Suppose just for a minute you’re an unemployed middle-class white guy in Detroit. Your marriage falls apart, your house burns down and you are in debt up the wazoo. But you’re really, really well-endowed down there. Solution? Sell your services. Yes those services. According to HBO’s new series Hung, the notion of a guy taking up what is sometimes referred to as women’s oldest profession in order to make ends meet should be highly amusing. As Dan Barry of the New York Times puts it, “The writers have turned a penis into a plot device”. Ho, ho.
Leaving aside the revolting suggestion that residents of Detroit should turn to prostitution now that the economy has tanked, and with all due respect for the rights of those who freely choose this line of work, the reality is that most people who sell their sexual services are coerced or sold into the profession and most of those people are women. For them, sex work is most definitely not a form of entertainment.
Sex trafficking is currently recognized by the United Nations as human rights violation. However, not all forms of prostitution involve sex trafficking, which leads to significant debate over whether all prostitution should be considered a human rights violation. While not all women are forced into prostitution through sex trafficking, many are somehow coerced or forced into the profession.
Research shows that sex trafficking greatly contributes to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B in women and their clients in South Asia, an area deeply effected by sex trafficking. Very few prostitutes receive the proper screening or treatment for these STIs.
Furthermore, while prostitution has not historically always been recognized as a form of violence against women, prostitutes suffer significant physical violence resulting in black eyes, bruises, and broken bones.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice,
- 83 percent of the reported human trafficking incidents involved allegations of sex trafficking.
- Over 90 percent of victims in both alleged and confirmed human trafficking incidents were female.
- 99% of the victims in alleged and confirmed sex trafficking incidents were female.
- 71% of sex trafficking victims were under age 25.
- 80% of sex traffickers are male.
Not a very amusing scenario is it? For more information about sexual trafficking, via RapeIs the following are organizations working to raise awareness about sexual slavery: