memory loss, headaches, numbness, and dizziness.

These victims should also be screened for unwanted pregnancies that prostitution and rape, menstrual problems, sterility, forced abortions, mutilations, and miscarriages may have brought about. Certain diseases have gained prevalence among victims of sex trafficking. These include hepatitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and malaria. They are often a result of dangerous and unsanitary living standards that include using needles and lack of access to efficient medical care (Deshpande and Nour 1). Sex trafficking victims are also susceptible to mental trauma with severe consequences on their psychological, emotional, and mental wellness owing to the torture they undergo daily. For instance, they suffer from acute anxiety, PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), and depression. Healthcare experts should therefore screen their emotional status for feelings of humiliation, helplessness, denial, shame, distrust, confusion, suicidal thoughts, disorientation, phobia, disbelief, and self-hatred.


Insufficient research has been conducted to establish the social consequences of sex trafficking. However, anecdotal evidence has demonstrated that victims are often prevailing in homelessness, illiteracy, societal isolation, and poverty. Compared to those who are not trafficked, the women who are trafficked for sex trades are faced with limited options, few resources, and elevated levels of vulnerability to abuse and violence. Aside from this lack of research, television shows and popular movies often depict pimps as rich characters who own fancy cars and flashy dress codes (Rodriguez and Hill 1). In addition, the girls who are involved in prostitution practices often do this without complaint. This characterization creates a fictional and inaccurate depiction of the sexual exploitation concern. This goes on to hinder effective action of minimizing the continuous engagement by people in this trade. This inaccurate presentation also creates a false sense of reality that withdraws the victimization standards of the women coerced into this trade.

Sex trafficking under the legislation in the United States is only punishable if it meets certain conditions. For instance, the trafficking form has to be severe and targets and coerces victims who have not attained the age of eighteen. In addition, the adults incorporated in this trade are also to be victims of induction through coercion, force, and fraud. Those who willingly participate in this sex trade are ruled out from coverage by U.S. law (Weitzer 1337). This law does not consider them victims, making them more susceptible to increased stances of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse.

The high levels of sexual consumption in the United States, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs, is the main drive for sex trafficking. This report is based on findings from the backgrounds of the majority of these victims. This drive is fueled by the constant pornography-watching practice that most American teens engage in (UNODC). This porn consumption has an extensive association with sex trafficking. Watching porn alters the brain’s chemical balance, giving those watching the urge to attempt what they saw. In addition, it has been proven that the consumers of porn are less compassionate regarding their interactions with sex trafficking victims and those of violence. The United States has been ranked as the leading porn consumer amongst other states in the global community.

Possible Solutions

In order to eradicate this menace, increased health training for victims and healthcare experts should be conducted. Policies that cover all victims and advocate for protecting their human rights should also be enhanced. Multidisciplinary teams should also be established to create partnerships through which social and legal services can be readily available to the exploited teams. Active stakeholders, in coordination with effective health systems, should engage in the execution of anti-trafficking efforts, particularly at the local level (Konstantopoulos et al. 4).

Fundraisers should also be conducted globally to increase the resources used to fight this trafficking form. The majority of agencies and organizations involved in fighting sex trafficking are often non-profit, thereby relying on donations and external aid. Fundraising will therefore enhance the efficient operations of these organizations. This fundraising initiative will also increase awareness and sensitization toward this concern. In addition to fundraising, more volunteers should also participate in spreading the anti-trafficking message. An increase in the number of volunteers also increases the margins for outreach. Promoting products, such as airing television shows that misrepresent the damage caused by sex trafficking, should also be banned. Such programs should be boycotted and efforts directed towards airing the continuous growth in this trafficking industry. Governments should also seek to empower their citizens to minimize the level of vulnerability that drives victims to participate in this trade.


Sex trafficking refers to the coerced exploitation of women and young girls, not limited to prostitution. This growing industry attracts annual revenue of 32 billion dollars. This exploitation has been a global concern as it degrades victims’ rights. In addition, it results in poor public health, decreased social development, and the disruption of communities. Victims of this trafficking form suffer from adverse psychological and physical social disadvantages and health conditions. They often face legal hindrances since their citizenry and pimps confiscate immigration documentation. In addition, they are faced with insufficient funding, language barriers, limited knowledge, and fear which deny them the chance to escape from the trafficking ring. Healthcare experts should therefore collaborate their efforts to ensure adequate identification, screening, and aid to victims, as well as give them platforms upon which they can seek social and legal services.

Works Cited

Deshpande, Neha and Nour, Nawal. Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls, Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology 6 (1), e22, 2013.

Konstantopoulos, Macias, Wendy., Munroe, Deanne., Genevieve, Purcell., Kristina, Tester., Burke, Thomas and Roy, Ahn. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the Boston Metropolitan Area: Experiences and Challenges Faced by Front-Line Providers and other Stakeholders, Journal of Applied Research on Children, volume 6, issue no. 1, article 4, 2015.

Rodriguez, Amanda, Walker and Hill, Rodney. Human Sex Trafficking, FBI L. Enforcement Bull, 80 (1), 2011.

Weitzer, Ronald. Sex Trafficking and the Sex Industry: The need for Evidence Base Theory and Legislation, J. Crim. L. & Criminology 101, 1337, 2011.