Journal by Schauer and Wheaton
Research by C. White
December 6, 2015
Schauer and Wheaton proclaim that most victims of sex trafficking are females from Russia (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:154), 700,000 people are victims of sex trafficking worldwide, and from this number, the US receives between 18,000 and 50,000 sex traffic victims annually. Women and men respectively represent 90% and 10% of the victims and almost 50% (half) of the victims are female and male children. This country is the second (after Germany) largest place to market people in the underground sex trade. The US government considers sex trafficking to be this country’s modern form of human slavery and estimates between 100,000 and 150,000 sex slaves in this country, mostly women and children. Schauer and Wheaton define sex trafficking as slavery because victims unwantedly receive the confrontations of gang rape, loss of human rights and self-will, deception, fraud, coercion, and threats when they begin the sexual servitude. Schauer and Wheaton debate that sex trafficking is the direct result of increasing marginalization of women globally (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:146). He predicts that sex trafficking will surpass illegal drug trafficking and become the top international criminal activity by 2016, because in comparison to illegal drug sales, human trafficking is less risky, has higher profits, it is less risky, and people are easier to transport and hide (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:147).
Schauer and Wheaton debate that men defines prostitution as a job that women willingly volunteer to perform, because women value this sex for money, privileges, or materials “over other boring and low-skilled jobs). Therefore, it is legal to be a prostitute in 3 states, a pimp (prostitute manager) in 9 states and a john (client) in 25 states in the US (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:151). Many researchers agree with this debate and argue that people globally anticipate and accept women to become prostitutes if they desire, because in many poor countries, men dominate women, legitimate work is inaccessible to women, and prostitution is an acceptable, understandable, and normal means of survival to women. Other researchers claim that women willingly become prostitutes because they want to earn and save enough income that would allow the purchase of their own businesses. The researches also claim that women find prostitution as the best available occupation for them (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:157), especially when their counties experience socioeconomic inequalities, “armed conflict”, and a rise in demand for prostitution (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:162).
Schauer and Wheaton blame ineffective responses to combating the problem of sex trafficking on subjective definition of sex slavery. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and national governments openly disagree on an objective definition of sex slavery and solutions to the problem (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:148). They equate sex trafficking (involuntary form of sex slavery) with sex smuggling (voluntary form of sex slavery that may lead to involuntary bondage) and sexual exploitation (manipulation to get people to perform sexual activities, whether voluntarily or not). Consequently, there exists discretions in the sex trafficking statistics. Schauer and Wheaton blame the discrepancies on “the perspectives and agendas of those doing the counting” (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:149). He explains that some people with power and positions defines sex trafficking as local, national, and international prostitution, and prostitution is domestic sex trafficking (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:152). Local police officers do not differentiate between sex traffic victims and prostitutes, and as a result, they incarcerate prostitutes and if the prostitutes are found to be illegal immigrants, the police would identify them as “criminal aliens” before deporting them out of the country. Meantime, the traffickers and johns do not experience incarceration and their illegal activities persist. (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:153). To complicate the issue more, political agendas prevent the US government to speak against countries that support sex trafficking, but intentionally stays silent on countries (Saudi Arabia and Mauritania) that has natural resources, such as oil, that serves the interests of Americans yet, support sex trafficking. Also, accusations are made on “middle-class, white, intellectual feminists from the United States and Europe”, that they use sex trafficking “to further their own political agenda and is directed by elite, cultural, racists, and moralistic bias” (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:153).
Schauer and Wheaton find that individual businesses and small groups of people operate sex trafficking everywhere, and in the opinions of some people, domestic child pornography, involving American born children, is also a part of sex trafficking in the US (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:154). Schauer and Wheaton also find that sex traffickers illegally obtain legit documentations to bring the foreign women into the US, and after the sex traffickers take the documentations from the women after their arrival in the US, sex traffickers use the same technique to bring other women in the US. Sometimes, the women receive immunity from inspections if White men escort them into the country, which gives the impression that the women and men are common intimate relationship partners. Once the women arrive in the US, the sex traffickers give them and force them into become prostitutions, who travel around frequently and never receive opportunities to build relationships or friendships with others (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:154).
According to Schauer and Wheaton, disowned, abandoned, and runaway American children are easily led to accept the role of becoming a prostitutes, sex slaves, or anything that involves sex exploitation. Schauer and Weaton identify sex exploitation recruitment on the national crisis of increasingly global misogyny (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:155) and objectification of women (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:157).
Schauer and Wheaton debate that sex trafficking grows from desires of immigrant women who willingly choose to come to the US because they want “more lucrative employment and better marriage partners” and they face high unemployment or poor socioeconomic mobility in their home countries. Some women Also, the presentation of fraudulent documents, contracts, and misleading promises from sex traffickers were overwhelmingly enticing. It is expensive to bring foreign women into the US and consequently, many sex traffickers confront the women with debt bondage, which may likely result in sex slavery (as some may also accept the coercion to work in strip clubs) to repay traveling costs and relocation (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:155-156) To keep sex slaves under the control of sex traffickers, sex traffics would rape, beat, make threats against the women, or take away their means of travel or immigration documentations (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:157).
Schauer and Wheaton recommend that state prostitution laws need revisions so that the removal of “elitsm, sexism, and racism” would allow victims of sex trafficking to receive basic human rights an legal protection (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:166). They find that sex traffic victims need mental healing and witness support services so that they may reintegrate in society. Changes in police training are necessary, because police officers need to reevaluate their opinions of prostitution, and they need more training in working with federal law enforcement to reduce the high rate of sex trafficking. Although sex trafficking has potential for an overabundance of research and practical solutions, it has a confusing subjective definition and current sexist opinions about prostitutes, which prevent the discovery of sex traffic victims (Schauer and Wheaton 2006:146).
Schauer, Edward J. and Elizabeth M. Wheaton. 2006. “Sex Trafficking Into The United states: A Literature Review”. Criminal Justice Review 31:146-169. Sage Publications. doi:10.1177/0734016806290136