“Trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, through abduction, the use or threat of force, deception, fraud or sale for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labour, servitude or slavery.”

(Definition based on the UN protocol to ʻPrevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children )

Sex Trafficking, Slavery and Exploitation

  • Common backgrounds of poverty, broken homes, domestic violence, alcoholism, incest, physical and emotional abuse and very little or no education.

  • Coerced into sex slavery at a very young age, some as young as 9 or 10 years old.

  • Sold into sex slavery by their parents, siblings, friends, husbands or strangers.

  • Physically, emotionally and psychologically tortured and abused

  • Loss of self-esteem and deep trauma

  • Constant psychological, emotional and physical abuse

  • Forced to stay in prostitution.

  • Ostracized and labeled for life as prostitutes

  • Once these children are in the sex trade they find it hard to break the cycle

  • Young girls who are HIV – positive, the future is particularly grim

  • The choice to step out of prostitution takes immense strength and courage.

    Some of the symptoms of psychological trauma include:

  • Shame, disturbance in sexual desire and functioning, eating disorders, self harming behaviors such as self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, dissasociation, helplessness, low ambition, disturbance of memory, concentration and attention difficulties, powerlessness, self-blaming, low self-esteem, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and stress, and AIDS/HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


“Child Sex Workers are pushed or lured into the trade by a number of complex factors. While poverty is often the main factor cited, well organized crime rings, inadequate law enforcement and the breakdown in family and community support systems, compounded by the low status of girls, all converge to foster and support the sex trade.”

(The Asian Foundation Annual Report, 2006)