The globalization phenomenon has created positive impacts on many economies however, it has been argued that the positive impacts have not been equally realized by all the countries. The sex trafficking has been defined as the exchange of services, goods or money for the sexual activity against the will of a person and this can be in the form of peep shows, pornography, prostitution either by getting physical or by using internet videos or pictures. The global capitalism has mainly benefitted the developed nations which were able to gain on the resources of the third world nations. This has resulted in an economic divide and has indirectly caused the increase in the vulnerabilities of the weaker sex. Therefore, the sex trafficking is one of the worst results of the global capitalism.
Definition of sex trafficking given by the United Nations, International Labor Organization, the US Government and the government of other countries. Two main forms of human trafficking are defined in it. The first form of human trafficking is labor trafficking where a person is recruited, transported or obtained for labor or services using force, coercion or fraud for involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage or slavery. In sex trafficking, a commercial sex act is prompted using force, coercion or fraud or where a person who is made to perform such act has not reached the age of 18 years (Gilbertson, 2015). It can occur in one place or across different countries or regions. In this essay, the impact of globalization and the neoliberalism on the increase in sex trafficking across the international borders is assessed using the research work done in this field.
The sex trafficking industry of the world has emerged as a result of the minimization of the trade barriers and push for the global capitalism. The economic globalization in the neoliberal forms has led the countries in limiting their trade barriers. The removal of the trade barrier implied lesser laws, regulations and restrictions on the movement of people, capital or technology. Hence, the free flow of people, technology and capital have resulted in the increase in the economic insecurities of the third world nations. The globalization and liberal trade policies have in a way contributed to the increase in supply of sex workers.
The victims are not excluded in the sex traffic industry based on their ages, race or economic status. Vulnerability is the only common factor between all the victims. The vulnerability can be due to economic, social or psychological reasons. According to the estimate given by most of the sources, sex trafficking or sex exploitation is found in more than half of all human trafficking cases. About 2 million children are involved in sex trafficking industry around the world according to the estimate (Gilbertson, 2015).
During 1990s, there has been increased involuntary mass migration of women workers. This was recognized by the sex industry leaders as the opportunity for increasing profit margins (Emmons, 2019). The movement of millions of poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised people desperate to find options for better life occurred during this period (True, 2012). This incentivised the sex traffickers to acquire the workers at lower cost and this was mostly done through deception. The female workers are deceived with the false advertisement of domestic work in foreign countries like the Middle Eastern countries. These were frequently used for trafficking women into sex trade. The victims of the trafficking have claimed that their need to earn money overrides their suspicion towards the deceptive advertisement. Once the women are acquired through deceit, the sex traffickers impose debt of bondage on them which are very high for them to pay. The only possible means of repayment remains the slavery for the sex traffickers and the women are therefore, coerced into prostitution, sex slavery and also forcing them to have sex with the clients as well as the traffickers.
The economic inequality created by the globalization also resulted in economic instability in people. It becomes the root cause of many criminal activities. The percent of people living in poverty was found to be associated with the increase in both sex and labor trafficking. The huge profits that are made from the forms of human trafficking drive the traffickers to carry on the trade. However, the distinction between the willing prostitution and sex trafficking becomes blurry when the economic factors are considered. The women who is living in poor conditions when enters into prostitution is able to support herself with the money earned. But this is resulting from the lack of choice which could have been opted by her in case, the government would have provided more opportunities for poor and illiterate women to seek for decent employment (Gilbertson, 2015).
The government policies of neoliberalism whereby they reduced the government spending on the public welfare, allowed for increased capitalism and decreased the regulation also helped in the proliferation of sex trafficking across the international borders (Sanders, 2012). This has been explained by researchers that because of the absence of laws and regulations to scan the movement across the international borders, the sex traffickers got the opportunity to capitalize the sex trade. As a result of the paucity of checking measures and regulations the sex traffickers were able to supply the sex workers from the poor nations to the rich nations.
Neoliberalism strengthens only the gender inequality and only strengthens the sex slavery. The women in Southeast Asia historically have been found to have no access to property, higher education, well-paying jobs and capital than their male counterparts. The neoliberal efforts of the government have resulted in the privatisation of healthcare, education and the industry. This cause more detachment of women from their ability to access these basic resources like healthcare and education. The neoliberal attempts of the government mainly resulted in the shift in the focus from the collective care to the individual care. This disadvantaged the vulnerable and weaker sex in a society which was already patriarchal. For example, the neoliberal economic policies resulted in disadvantage for the women as they had no education to work in companies or did not have abilities to generate income from outside their homes (Sanders, 2012).
The neoliberal policies resulted in disadvantage to the women and their role in families were only seen as unnecessary. The women were seen as financial burden for the family and as a result the poor families would often sell their daughters to sex traffickers as a means of offloading their burden. It has been reported that nearly 35 percent of the daughters from the economically desperate families were sold into sex trade in Vietnam and Thailand. In an era of high unemployment and privatization the selling of a daughter into sex trade was seen as an opportunity for the families. The neoliberal policies also increased the power of the capitalist whereby they offered lower paying jobs to women. There were lesser public sector jobs and these too were mainly for men. This dichotomy caused the women from the poor socioeconomic and educational background to go for sex trade as the only means of earning decent livelihood and become financially independent (Sanders, 2012).
The relationships between the nations has become discriminative and exploitive and strengthen by the neoliberal globalization and it has also increased the gap between the poor and rich. The women are left vulnerable to the inequality of the market by the devaluation of socio-economic factors and the canonization of the profitable endeavors. Under neoliberal globalization, the subsidization of social services continues to decrease, the provisory shelter for women from the restriction of global capitalist patriarchy is deconstructed and the male biases of market individualism and competition. To remain economically viable in the world market of present times, the developing regions are forced to provide exploitable, cheap and disposable labor and goods. Women have been obligated to become a more profitable product of a nation due to this transformation.
The current state of international relations is influenced and altered by the phenomenon of globalization happening around the nations and across borders. The universal adoption of neoliberal capitalist ideology has fortified the relations between developing and developed countries and this has become the basis for international economic development for the future market. The countries must prioritize capital profiting endeavors and reduce the large social welfare investments, is the foundation idea for neoliberal policies and it is for the maturity and expansion of economic and social international relations to occur.
There should be increased efforts for limiting the sex trafficking. The government across the world must focus these efforts towards the vulnerable people who have no choices to earn employment. State measures are required for providing benefits to the women in the lower socioeconomic group and the less educated ones. There has to be more awareness for stopping the sex trafficking so that the selling of daughters should not be seen as an opportunity by the families. The government has to play an active role in engaging in welfare of the people instead of only focusing on profit making by empowering the capitalists.
Emmons, K., 2019. The Effects of Neoliberalism and Globalization on Thailand's Sex Industry. Undergraduate honors thesis, University of Redlands.
Gilbertson, M.R., 2015. Globalization and the sex trafficking industry: examination of effects on regional value chain operations. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1077&context=honors_theses
Sanders, A., 2012. Sex trafficking in Southeast Asia: how neo-liberalism has bolstered the global sex trade. On Politics, 6(1).
True, J., 2012. The Political Economy Of Violence Against Women. 1st ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
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