Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout globally. Sex trafficking occurs when someone uses unethical methods to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or to force a minor to commit a commercial sex act. The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines sex trafficking as, “(…) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act (….).” Further, “…the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”. It is important to note that this definition clearly states that anyone engaged in a commercial sex act who is younger than 18 years old is by definition a trafficking victim, regardless of circumstances.

Sex trafficking is an issue the hospitality and tourism industry faces around the globe. In New York City for example, 45% of commercially exploited victims were exploited in hotels in the forms previously mentioned, especially escorting service and exotic stripping (Reid, 2012). Types of sex trafficking may include:

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ý  Escort services,

ý  Forced prostitution,

ý  Child sex trafficking/tourism,

ý  Forced dancing/stripping, and

ý  Pornography.

 

Based on the International Labor Union, Carolin et al. (2015) claimed that an estimated 4.5 million victims are forced into sexual labor, with 98 percent of the victims being identified as female. Social relations play a major role in directing the victims to get involved in such activities; female victims of sexual trafficking may be involved into sexual activities through what they may know, like a boyfriend. Generally, traffickers find their victims through the following ways:

ý  Clubs or bars.

ý  Social network.

ý  Home neighborhood.

ý  School.

 

Often, social interruptions and the absence of family role in the life of the victims are considered the main pushing factor that lure them into sexual trafficking, on the other side the trafficker or the pimp’s promises of love, home, protection, opportunity, or adventure are considered pull factors.

Carolin et al. (2015) estimated the business that a trafficker or a pimp can make from this trade, a Trafficker/Pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has four to six girls.

Many countries banned prostitution; 39 countries have laws making prostitution illegal, and 12 countries have limited laws allowing some aspects of prostitution, while circumstances of many countries pushed them to consider prostitution a legal work; in 49 countries around the world prostitution is legal (Carolin et al., 2015).