Join the fight against this insidious industry by becoming more aware.

Knowledge is power and it is the first step to combatting the global issue of child sex trafficking. The more you understand about the issues, the more you will be able to speak out, invite others to learn more, and advocate for causes and change in both your neighborhood and where EmancipAction is working in India.


Modern day slavery is not about ownership, it is all about control.

Today, even in rural India, sex traffickers utilize technology including social media as a low-risk hunting ground to prey on unsuspecting minors. Rescues become increasingly difficult as brothels transition into rural areas and private homes where traffickers can recruit clients easily and anonymously.

Simply speaking, human trafficking is forcing a person against his or her will into a situation of exploitation. Traffickers usually recruit, harbor or transport their victims by inflicting violence, deceiving, manipulating or coercing them either directly or through others who are close to them, like friends or family members. Trafficking can happen within a local community or across many borders.

According to the United Nations, trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons -- by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits -- to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children is the exploitation by an adult with respect to a child or an adolescent - female or male - under 18 years old; accompanied by a payment in money or in kind to the child or adolescent (male or female) or to one or more third parties.

Commercial sexual exploitation in children includes the following:

  • The use of girls and boys in sexual activities remunerated in cash or in kind (commonly known as child prostitution) in the streets or indoors, in such places as brothels, discotheques, massage parlors, bars, hotels, restaurants, etc.
  • The trafficking of girls and boys and adolescents for the sex trade.
  • Child sex tourism.
  • The production, promotion and distribution of pornography involving children.
  • The use of children in sex shows (public or private).
  • The ILO (International Labour Organization) considers commercial sexual exploitation of children an abhorrent violation of the human rights of children and adolescents and a form of economic exploitation similar to slavery and forced labor, which also implies a crime on the part of those who use girls and boys and adolescents in the sex trade.

    It would be easy to get sidetracked with an ideological debate on prostitution. But what we are concerned about here is not prostitution. We are concerned about adults selling children to other adults for sexual acts - up to 20 times a day. This is called rape for profit.

    40% of the world's child sex slaves are in India and many of them are re-trafficked after rescue. What's more, a child is raped every 2.5 hours in India, making it one of the most dangerous places on earth for children. Victims of child sexual abuse and extreme gender violence, who are often girls exploited because of their families' poverty, are one of the most significant populations with some of the most need. A 2007 study conducted by Ministry of Women and Child Development in India covering 13 states found that 53% of the participants were exposed to extreme forms of sexual abuse.

    In India, girls who are sexually exploited are removed from society, receive little to no mental health services, and later have trouble marrying or re-entering society. Unmarried women face further increased risks of rape and poverty. Many will re-enter sex work later in life and give birth to children who will continue to be trapped in this cycle. We aim to disrupt this common path by improving mental health services and giving abused girls a chance at a fulfilling life.

    Victims of sex slavery and extreme gender violence have been abused emotionally, physically, sexually, and economically; tragically, only a tiny fraction are ever rescued. But even after rescue, the traumatic experience of severe abuse and exploitation can lead to multiple follow-on adversities including addiction, social isolation, school failure, poverty, violence, further sexual abuse and criminal behavior. Studies have shown that sex trafficking victims are often psychologically and emotionally disabled by their early 30s. Early intervention is critically important to restore them to mental and socioeconomic health, and to prevent this vulnerable population from being re-trafficked.

    The first step to true freedom after rescue begins in the mind, yet mental health support with trauma care for victims of child sex slavery in India is the number one gap in combatting and disrupting this horrific industry. India bears 20% of the world's disease burden. And it spends less than 0.06% of its annual health budget on mental health care, therefore a severe mental health burden remains largely unaddressed, especially in marginalized communities.

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