Session II: Sex Trafficking

Spring 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014 to Friday, April 18, 2014

"The human person must never be sold and bought as merchandise. Whoever uses and exploits the person, even indirectly, makes himself an accomplice of this abuse." – Pope Francis, Address to Ambassadors on the Subject of Human Trafficking, Vatican City, December 13, 2013

For a more encompassing and updated view on this topic, see our Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 FLC Course on Human Trafficking, specifically Module 4: Complexities of Sex Trafficking.

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"The human person must never be sold and bought as merchandise. Whoever uses and exploits the person, even indirectly, makes himself an accomplice of this abuse." – Pope Francis, Address to Ambassadors on the Subject of Human Trafficking, Vatican City, December 13, 2013


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Course materials

Module Materials

Learning Objectives

Better understand the scope and realities of human trafficking related to sexual exploitation. Learn about successful strategies for intervention and prevention by civil society, business, and governments

Learn about successful strategies for intervention and prevention by civil society, business, and governments

Better understand our role as American citizens and consumers in eliminating human trafficking around the globe

Primary Resources

Nature of the Problem

- “International Aspects of Human Trafficking,” by Mary DeLorey, Strategic Advisor, CRS. This five-page essay is an excellent introduction to human trafficking. Expert Mary Delorey discusses the core elements of the Palermo Protocol’s definition of human trafficking and outlines the causal factors that put people at risk of being trafficked. 

- “Modern-day Slavery: An Explainer,” by Annie Kelly, The Guardian (UK). Webpage with key definitions; see section III below for international legal frameworks and defintions.

“Slavery 101” (12:22 video). General introduction to modern-day slavery by Free the Slaves. Video includes cases from around the world and strategies for eradicating slavery. 


Case Study India

- “Helping Survivors of India’s Sex Slave Trade,” by CRS’ Laura Sheahen. Discusses CRS partner, Prajwala. Based in Hyderabad, Prajwala’s work involves prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration, as well as advocacy and research to promote new policies on trafficking in India. [For more information, see the mission, vision, and programs in Prajwala’s 2012-23 Annual Report. If video on this type of work is helpful, see also “America Ferrera on India’s Sex Trade,” 3:39 video by Half the Sky.] 

- “From Indian Red-Light District to Green Thumb,” by CRS’ Jennifer Hardy. Discusses CRS partner, Prerana. Based in Mumbai, Prerana provides support and education to rescued girls, trains local organizations on best practices in preventing trafficking and helping those rescued from traffickers, and advocates for legislation and enforcement to protect girls from trafficking. [For more information, use the following links to learn more about Prerana’s mission (see 1:56 video “Prerana”) and model.] 

- NOTE: Sensitive Content.  In A fight against sex slavery Sunitha Krishnan discusses her efforts to rescue sex trafficking survivors in India and the urgent need to accept these survivors into our communities as part of the rehabilitation process. 12:35 minutes.  Delivered November 2009.  Note: Catholic Relief Services was the first international NGO to support Sunitha Krishnan’s work and continues to do so.



- USCCB Committee on Migration Resource, “On Human Trafficking.” Two-page brief discusses Catholic social teaching regarding trafficking, gives a call to action, and recommends responses in the US context -- such as promotion of immigration reform to reduce vulnerability of migrant populations.


What Is Being Done and What You Can Do  

-  “Slavery and Commodity Chains: Fighting the Globalization of Indifference,”  by Vincent J. Miller, America, blogpost January 2, 2014.  Dr. Vince Miller is Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton and was a participant in a 2013 trip to Brazil to work with CRS and its partners on the issue of slave labor. While focused largely on supply chains and slave labor, this essay can be used to help students reflect on our indifference to contemporary slavery. 

-  ExploreTurn on the Light. Help Stop Human Trafficking," Catholic Relief Services' portal on human trafficking 

Secondary Resources

- "The Male Face of Sexual Slavery" discusses sex trafficking of male victims, specifically in the pornography industry in East Africa.  Author: Laura Secorun Palet. Source: OZY. Published: February 17, 2016.

- Country Study: India from the 2018 report, The Global Slavery Index  

- Apostolic Nuncio Statement to the UN High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, May 2013 

- Page 41 of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto outlines the Key Legal Framework. Page 42 gives the following definition of trafficking: “’Trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;” 

For further context on the Convention and its protocol on trafficking see United Nation's Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. For information on implementation see International Framework for Action to Implement the Trafficking in Persons Protocol

- Key Legal Framework International Labour Organization Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour, No. 29 (1930). Ratified by 173 countries, including Brazil in 1957, the member States of the ILO define forced labor as: “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” 

And the International Labour Organization’s Convention Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labor 1957 (Article 1) states: “Each Member of the International Labour Organisation which ratifies this Convention undertakes to suppress and not to make use of any form of forced or compulsory labour-- (a) as a means of political coercion or education or as a punishment for holding or expressing political views or views ideologically opposed to the established political, social or economic system; (b) as a method of mobilising and using labour for purposes of economic development; (c) as a means of labour discipline; (d) as a punishment for having participated in strikes; (e) as a means of racial, social, national or religious discrimination.”

For context on the International Labour Organization see International Labor Organization's Forced Labor Program  (Note ILO campaign “End Slavery Now!” featuring actors and artists)

- Key Legal Framework: US Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Traffickking in Persons (JTIP)  states ““Trafficking in persons” and “human trafficking” have been used as umbrella terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-386), as amended, and the Palermo Protocol describe this compelled service using a number of different terms, including involuntary servitude, slavery or practices similar to slavery, debt bondage, and forced labor. Human trafficking can include but does not require movement. People may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were born into a state of servitude, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked. At the heart of this phenomenon is the traffickers’ goal of exploiting and enslaving their victims and the myriad coercive and deceptive practices they use to do so.” (See the 24-page United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Annual Report 2017 for definitions of sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, and unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers.)  

For more on the U.S. international efforts and a wealth of resources see including the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report June 2018

If You Want to Know More

ATEST – Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking.  The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a coalition of U.S.-based human rights organizations working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking in the United States and around the world. ATEST advocates for lasting solutions to prevent labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims, and empower survivors with tools for recovery.

International Framework for Action to Implement the Trafficking in Persons Protocol (2010). The International Framework for Action is a technical assistance tool that supports United Nations Member States in the effective implementation of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The Framework is the result of broad participation between anti-trafficking partners including Anti-Slavery International, Council of Europe, ECPAT, IOM, ILO, LEFOE-IBF, OAS, OSCE, Terre des omes, Johns Hopkins University, UNDAW/DESA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNHCR, UNICRI, OHCHR and UNODC.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. See the curriculum “Breaking the Chains of Modern Slavery”  

UNODC Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

International Organization for Migration’s Counter Trafficking Section– The IOM’s initiatives to fight against trafficking prevention, technical cooperation, direct assistance, and research.  

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