NILA

Debunking Myths about Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation

e-Learning

Scroll down to discover the truth

Trafficking for sexual exploitation only happens to girls and women

The reality is that boys and men are also subject to exploitation sexually, not only in Southeast Asia but in other regions of the world. The lack of awareness and understanding that boys can also be sexually abused and sexually exploited results in not enough action and measures being put in place to protect boys against trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Victims are usually kidnapped and their families don’t know what happened

The vast majority of people who are trafficked for sexual exploitation are trafficked by deceptive means. These deceptive means often include false promises of educational or employment opportunities abroad or in different parts of the country. Traffickers take advantage of the people’s trust in then and their ability to facilitate the promised opportunities. Very often people are trafficked by relatives or people who they know.

Victims are usually physically trapped in situations of exploitation.

Coercive environments are usually the more common means by which people are controlled and exploited rather than physical environments, however, it is true that some victims are controlled physically as well. Most sexually trafficked victims may not be physically trapped somewhere to warrant being regarded as being trafficked but psychological and emotional pressure and fear is used against them to keep them trapped in situations where they can not exercise their free will.

If individuals are not being physically forced, then they must be there by choice.

There is a prevailing belief that people who are prostituted or working in exploitative environments are doing it of their own free will. Very often people coming from vulnerable situations are often offered jobs and opportunities that may on the surface look legit and they often will willingly accept these jobs, only to have their passports are held, not paid properly, or even made to pay certain fees to cover the cost of acquiring the new job. These costs and lack of adequate pay forces them into a situation of debt bondage where they have to continuously work in that exploitative environment until their debts are paid off.

Demand from foreigners fuels trafficking for sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia.

There is always a perception created that the demand for sexual exploitation of children and women in Southeast Asia comes from foreigners and very often Western foreigners. This is very illogical because no matter how many foreigners there are in an country they’re never going to be more quantitatively speaking than nationals of any given country. It is however, easier to spot foreigner perpetrators than it is to spot local buyers of sex.

Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation can only be found in brothels.

There are a number of different situations or locations, environments that sexual exploitation can take place, besides in brothels, for example on cyberspace and online, in forced marriage situations. Trafficking for sexual exploitation has also become very privatized and it is occurring in non conventional locations such as private homes and venues that won't outrightly advertise that they offer sex services.

Raids to rescue suspected victims always have positive consequences.

Usually when we think of raids to rescue we think of police going in and arresting all the bad people, saving all the victims and coming out as heros. However, in order for a raid to have a best possible consequences, it’s important that there is trusted and effective law enforcement as well as an effective judicial system. It is also important to listen to every survivor of trafficking and listen to what they want so that the services provided after the rescue can be individualized for every survivor.

Rescuing victims leads to a happy ending.

Most victims of sexual exploitation face a lot of stigma after their trafficked experiences. A lot of times when they come back to their communities and they are ostracized or they feel that they cannot reconnect with their communities because they feel ashamed. The most important thing is make sure that the victims are provided with a wide range of options in terms of the services and assistance that government or NGOs so that they can be fully empowered to take care of themselves.

Video