Young boyWhat is Trafficking?

“Trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, through abduction, the use or threat of force, deception, fraud or sale for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labour, servitude or slavery.”

(Definition based on the UN protocol to ʻPrevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children )


“Each year it is estimated that nearly one million people - mostly women and children are trafficked around the world.”

(Source: U.S State Department of Trafficking in Persons 2007 Report)


“Child Sex Workers are pushed or lured into the trade by a number of complex factors. While poverty is often the main factor cited, well organized crime rings, inadequate law enforcement and the breakdown in family and community support systems, compounded by the low status of girls, all converge to foster and support the sex trade.”

(The Asian Foundation Annual Report, 2006)

Human Trafficking

The women we work with in our workshops and trainings are predominately survivors of sex trafficking and slavery. Many come from a family background of poverty, broken homes, domestic violence, alcoholism, incest, physical and emotional abuse and very little or no education. Most of them have only one parent, some victims have no family at all. These victims are often coerced into sex slavery at a very young age, some as young as 9 or 10 years old. Others are sold into sex slavery by their parents, siblings, friends, husbands or strangers. Most of them believe they are being taken to an environment where they have prospects of getting a "good job" to help support their families. Instead they are sold as prostitutes to brothels, massage parlors or karaoke bars.


In the brothels, the victims are physically, emotionally and psychologically tortured and abused until someone rapes them and pays the "price" for their virginity. After being raped, many of them believe that they have bad karma, and the only way to redemption is to support their families financially through prostitution. There is a loss of self-esteem and deep trauma from constant psychological, emotional and physical abuse. Most of these children resign to a life of prostitution to which they see little escape from. As these children have little or no support from their families to escape the sexual slavery, they are forced to stay in prostitution.


Many prostituted children that have escaped the brothels face overwhelming difficulties reintegrating into their families and communities. They are ostracized and labeled for life as prostitutes. More often than not, once these children are in the sex trade they find it hard to break the cycle. For those young girls who are HIV - positive, the future is particularly grim. For these children and women, the choice to step out of prostitution takes immense strength and courage. In rehabilitation, they are given education and a safe place within a supportive community, however, they still struggle with the debilitating symptoms of psychological trauma. Some of these symptoms include: shame, disturbance in sexual desire and functioning, eating disorders, self harming behaviors such as self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, dissasociation, helplessness, low ambition, disturbance of memory, concentration and attention difficulties, powerlessness, self-blaming, low self-esteem, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and stress, and AIDS/HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.