Presentation Title: Unrelenting Trauma: Sexually Exploited Women and Girls

Abstract: Violence against women is a global human rights epidemic. This presentation will examine one particular form of violence against women and girls: human trafficking, specially trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation. Human trafficking has become a major global threat to the lives and freedom of millions of men, women, and children. The economic exploitation of an individual at the hands of another through force, fraud or coercion defines human trafficking; the second largest criminal industry today's world, only surpassed by drug dealing. Accurate figures of those involved in sexual slavery are challenging to determine due to the very clandestine nature of sex trafficking; nonetheless, estimates are staggering, suggesting millions of girls and women are affected each year globally. We are aware that rape and sexual enslavement date as far back as the Greek and Roman empires, and much later, during World War II, where the Japanese military trafficked girls and women across the Pacific as “comfort women” for their troops; to recent times with the colonization and enslavement of African women in America. In the Vietnam War brothels were established to service American soldiers. Today, the unwanted, coerced sexual enslavement of women and girls worldwide not only exists, but is thriving. The effects on sexually enslaved girls and women are tremendous. The devastating consequences include: complex traumas resulting in lifelong physical and psychological problems; exposure to life threatening diseases; malnutrition; unsanitary and inhumane living conditions; rejection and alienation from their families, countries, and cultures. Sexual slavery in its varying manifestations is driven by social, cultural, political, and economic factors. This presentation will offer insights into the conditions that create and maintain modern day sex slavery and the overwhelming negative consequences.

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