Trafficking in Women for Sexual Exploitation in Canada: A Critical Qualitative Action Research

In: Sexuality, Oppression and Human Rights
Sandrine Ricci
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Trafficking women for commercial sexual exploitation is one the world’s fastest-growing area of criminal activity, and a phenomenon that generates colossal profits. Our research shows the extent to which trafficking for sexual exploitation is made invisible by a shroud of silence stemming from various factors, including the impenetrability and violence of the criminal underworld, ineffective laws, a general lack of resources for prevention and control, poorly equipped front-line community workers and the increasing trend to normalize the commodification of women’s bodies and sexuality. Whether or not trafficking is involved, the prostitution industry thrives by appropriating women who are viewed as merchandise – even perishable goods – given the turnover demanded by a market (customers) with an insatiable appetite for young bodies. The purpose of this chapter is to share some results of our qualitative research on sex trafficking. First, it exposes the various factors acknowledged as being directly connected with the growth of trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation to satisfy the rising demand for fresh ‘goods’ in the sex industry. Then, it presents our analysis of the life stories of women trafficked or exploited in different sectors of the sex industry within Canada, from luring and recruitment to exiting sexual slavery.

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