Human Trafficking: Slavery and Servitude is Worldwide Social Problem


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Sex workers sometimes argue for legalization. Image by Allesandro Isnotaurelio

Entering the Sex Trade: The Lure

As Secretary Hillary Clinton reported in the 2012 trafficking report, women are often lured into the sex trade by “false promises of a good job or opportunities for their families. Others can be exploited right where they grew up.” 

Often, women are promised seemingly impossible wages. Levenkron’s article “Deported and Dispossessed” quotes one woman as saying, “I couldn’t leave my child penniless. I had to earn money to feed him; I couldn’t let him starve. …I was told I would earn at least one thousand dollars a month. … That’s a lot of money in Moldova.”

The powerlessness of those trafficked under the control of pimps, and of uncertain legal status in countries where they may not speak the language, is in contrast to those sex workers who feel they have freely chosen their work, such as Robin Hustle, who wrote a feature on  The disparity of power between the traffickers and the migrants interviewed by Levenkron demonstrates the crux of the problem is power, not necessarily sex for hire.

Leaving the Trade: The Cure

Levenkron told Decoded Science that there are several ways that women leave the sex trade:

  • Being arrested and transferred to a deportation course
  • Being arrested and transferred to a witness course
  • Escaping-with the help of a customer turned partner or just a good person, or they simply open the door and start running. Some of them go to Levenkron.
  • Suicide
  • Murdered
  • A few marry the trader
  • Serious illness, such as tuberculosis or AIDS

Sex Trade Difficult to Leave

Leaving the sex trade is difficult, and often impossible. Not being an advocate of legalization and regulation of the sex trade, Levenkron stated to Decoded Science that she believes that the course of action by governments should be to “[m]ainly fight the demand.”  Unfortunately, the demand appears to be distressingly high.


Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. Churning Out Numbers – Trafficking and Statistics. (2004). UN Economic Commission for Europe. Accessed December 9, 2012.

Hustle, R. Some Things to Consider When You Think You Want to be a Prostitute. (2012). Jezebel. Accessed December 9, 2012.

Lanir, L.  Winning the Fight for Rights — Prostitution and Sex-trafficking. (2012). Digital Journal Reports. Accessed December 9, 2012).

Levenkron, N. Another Delivery from Tashkent-Profile of the Israeli Trafficker. (2007). Hotline for Migrant Workers. Accessed December 9,  2012.

Levenkron, N. Deported and Dispossessed: Human Trafficking and the State of Israel:Between Economic Struggle and Systemic Dispossession.  (2007). Hotline for Migrant Workers. Accessed December 9, 2012

U.S. Department of State. Release of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report. (2012). Accessed December 9, 2012.

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