Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world’s most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, which must be grown, harvested, refined, and packaged, sex slaves require no such “processing,” and can be repeatedly “consumed.”

Kara first encountered the horrors of slavery in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995. Subsequently, in the first journey of its kind, he traveled across four continents to investigate these crimes and take stock of their devastating human toll. Kara made several trips to India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Moldova, Mexico, and the United States. He witnessed firsthand the sale of human beings into slavery, interviewed over four hundred slaves, and confronted some of those who trafficked and exploited them.

In this book, Kara provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He draws on his background in finance, economics, and law to provide the first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on its most profitable and barbaric form: sex trafficking. Kara describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern slavery over the past two decades and quantifies, for the first time, the size, growth, and profitability of each industry. Finally, he identifies the sectors of the sex trafficking industry that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and recommends the specific legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target these vulnerable sectors and help to abolish this form of slavery, once and for all.

The author will donate a portion of the proceeds of this book to the anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves.

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3 Comments so far »

  1. Ramachander Gollamudi said,

    Wrote on March 21, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

    37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A shocking and informative treatise, November 27, 2008
    By 

    As a retired academic, I mostly read history and philosophy in my spare time. Upon a friend’s suggestion, I have recently read Mr. Siddharth Kara’s treatise “sex-trafficking inside the business of modern slavery.” It constitutes a first-hand account of a little-noticed business of human bondage and pathos. The author exposed himself to personal danger in attempting interviews with scores of victims spanning the whole range of demographics.

    This book deals with three aspects of this world-wide business: the exploitative traffickers, the wrenching servitude of the victims, and the economics of the trade.

    The author presents convincing quantitative information to provide a rationale as to why the trafficking business is quite attractive to the brute; while it is useful for lawmakers and NGOs, the narrative is shocking to the public. The sheer volume of this sort of “slavery” is astounding, and the subhuman conditions these victims are forced to live in, is repelling. Reading through some of the situations was nauseating to say the least. In today’s affluent world, it is abhorring that spots of utter poverty exist but go unnoticed. More repulsive and dehumanizing is the fact that, on occasion, a father is manipulated into selling his daughter into this servitude.

    While contemporary society holds woman as equal to man, and given that Indian thought in particular considers woman as divine, the destitution of these exploited women renders this practice beyond the pale of repugnance. The enablers look like demons, incapable of the remotest human sensibilities; that they manage to go under radar is astounding.

    In his rendition, Mr. Kara strikes the right balance between narrative and numbers; there is enough of the latter to portray a clear picture to the common reader and sufficient detail to enable the statistician to derive probabilities and significance. Mr. Kara is to be commended for this brave venture driven by his idealism.

    Ram Gollamudi

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  2. William N. Reale said,

    Wrote on March 21, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

    18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Eye Opening, July 17, 2009
    By 

    This book has changed the way I look at the world. I had minimal knowledge of human sex trafficking prior to reading. To say it is a page turner sounds callous; however the personal vignettes tied with the history and financial analysis kept me wanting to know more. The author’s passion for this cause is apparent through his heartfelt writing. Further, I don’t know many people (myself included) who would stare down the devil and go into the precarious situations Mr. Kara has to collect his powerful research.

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  3. SarahAlb "SarahAlb" said,

    Wrote on March 21, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

    36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Albania chapter weak and misleading, June 26, 2009
    By 

    I do not presume to offer an assessment of the entire book, since my expertise for the past six years is specifically in counter-trafficking in Albania. I was interviewed by the author when he came through the country several years ago.

    Trafficking of women and children is a reality in Albania. But there is little evidence that application of the traditional code called the Kanun is a driving cause. The chapter begins with “sworn virgins”, and implies that this is evidence of gender bias that creates vulnerability of females in the rural north. The number of women who have assumed this identity has always been small. But it can be argued that those who do so are likely to be less vulnerable than other women because they assume the status of “honorary man” – able to own property and able to conduct business. Thus, they are able to become more active agents of their own economic destiny, and may be less driven to make dangerous choices that would enable a trafficker to lure them into exploitation.

    Blood feuds are also a reality in this country. While those who’s lives are devastated by the consequence of this application of traditional “law”, they are also a minority – and not demonstrably more vulnerable to human trafficking than the rest of the country. This connection is promoted as an understandable, but sensationalizing, publicity technique by some activist organizations in the country to try to draw attention to their important purpose – trying to resolve existing blood feuds, decreasing the likelihood of new feuds, and finding viable solutions for those lives are torn asunder by these feuds. Their work is important and too be respected. But it is not central to combating human trafficking.

    And the larger question lingers – how does the business of human trafficking function in this country? Little will really be known about this until investigation and prosecution of traffickers is more seriously pursued, and researchers conduct extensive interviews with those convicted of the crimes. We need information from the business people themselves, to fill in the information gaps in the data known through the experiences of the victims of these criminals.

    Data extracted from over 100 cases of adolescent and adult females of trafficking assisted in NGO shelters Albania between August 2007 and July 2008 reveal that 1) these victims were generally recruited from their communities of origin; 2) they were entrapped primarily by men offering false romantic relationships; 3) they came from the moderately distressed, more urban, regions of the country; and 4) they are over 90% from the Albanian majority population.

    Mr. Kara’s small chapter on Albania offers an interesting travelogue, but it does not provide substantive information about the business of human trafficking in this country. I hope that this is an anomaly in an otherwise better researched publication. Perhaps other practitioners in “the field” will comment about the chapters on the countries where they work.

    Those who are interested in more in depth and up-to-date information about human trafficking in Albania are encouraged to visit these websites:

    On child trafficking:

    All Together Against Child Trafficking (BKTF)
    [...]

    Terre des hommes Albania
    [...]

    on human trafficking, especially adolescent and adult females:

    The Albanian Initiative: Coordinated Action Against Human Trafficking
    [...]

    Videos about the work of 7 NGOs in Albania preventing human trafficking and assisting its victims (including the Vatra Center in Vlora mentioned in Mr. Kara’s book):
    [...]

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