A Brief Overview of American Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is viewed by American culture as a heinous crime that occurs largely overseas in Third World countries with a few industrialized countries, such as Amsterdam and Holland, as destination location.  Commercial sexual exploitation, a subcategory of human trafficking, is believed to be largely removed from American society.  The commercialized vice of minors, in particular, is viewed as a Third World response to rampant poverty as individuals or communities attempt to provide resources for themselves.

Yet the United States sex industry is mostly viewed as a personal choice that is made by an individual of their own free will, particularly if adults.  The American population fails to understand that human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, exists in the United States at an alarmingly high rate.  While a minority of individuals do, in fact, freely chose to exploit their bodies for financial gain or survival, the majority of individuals trapped within the sex industry are forced into and held captive in this particular business against their will by an authoritative figure.  Trafficked individuals suffer violence and abusive situations in which they lose their sense of psychological and physical well-being.  A fragile sense of self-esteem and limited resources have lent themselves into misleading many individuals into believing that they have no choice but to enter prostitution due, largely, to the abusive and neglectful homes in which they grew up in.

Commercial sexual exploitation exists due to supply and demand.  Pimps have identified a demand by the American population to engage in sexual activity.  Pimps have determined that providing sexual services is a profitable industry because customers are willing to pay a given price that pimps set for various sexual services.  Additionally, an unlimited source of supply–human beings–is easily available to pimps for exploitation.  This reality highlights the business aspect of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, particularly in lieu of a pimp-prostitute relationship.

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