Evan Marshall


A Worldwide Crisis

Jun 29, 2018 by Evan Marshall , in Manhattan Mysteries
Human Trafficking—A Worldwide Crisis
Human Trafficking—A Worldwide Crisis
(Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department, CC copyright)
In City in Shadow, the fourth book in my Manhattan Mysteries series, women in Ukraine are lured into sexual imprisonment with promises of glamorous jobs in the United States.

What is sex slavery/trafficking? It’s the exploitation of women and children for the purposes of forced sex work such as pornography and prostitution. Much human trafficking is conducted by organized crime. Women and girls are lured in a number of ways. Some are offered legal, legitimate work in other countries as store assistants or waitresses. Others are promised marriage, education. Some are even sold into trafficking by people close to them, such as friends, boyfriends or even family members.

Helpless and Imprisoned

Victims of human trafficking often pass from one trafficker to another and from one country to another, each time moving farther from their countries of origin. Typically the woman’s visa, passport and other official papers are taken from her. She is told she is in the country illegally, which increases her dependence on the traffickers. Many victims are kept as prisoners, told they must work off large amounts of money the traffickers have had to lay out for them. Often they are warned that if they try to escape or get help, their families at home will be killed.

Sometimes trafficking victims are “broken in”—raped by the traffickers. Some are kept perpetually drugged to keep them from running away. Once a trafficking victim is “broken in,” she may be forced to service up to thirty men in a single day. She is exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy.

Extreme Emotional Stress

Victims of sexual trafficking suffer extreme emotional stress—fear, shame, distrust, thoughts of suicide. They often experience post-traumatic stress disorder with depression, insomnia and acute anxiety. Many of these women and girls resort to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain.

As awareness of this crisis grows around the world, governments are undertaking programs to stop it. As a result of increased understanding of how human trafficking works, women and girls who were once prosecuted as criminals are now seen as victims and treated accordingly.