Ending the Demand for Sex Tourism
With the issue of sex tourism, it is important to remember that it is like any other market where there are sellers, consumers, and products. The point where it deviates from your usual industry is the degradation of human bodies, minds and the extensive violation of human rights. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2012 the sex trafficking industry netted an estimated $32 billion, more than the entire GDP of many countries, and nearly 4.5 million adults and children are bought and sold into commercial sexual servitude and slavery. Of the victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, 96% of them were women and girls according to the 2016 UNODC TIP Report. When talking about the demand that drives sex trafficking, it is driven predominately by men who seek to purchase sex or sexual entertainment from individuals who have been subject to force, fraud or coercion or who are under the age of 18 years and are involved in commercial sex according to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
Most commonly, victims are promised a good job, education, or citizenship in a foreign country or offered a false marriage proposal that is turned into bondage. Many victims are sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, and significant others, whereas others are unwillingly and forcibly kidnapped by traffickers. The most common tactic of coercion used among victims is debt bondage, an illegal practice where the victim has to pledge personal services in order to repay some form of debt, such as transportation into a foreign country or living expenses. Sex traffickers may often approach families living in poverty and seek to purchase girls or young women with the promise of a better life in a richer nation or may approach women who are already engaged in prostitution to be transported overseas. Another tactic used is traumatic bonding, where the victim is instilled with deep-rooted fear coupled with gratitude for being allowed to live.
Sex tourists are individuals who travel to another country to buy commercial sex or exploit weak legal systems that ignore sexual abuse, especially of girls from poor and marginalized communities. We as humans often tie our morality to the legal norms of the country that we are in and ignore the fact that whether within a country or across a national border, it still violates basic human rights, including the rights to health, equality, dignity, security and freedom from violence and oppression.
One of the big issues associated with sex trafficking is gender discrimination and inequality that comes from laws that trap women in poverty and fail to protect them from violence, render them vulnerable to prostitution and trafficking. Holding accountable the buyers of commercial sex accountable reduces sex trafficking. Countries such as Sweden, Norway, Iceland, France, Canada, Northern Ireland, and Ireland have effectively addressed the demand for commercial sex and sex...