LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Investigation finds TikTok exposes children to inappropriate material 

According to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, the video-sharing platform TikTok shows underage accounts thousands of videos depicting drugs, pornography and sexual content, and alcohol use, including over 100 videos promoting pornography subscription services and sex products. Investigators set up 31 fake TikTok accounts registered to users between the ages of 13 and 15 and studied their “For You” feeds, which consist of videos recommended to users by TikTok’s suggestion algorithm. The investigation took over several months. One particular account, registered to a 13-year-old, was shown at least 569 videos related to drug use, including meth and cocaine addiction. Another account was recommended videos depicting role-playing sexual content until 90% of the account’s feed consisted of videos related to bondage, sadomasochism, and other sexual practices.  127

TikTok responded admitting that they don’t separate content intended for adult users from content safe for children but were looking into technology that would filter out adult content for underage users. Apple was the subject of a similar investigation last month that found its App Store had few controls in place preventing minors from accessing adult hookup apps and apps with sexual content. An investigation released in June by the Human Trafficking Institute found that 59% of sex-trafficking victims were recruited through Facebook. More

USA – Nevada makes sexual exploitation ‘Dirty Dozen List’ again

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) announced that the State of Nevada is once again on its Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation.   The State, Nevada Legislature, and Governor were the defendants in a now dismissed lawsuit brought by a pair of women who were trafficked from Texas into Nevada’s illegal sex industry, the largest of any state. Nevada is a hub for sex trafficking. “Legalized brothels in Nevada have proven to be a failed experiment,” the 2021 Dirty Dozen list reads. Evidence shows that a legalized sex trade increases demand from sex buyers and therefore increases sex trafficking as exploiters try to satisfy the market. Survivors are exposing the ugly truth about life behind brothel doors. By legalizing brothels, Nevada is profiting from sexual exploitation and abuse—just like any other pimp.” More

South Africa – More than half of SA’s prostitute’s victims of rape, study finds

A study looked at the violence experienced by a sample pool of 3 000 female prostitutes in the country. The study found that 70% had experienced violence, while 57.9% had been raped. The study was conducted by the South African Medical Research Council and the Perinatal HIV Research Unit. The study followed a 2016 pilot in Soweto conducted among female prostitutes. It showed that prostitutes were extremely vulnerable to violence, mental health problems and, worryingly, signs of HIV drug resistance.” In the past year, 70.4% of female prostitutes experienced physical violence, and 57.9% were raped: by policemen (14.0%), clients (48.3%), other men (30.2%) and/or an intimate partner (31.9%),” the study found. It said: Sexual intimate partner violence was associated with food insecurity, entering prostitution as a child, childhood trauma exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drinking alcohol to cope with prostitution, working more days, partner controlling behaviour, having an ex-client partner, and having no current partner to protect from ex-partners.  Dr Jenny Coetzee, the principal investigator of the study, said it had put numbers to the high levels of violence experienced by prostitutes and that, because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there would likely be an increase in the number of people engaging in “survival-type” prostitution. “It is vital that prostitution programmes are properly resourced; so that they can help protect prostitutes from violence … There has been a lot of research showing what needs to be done to help prostitutes. Now we need committed resources to protect this vulnerable group of women,” Coetzee said. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Decriminalization and Legalization law Models for prostitution

Decriminalization and legalization of prostitution are unmitigated disasters in every country where these laws have passed. Local authorities in the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia, where pimping, sex buying, and brothel owning were legalized, struggle to contain the illegal sex trade and organized crime that thrives under this framework. Up to 90% of women and girls in brothels across Europe are undocumented foreign women from the poorest countries of Eastern Europe and the global south deemed to have been trafficked. Germany hosts country-wide, multi-storied chain brothels in which Johns are offered menus from which to choose sexual acts, some of which amount to torture. Since New Zealand passed its decriminalization law, street prostitution doubled in Auckland between 2006 and 2007. More

USA – Sex trafficking victims can sue Twitter

A federal judge in California has allowed a lawsuit against Twitter filed on behalf of two victims of child sexual abuse to move forward, having partly denied a motion by the social media platform to dismiss the complaint. In an order released Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Spero ruled that the two victims in the case “have stated a claim for civil liability under the” Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. “This lawsuit seeks to shine a light on how Twitter has enabled and profited from [child sexual abuse material] on its platform, choosing profits over people, money over the safety of children, and wealth at the expense of human freedom and human dignity,” stated the lawsuit. More

USA – DHS Insider Blows Whistle

A Department of Homeland Security insider has come forward to Project Veritas to blow the whistle on how international cartels exploit U.S. immigration loopholes to carry out massive child sex trafficking operations. The whistle-blower sat down with Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe to lay out how exactly these criminal networks get around immigration law. “It’s almost like they are coached, ‘Hey if you get caught, just go ahead and say this.’” The whistle-blower said most transnational gangs are involved in child sex trafficking because it’s a lucrative black market industry. “This to me is a bigger problem than terrorism is right now” …Every single one of these Transnational Criminal Organizations are involved in sex trafficking,” he said. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

Germany – Registered sex workers drop sharply in pandemic

The number of people registered as sex workers with German authorities declined sharply last year as coronavirus restrictions shut brothels for months. Legislation in 2002 legalized and regulated prostitution in Germany, giving sex workers social benefits, and they are now obliged to register. But brothels have been closed for much of the time since the covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 as part of wider lockdowns.  At the end of last year, 24,940 prostitutes were officially registered with authorities, the Federal Statistical Office said. That was down from some 40,400 a year earlier — a 38% drop. This is the reality if you want to legalize prostitution. We learn from countries who tried it, it does not work. More

Germany – Brothel converted into test centre

Prostitutes in Germany were trained up to become Covid testers after their brothel closed down due to lockdown restrictions and then subsequently turned into a test center. Brothels closed down and the sale of sex has been banned across Germany due to the coronavirus, which has forced many prostitutes into poverty and danger. Some prostitutes have admitted that they have had no choice but to flout the restrictions. Regarding the free-of-charge examinations, they said; ‘We want to make a contribution to the fight against the pandemic and to do something good for the people.’ Doctors For Life International is impressed with news like this. More

USA – Detective finds evidence of sex trafficking on OnlyFans

A Detective from Texas, one of the country’s most elite human trafficking investigators, shared with viewers how OnlyFans shows evidence of sex trafficking activity. He has participated in arresting over 460 sex buyers, 149 individuals for human trafficking and related offenses, which led to the identification of 260 trafficking victims.   During the pandemic, OnlyFans has seen exponential growth. Last year, it claimed to have more than 30 million registered users and more than 450,000 creators. Palmbach said some of the ways to stop the potential threat of OnlyFans is through banking, financing, working with law enforcement by reporting things that are witnessed and searching for potential dangers in other social media platforms. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

World – Epilogue on the Archives of Criminology

Human trafficking is yet another type of crime whose meaning and expression are both relative and evolutive.  Palermo Protocol is where the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) advocate three main approaches: prosecution, protection and prevention strategies.  Canada and the US have a fourth P which stands for partnership to build capacity at local, regional and national levels for combating human trafficking.  Despite an increasing push towards the protection of victims, the literature on the subject shows an ongoing disproportionate emphasis on the offender’s prosecution.  Finally, prevention has been touted as a more effective and efficient response than prosecution.  Without participation, the response to human trafficking will not be evolutive. More

South Africa – Cops nabbed after sex trafficking victim ‘raped repeatedly’

The Hawks have arrested two senior members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) for their alleged role in a sex trafficking operation in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg. According to the elite crime-busting unit, the two suspects were regulars at an unidentified brothel where a missing woman was being held hostage and used as a sex slave. Instead of abiding by their oath and coming to her rescue, the officers – a brigadier and captain, forced themselves on the woman, raping her on multiple occasions and paying money to the brothel owner. The DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] is committed to tackling this scourge in collaboration with our partners in government and civil society. Instead of decriminalizing prostitution, the focus should be aimed at dealing with corrupt officials like these. More

UK – COVID shuts down UK red light district

When the Covid pandemic hit the number of sex workers plummeted by 50% and caused the UK’s first red light district to shut down. The Holbeck Managed Approach scheme launched in 2014 and was the only place in the country where on-street sex work was legal. This initiative hoped to make is safer for the women but locals objected because the sexual activity invaded their streets. The scheme officially closed last year following the emergency measures introduced by the Safer Leeds Partnership as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Recommendations that ban kerb crawling and punters on foot have also been adopted. Men preying on vulnerable women in street prostitution are no longer welcome or tolerated in Holbeck. More

Mozambique – Prison wardens force inmates into prostitution

The Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) reported recently how guards at the Ndlavela Women’s Prison in Maputo are sexually exploiting inmates by selling the women to clients for money, which the wardens then pocket for themselves. Those who complied were offered special treatment in jail, but those who did not were “tortured,” the CIP said. The sexual exploitation has been going for more than a decade. Justice Minister Helena Kida visited the prison and ordered an urgent government inquiry, the findings of which are expected soon. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

Malaysia – Sex work is not work, it’s oppression

Dr Madeline Berma described the multi-billion-dollar sexual exploitation industry as a deception that was built upon the backs of the bodies of real women and girls who have been raped, assaulted, trafficked and murdered. Even the term ‘sex worker’ has been created and popularized to lend some sort of ‘dignity’ to prostitution and other forms of sex work including that of pornography. Sex work is not work like ‘any other job. Escaped prostitutes’ testimonies testify to that. Many women are driven by poverty, criminally trapped or even trafficked into it. They are often unable to exit. Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist who has worked in this field for 25 years, reports in the Journal of Trauma Practice that 70 per cent of prostituted women had a history of childhood abuse which led to their entry into prostitution.

We reiterate that all forms of ‘sex work’ ranging from prostitution to pornography and everything in between need to be abolished, and clients who patron them need to be severely punished as a form of prevention. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – Seven things everyone should know about Human Trafficking

Number one the problem is enormous. Victims are estimated 24.9 million.  Human Trafficking is not about movement.  The essence of Human Trafficking is coercion. Traffickers are motivated by money.  Anyone can be a trafficking victim.  Traffickers vary their tactics.  We need to put traffickers in jail not their victims.  There is hope traffickers can be stopped. The world is not powerless to stop traffickers. Using vetted specialized investigative units that receive peer-to-peer training from embedded experts, traffickers can be identified, arrested, prosecuted, and jailed.  This frees victims to recover without fear that their trafficker will return.  Caring for survivors without stopping traffickers only ensures that the trafficker will continue to create more victims who will need survivor care. Full Factsheet

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

USA – COVID-19 Impact Exposes Millions To The Risk Of Trafficking

Although almost 50,000 victims of human trafficking were detected and reported in 2018 by 148 countries, the “hidden nature” of the crime means that the actual number of victims could be “far higher”, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said. Migrants and people without jobs were among the groups most targeted by human traffickers. “We need targeted action to stop criminal traffickers from taking advantage of the pandemic to exploit the vulnerable”. Traffickers integrate technology into their modus operandi at every stage of the process: from recruiting to exploiting victims. They saw their victims as “commodities” without regard for human dignity and rights, noting that they would “sell” fellow human beings for a price ranging from tens of dollars to tens of thousands, with large criminal organizations making the highest incomes. More

Canada – Helping women transition out of sex work

A new study called “Helping women transition out of sex work: study protocol of a mixed-methods process and outcome evaluation of a sex work exiting program” found that for women who want to, exiting sex work can be complicated by multi-traumatic symptoms and challenges related to addictions, physical and mental health problems, legal matters, housing issues, and lack of employment skills. The study focusses on evaluating the effectiveness of various exit programs in order to see if objectives are being met. Dalla (2006) identified economic instability, mental health challenges, and existing relationships with significant others as barriers to women’s successful exit out of prostitution. It also recognizes that exiting prostitution is not a straight forward process and that some women relapse a few times before they leave for good. Exit programs are there for women who desire to exit and not to force those who aren’t ready. Programs that help women exit need to address the key challenges such as housing, mental health, health and wellness, employment/vocational training/education, community and life skills, or friends and family. One such program called Exit Doors Here in Canada exists and has serves around 20-30 women a year. Study

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

Israel – Men who buy sex will attend workshops to learn how this harms them and women

Instead of fining first-time offenders caught soliciting prostitutes, Israel’s Labour, Social Affairs, and Social Services Ministry will begin rehabilitation workshops which focus on the inherent harm that comes with prostitution for both the prostitutes and the buyers of sex. Designated apartments have been set aside for women survivors of prostitution and their children to help them start new lives. Currently there are 13 centers for teenage and young prostitute survivors and 3 centers for older women. This program includes financial aid, a therapeutic program that prepares them for integration in employment and an educational program to help women develop academic and employment skills.

A survey found that, on average, 26,500 transactions for prostitution are made each day, and that a woman prostitute has to meet with an average of five and a half customers per day. Another finding was that 62 percent of women working as prostitutes in Israel are mothers. Many of the women expressed a desire to get out of prostitution; more than 76 percent said they would leave prostitution if they could and 71 percent said they remained prostitutes due to financial troubles. Since 2010, at least 104 women prostitutes have died, at the average age of 40. More

USA – The rise of sugar dating in Ottawa

University students are exploring the complicated world of trading time and affection for money and presents. Cate Newman talked to one student about her dates with older men, and local experts who claim sugar dating is on the rise. One girl nick-named Jess, said after trying it out that although it seemed fun to try out at first, she wouldn’t do it again. She’s not well off and recognizes the exploitation side of sugar dating. Ottawa is the 10th most lucrative city in North America for sugar dating. Carleton University has the fifth fastest growing sugar baby population of all Canadian universities with 414 students registered, while the University of Ottawa is ranked 10th with 390. 

According to personal reports of former sugar babies and the tragedy of deaths, the world of “sugar dating” is a candy-coated version of prostitution. While the exchange of sex for money is not explicitly stated, the expectation is clear. Wealthy, older men (and sometimes women) offer to “spoil” younger women (or sometimes men) with gifts, money, and trips, in exchange for their time and attention. This transactional dating is glamorized on the numerous sites that promote the practice. Photos of beautiful young women on the arms of handsome, silver foxes paint a sexy, enticing picture. But the reality is often far different. And far darker. The dangers are real especially since anonymity plays a role, this can often involve married older men, the possibility can also be that there is a con man or a psychopath. These situations describe the inherent dangers of prostitution as well and although numerous media articles seek to argue that there is a ‘clear difference’ between sugar dating and prostitution, there really is not. Article 1, Article 2.

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

South Africa – The inherent dangers associated with prostitution are enough reason to keep it illegal

After the gruesome murder of 23-year-old Jessica Weyers, the issue of prostitution has been brought back into the spotlight. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, founder and Deputy Chairperson of Embrace Dignity stands for total abolition of prostitution in South Africa because they believe that objectification, exploitation and oppression are inherent in the sex trade. They help women exit the lifestyle and have said that COVID-19 and unemployment put women at greater risk to be sex trafficked. Embrace Dignity is also a member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, which draws links between human trafficking and sex work. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2018 global report on human trafficking found that adult women and young girls account for 72% of trafficked persons across the world. More

Netherlands – Mask-wearing law contradicts legalized prostitution

The Netherlands have joined the rest of Europe to make wearing face masks indoors in public places compulsory – Citizens who rebel will be fined 95 euros. Prostitutes, on the other hand, are free to go with their clients and are allowed to remove their masks. Never mind that this contradicts the very goal of maintaining the spread of the virus since one sex worker will see around ten different clients a day. These rendezvous often include consuming drugs and alcohol – a recipe for disaster – if you’re serious about containing the spread of covid-19. More

LIFEalerts – Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation

USA – Traumatic Brain Injury in prostituted women

In a 2010 study by Menon et al, Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an “alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.” Violence is pervasive in prostitution and can cause TBI. The study showed that among 66 women and transwomen in prostitution, 95% had sustained head injuries, either by being hit in the head with objects and /or having their heads slammed into objects. The women described acute and chronic symptoms such as dizziness, depressed mood, headache, sleep difficulty, poor concentration, memory problems, difficulty following directions, low frustration tolerance, fatigue and appetite and weight changes. Screening for TBI is crucial to the care of prostituted women. more

South Africa – The truth about human trafficking in South Africa

Whereas most crimes are generally reported to the police, trafficking is not, mainly because victims fear retaliation. Professor Beatri Kruger is a research fellow in the Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State and her research spans a decade. She sees more cases are coming to the forefront. For the past five years, the annual US Trafficking in Persons Reports has classified South Africa as a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking. According to police statistics, 2 132 cases were reported to the SAPS from 2015 to 2017. Also the reality is confirmed by an increasing number of trafficking convictions.  If you need information or help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 0800 222 777. more

UK – Headteacher fears for students’ safety in Leeds prostitution zone

A headteacher in Leeds has called for the scrapping of England’s only legal ‘red-light district’ because students have been approached for sex and he fears for their safety. A draft report from 227 pupils and residents have documented concerns about safety and fear of abduction while witnessing prostitutes doing business that have also brought drug dealers to the scene. A survey of 45 local parents by Voice of Holbeck found 53% did not feel safe themselves and 69% did not feel safe for their children. more

South Africa – A study that child trafficking definitely exists in our country.

A peer-reviewed academic paper published in a South African Journal called Child Abuse Research responds to claims made by SWEAT (Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce) and other interest groups. The author of the academic paper is Marcel van der Watt from the Department of Police Practice in the University of South Africa. SWEAT has claimed, among other things, that deception and force used in recruiting persons into prostitution is uncommon, they deny that many child prostitutes exist, and call it a myth to believe that the sex industry is dominated by organised criminal groups, and they also deny that Sex workers are typically controlled through drugs and addiction. However, Marcel’s research lays out numerous studies and statements from SAPS and other experts that brings SWEATs research and statements into question.

While SWEAT convinces the general public and other groups that “there’s nothing to see here” and legalizing prostitution would somehow be a good thing for South Africa (SA), many victims of trafficking stuck in a cycle of forced prostitution are at risk of never being rescued. Why would SA seek to rescue victims of trafficking if they are told there’s no such thing and that all women in prostitution are there because they want to be there? If SWEATs research is swallowed, then criminal activity is free to flourish unhindered. What woman would willingly choose to put herself at risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections with no prospect of retiring or being promoted (assuming prostitution was a real job)? What message would legalised prostitution send to our youth? Would it even let the youth in on everything they can expect from such a ‘profession’?  The fact is, “Over the past 30 years, however, the constellation of successfully prosecuted child trafficking cases, investigative reporting and documentaries, media reports, academic publications, masters and doctoral research, and a number of research reports has suggested, quite convincingly, that child trafficking and children in the sex trade is an indisputable and systemic reality in South Africa.” Read more

South Africa – Beware of human trafficking

Captain Linzi Smith urges young girls and boys to seek advice and do proper research before accepting any offers that seem too good to be true.  In keeping with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Hillcrest SAPS communications officer, Capt. Linzi Smith has once again warned the public to not become victims. “The community, students, learners and parents should be aware of the dangers of trusting strangers who offer them lifts; offer them fast paying jobs or free scholarships. People need to guard themselves and know that if it seems too good to be true, it’s because most often they are,” said Smith.  She encouraged the community to work hand in hand with police in combating the increase in this crime. Read more