The sex trade

Prostitution, human trafficking and pornography are three interlinked social phenomena that each form a part of the sex trade. They are all different faces of the same industry, characterized by extreme vulnerability, trauma, violence and profits. Below, we have gathered facts that we hope will provide some helpful insights about the sex trade.

Prostitution

”I was not challenging the negative self-image I had been raised with and had carried with me all my life. Of course it caused me much suffering in the longer term, but at that time, in a sense, it was easier to accept that it would not be possible for me to assimilate into society than to set about the very frightening task of accepting my own potential.” - Rachel Moran, Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution

The word "prostitute" is derived from the latin word prōstituere, which means to be ‘exposed publicly, offered for sale.’ This implies that someone is set on display to the public eye, like an object in a shop window, with the purpose of being examined and sold to whoever is prepared to pay the price. The word quite accurately describes what those in prostitution face. And in prostitution, it is not just one’s body that is for sale—it is the person’s entire self.

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Human trafficking for sexual purposes

“I’ve been held down like a piece of meat while monsters disguised as men violated me again & again.” - Gladys Lawson, Blood Borne Connections

Typically, when we hear the word ”slave”, we think of the transatlantic trade that was abolished 200 years ago. However, there are actually more people enslaved today in so-called ”modern day slavery.” Human trafficking is defined as a situation where several perpetrators cooperate, usually across countries, to recruit victims who are transported from one place to the next to be abused, most often through prostitution.

Human trafficking for sexual purposes is driven by the demand. The demand to buy access to another person’s body, and do what one pleases with that body, is the reason why this horrific reality exists. Human trafficking is the fastest growing type of organized crime, and the most profitable alongside weapons and drugs.

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Pornography

"Everyone that watches "Deep Throat" is watching me being raped" - Linda Lovelace, survivor of pornography

People often differentiate pornography from prostitution; one occurs on film and the other in what we call the “real world”. Yet pornography is just another form of prostitution: “one or more people who perform sexual acts for compensation”. Indeed, pornography and prostitution are not two distinct worlds, as many porn websites earn profits through “live video chats” and ads for escort pages where women are bought and sold. Research shows that women used in pornography come from the same background factors as women in prostitution.

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