Sex Trafficking: A Plea for Action

Posted: 2 Feb 2005


This paper addresses the issue of sex trafficking in women and children. It examines the public health ills of trafficking and the human rights violations. It looks in detail at Russian and Ukrainian trafficked women and examines prostitution as violence against women. It assesses the limited actions taken by the United States against trafficking and the lack of a basic rule of law. It asserts that being trafficked is not voluntary but is a desperate act.

Findings include:

-trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation is an increasing type of international crime generating huge profits with low risk for traffickers

-trafficking of women is symptomatic of the change in global relationships and the contraction of economies and hyperinflation

-women are particularly affected by loss of jobs and are lured by false promises and misled by incorrect information, hoping for work and a better life

-basic human rights of trafficked women are violated

-women are exploited in the labour force legally or illegally, forced to work as prostitutes and in slave-like conditions

Recommendations include:

-the United Nations should take a role to promote a global legal framework to curb the power and influence of corrupt governments, multinational corporations and powerful interest groups who may be involved in the trafficking of women

-strategies aimed at trafficking should focus on the criminal nature of this activity and those involved in this conduct, rather than on the activity of the victims of trafficking, whose human rights should be assured

Keywords: international crime, sex trafficking, violence against women, human rights, public health, russian women, ukrainian women, global legal framework, networks, globalization

JEL Classification: K14, J69, K33, K42, K49, K39

Suggested Citation

von Struensee, Susan, Sex Trafficking: A Plea for Action. Available at SSRN:

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