Over 800,000 women and children are transported as slaves annually with half of the trade being children. 65% are trafficked for the purpose of commercial sex and these numbers do not include the millions trafficked within country borders. This is a $32 billion business which attracts organized crime. Sex traffickers usually receive very light sentences and go on to do it repeatedly. Women are beaten and buried alive with only their faces sticking out. They become addicted to heroin, degradation and are raped several times a day. Most come from poverty and dysfunctional families. They often attempt suicide.
The three speakers at the workshop spoke about the power of the media, telanovelas (Spanish soap operas) and newspapers. Simon Monasebian read an article about a young girl trafficked to Ghana. This article so disturbed her that she went to Ghana and fought to have the young girl released. She urged the audience to find ways to use the media to create positive change in the world. Eleanor Kennelly Gaetan focused on steps that President Bush had taken to combat human trafficking. She hoped that NGOs would take action as societies cannot eliminate Human Trafficking without getting rid of legalized prostitution. It’s all about control of women by corrupt men. Taina bien-Aime, Executive Director, Equality Now, spoke of the efforts of her organization to promote the rights of women and girls and to combat human trafficking. Her organization has worked diligently to close down American tour operators who sponsor trips to Asia for Oriental sexual tourism. Equality Now has tried to address not only the supply side of human trafficking but the demand side as well.