It is reported that two-thirds of the world's enslaved population are in the Asian-Pacific region. Men, women and children are subjected to all forms of modern slavery including forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging, commercial sexual exploitation and child soldiers. The high prevalence of modern slavery in the region reflects the reality that many countries in Asia provide low-skilled labour for the production stage of global supply chains. Anna had just left school and was looking for a job when her aunt’s next door neighbour promised her a well-paid job as a waitress overseas. She was told that her airfare would be paid for, however after being taken to where she would be staying, she was told that she owed $50,000 and must work as a prostitute to pay it off.
There are an estimated 403,000 people living in modern slavery in the United States (GSI 2018). Sex trafficking exists throughout the country. Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary, many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces them into prostitution. Others are lured with false promises of a job, and some are forced to sell sex by members of their own families. Victims of sex trafficking include both foreign nationals and US citizens, with women making up the majority of those trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2015, the most reported venues/industries for sex trafficking included commercial-front brothels, hotel/motel-based trafficking, online advertisements with unknown locations, residential brothels, and street-based sex trafficking. Susan was 16 years old when she was forced into prostitution by her boyfriend whom she thought she would be with forever. She talks here about the need for greater education on commercial sexual exploitation in schools and in the prison system to prevent trafficking of young girls. She also talks about ways to support women after their trafficking experience, highlighting the need for employment, housing and counselling.