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Ending Sex Trafficking One Brothel At A Time

Ending Sex Trafficking One Brothel At A Time

Tis the season to give thanks to those special people in our lives so in that vein today I’d like to give thanks to Nicholas Kristof.

I’ve been a huge fan of his writing for quite some time, especially his willingness to cover women’s and human rights issues in such depth. I was reminded of this recently when I came across his New York Times op-ed “Fighting Back, One Brothel Raid at a Time.”

Now I am thankful too for Somaly Mam, a woman who has dedicated her life to putting an end to forced prostitution. Sold herself as a young child, Somaly is now an anti-trafficking activist working to close brothels in Cambodia where girls as young as 12-years-old are raped and tortured every day.

Her work is heroic and dangerous. She has received death threats, had a gun held to her head, shots fired at her car, and worst of all, had her 14-year-old daughter kidnapped by traffickers who gang raped her with a video camera rolling. Her daughter was luckily recovered in a brothel and has now joined her mother’s crusade to save other young girls.

Both women are an inspiration, like Kristof who brings their stories to readers around the world. Kristof recently joined Somaly on a raid of a brothel in Cambodia where five girls and one young woman were rescued, the youngest a seventh grader trafficked from Vietnam. The girls were placed in a shelter run by Somaly to recover. The brothel manager is now expected to be prosecuted and the brothel will presumably be shut down.

Human Trafficking: A Global Crisis

Human trafficking is not an isolated problem. It happens in every country, rich or poor, around the world. In fact, it is the second largest, fastest growing organized crime in the world. Around the globe there are currently 27 million people working as modern day slaves.

Here’s another horrifying statistic. 1-2 million children will be sold into prostitution in the next 12 months. In Cambodia, where Mam works rescuing and rehabilitating survivors of human trafficking, at least 30,000 children are enslaved in the sex trade.

These are devastatingly high numbers – depressing really – but with women like Mam and her daughter I’m certain this is a problem that we will overcome little by little as small victories such as these add up.  

As Kristof said in his op-ed, “In the 19th century, the world conquered traditional slavery. And in this century, with leaders like Somaly, we can emancipate the victims of human trafficking.”

I certainly hope so.

What do you think? Is an end to human trafficking possible?

Related from Care2:

Ending Demand: Sex Trafficking in New York

Ashton Kutcher Launches Misguided Anti-Sex Trafficking Campaign

How Bad is Human Trafficking Around the World?

Photo credit: Photo by Augafel used under a Creative Commons license.

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141 comments

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9:46PM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

thanks for the story

3:53AM PDT on May 12, 2013

If you can put a cap on population expansion then you can eventually feed the world. In order to reduce or better yet eliminate sex trafficking you would have to elevate the economic standard from subsistence to minimal affluence. The 21st century is still trying to eradicate slavery - maybe globalization needs new priorities and methods...

4:56PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Thank you for article.

4:55PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Thank you for article.

4:55PM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Thank you for article.

6:18PM PDT on Jun 23, 2012

Sadly I think no, but that shouldn't stop us raiding brothels and jailing /fining owners - the rescued kids need somewhere to go though for education and jobs- v hard if their mothers , aunts and sisters are all earning a living from prostitution ...poverty makes people vulnerable victims - free birth control means less poverty that plus more education can give women more options ..

10:43PM PST on Feb 20, 2012

RAPE = MURDER

8:13AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

Sickening to think how many fall victim to this vile abuse: How could any parent sell their own child into prostitution?! Thank god for the good people working to overcome this appalling state of affairs.

7:59PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

I voted no.
Not in the foreseeable future. When it is so lucrative to the b#st#rds that do this to women and children. Especially the children.
Where there is human suffering, there are the monsters of Greed, Hatred and those who take advantage of it.
Good luck Somaly Mam.

5:56AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

Always when i hear about terrible things it makes me sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - bully, hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self... having one wish, not to wake up at the following day anymore...
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

I know that it is not good to wish someone who does terrible things something as a punishment. But when i hear about violent people then i think why are they so "afraid" to go to someone equal and get some hits for their selves. This is a perversion, to think being more a man when beating a woman or a girl. This men are a shame for all normal men.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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