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24.09.2018

Sex Trafficking vs Sex Work: Understanding The Difference

What is Sex Trafficking?

Sex Trafficking is and always has been a long-standing global problem which is often confused with sex work. Accurate statistics for the number of people enslaved into the sex industry are almost impossible to accumulate because of the hidden nature of the crime.

 

Undeniably, Sex Trafficking or Sexual Exploitation is a human rights violation and it can happen to anyone, adult women, young girls, men and boys are all at risk. The distinctions might seem obvious, but they are often overlooked.

 

When a person willingly takes part in the sale of sex, it is consensual and doesn’t affect their human rights. This is called Sex Work.

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When a person takes part in the sale of sex through threat, abduction or other means of coercion this is called Sex Trafficking.

 

The differences can almost be invisible, so you may not recognise a trafficked victim. You may see a girl in the streets looking for “work” and assume she is a sex worker but, the reality could be far from that.

Spot The Signs

Remember, someone who offers sex work is not necessarily trafficked, but it’s really important to spot the people who are. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to Spot The Signs that a person is being trafficked.

  • Is the person closely guarded?
  • Are there any signs of physical abuse, such as cigarette burns, bruises or tattoos indicating ownership?
  • Is the person allowed to keep the money or do they have to give it to someone else?
  • Does the person sleep in the brothel where the sexual act is happening?
  • Are the conditions in the room or home poor and unsanitary?

Sex work is a sensitive issue but it is important that we understand the difference and are able to Spot The Signs of Sex Trafficking. If you suspect someone is being trafficked then you should report it straight away, this can be done anonymously if you are worried about your protection. Click here for local authority information.

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STOP THE TRAFFIK is building intelligence on global human trafficking activity to help combat this issue. If you have seen anything suspicious, you can share it on our online form, safely and securely.

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