Sociología y Trabajo Social

Sexual exploitation and prostitution

Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution


Nicole Gomez Alvarez


Every social phenomenon needs real investigation and knowledge, so that we can give it an appropriate structure. A structure that helps make it visible to the society, so that people take the blinds off their eyes and see the reality of all of the problems that we have nowadays in our world, problems like prostitution and sexual exploitation.

Some studies by different organizations, like Unicef and Unesco, say that the most expanded way of modern abuse and exploitation done by men for men is sexual. These studies also say that 20% of all the women in the world suffer day by day abuse, and that a majority part of them, including underage girls, are forced to prostitute themselves in their countries of origin or when they immigrate to more “developed” countries.

In Asia, the condition of the women is so unfavorable that girls are not able to enjoy their childhood. They are forced, even by their parents, from a young age to sell sexual favors for money. Later on, they go into houses of prostitution where they suffer all kinds of physical and mental abuse. This leads women to have permanent scars, sexual transmitted diseases like HIV, AIDS, or hepatitis, and in a majority of cases, in a short term, death.

Organized mafias from different countries have a business of clandestine immigration of women that come from all over the world, Asia, Africa, and South America. They take these women to the first world (Europe) in order to exploit, prostitute them, through pornographic business.

So are we really aware of these problems? Or do we just turn the pages, and go on with our lives??

Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution

Prostitution comes from the Latin word “prostituire,” which means trade, deal, traffick. Looking up this word in different dictionaries you will find the following definitions:

  • Selling your body, in order to get economical benefits. (Larouse Dictionary 1999, page 269)

  • It's a lucrative sexual market that enrolls a broad range of benefits to the person who's exploiting it. (Vox Dictionary 2000,page 326)

  • It is and it has been a trade, a business of the human body. (Everest Dictionary 1998, page 241)

  • To make an attempt to someone's life, to his/her dignity, to his/her individual and sexual freedom. (Everest Dictionary 1998, page 241)

  • But, what really comes into our minds when we hear the word prostitution?? We just imagine a woman with a lot of makeup, wearing sexy clothes and high heels, waiting for a costumer on the corner of a street. Dirty women, easy women, without any self-respect, but is this true? Are they doing this at their own freewill or are they being forced?

    We can't ignore the causes of prostitution of women. These include economical difficulties (poverty), immigration (looking for a better life that they do not always find), sexual abuse, and all of the situations that debilitate women, like psychological abuse and being consider the weak sex.

    Prostitution is never free. There are some isolated cases in which it is, but these cases do not prevail over the millions of cases of forced prostitution and abuse.

    In the last European debate*, they were trying to look for a way to divide prostitution into different sections:

  • Freewill prostitution from forced prostitution

  • Child prostitution from pornography

  • Trafficking of women from sex tourism

  • But all of these things (A, B, C) are connected by one big vicious cycle; they are all an expression of the same business: violence against women and kids.

    Prostitution is not an expression of sexual freedom; it has to do with money, benefits, and “a better life,” looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Something that implies and develops violence, hate, abuse, and suffering cannot be considered a “job.”

    A new kind of prostitution has develop, male prostitution. Its presence has been getting more “importance”, because heterosexual male prostitution puts in evidence the problems a lot of women have that leads them to these men, maybe loneliness or they just don't feel satisfied with their normal relationships.

    What is the real object of this business??

    This aspect probably, puts in contradiction the sexuality lived by a loving couple, and the relationship between the prostitute and the client, the tenderness and the reciprocity of pleasure, which are replace with the agreements of paid services.

    So he/she “rents” for a few moments a body that brings some pleasure. This is something that characterizes men and women on their perennial search to pleasure. Human beings are moved by the desire to reach total well-being and absolute enjoyment. Women and men live different and multiple situations, gratifying and pleasant experiences, that bring some sense into their lives. But sexual relationships almost always represent the most enjoyable experience. It is were they can let go all of their most intimate fantasies and feel a sense of freedom.

    Some men, which cannot build a relationship of two, that have problems with their sexuality, that don't feel sexual satisfaction with their couple only with a prostitute. That have sexual fantasies that they don't want to share with their wives for fear of being to perverse, or just being against cultural beliefs, so they just go and “buy some meat in the market.”

    Because of this, prostitution has become a “supermarket,” where everyone can go to satisfy their needs and secret fantasies. From social beliefs a prostitute is a sex-goddess that knows and it's capable of doing everything that has to do with sex.

    Sexual trafficking

    Sexual trafficking of women in order to sexually exploit them is a world phenomenon, which adopts multiple forms and involves an absolutely intolerable abuse of human rights. It has existed from remote times and it comes side by side to the immigration of women and children of the poor countries to richer ones. This fact has contributed to the development of different national-international organizations, like Unicef, Unesco, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism), that are finding way to stop it, to restrain immigration.

    The European Union (UE) defines trafficking or trade of women as the movement of women with the object of exploiting them sexually, this being legal or not, consensual or not.

    Sexual exploitation is a term that involves all kinds of dirty activities, like prostitution, sexual commerce, selling and trading of women with the purpose of taking them to slavery marriages, or any other gender in which the oppressor can get economical benefits. So this means that these oppressed women and children do not do these jobs by free will, they are forced to do it. And this is an important thing to emphasize.

    United Nations and the International Organization of Migration estimate:

    • Four million (4,000,000) human beings are victims of human trafficking every year.

    • Five hundred thousand (5oo,ooo) are taken to Western Europe.

    • Three hundred thousand come from South America and Latin America.

    • One million (1,000,000) of them are children with in the age range of5 to 17.

    These estimations indicate that these numbers are growing every day. They haven't found a way to stop it, but they are coming up with ways to fight sexual trafficking.

  • Prevention: the women who are involved in sexual trafficking and prostitution (before getting in this vicious cycle), in almost all cases, find themselves in economical and social problems in their country of origin. So that's why Unicef and other organizations are coming up with investigations, informative campaigns, and help the reintegration of these victims. Also finding decent jobs for women that are in difficulties so they don't have to leave their own country. Authorities of all of the countries have to work together. Special forums are given to the immigration and borders officials, embassy public officials, so they can identify when some kind of illegal trafficking of people is occurring.

  • Attention and assistant to the victims: Victims of sexual trades have suffered violence, threats, abuse (mental and physical), blackmail, and are forced to pay big amounts of money to pay back their airline tickets. Normally these women get to the country of destination and don't go to the police to say what has happened to them, because of the following things: they don't speak the country's language, they find themselves without any protection or documentation, are afraid to talk to officials, and they and their families are being constantly harasst.

  • The violence these women are put through is humongous, the permanent sexual abuses; they are beaten all the time, tortured and even murdered if they don't give out their earnings to their oppressors.

  • Persecution and fight against trade of women: Trafficking of women could not be successful if the majority of European countries had an internal legislation that did not permit prostitution. But countries like Holland consider prostitution as not a big problem and think that the liberalization of sex markets is positive. This means that human bodies become a commercial transaction, an accepted economical activity.

  • Prostitution and sexual trafficking is something that seriously damages the rights of human beings and it's the biggest exponent of all kinds of violence.

    Do we think that maybe in the future societies will take this problem seriously? This problem that is killing million of women and children of all over the world?

    Are the solutions in our hands??

    This is something we have to reflect on.


    Bolivar Diaz, Josè. “Immigration: from the third world to the first”. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.Educa Publications, 20001.

    “Congress summary book: Madrid, June 27, 28, 29 2001” General woman services, community of Madrid. DGM publications, 2001, pages17-19, 35-.

    Rodriguez, Francisco. Prevention against Prostitution. La Vega, Dominican Republic. Susaeta Publications, 2000.Page 27-28.

    Larouse Dictionary 1999, page 269

    Vox Dictionary 2000, page 326

    Everest Dictionary 1998, page 241

    General Women Services, Community of Madrid, 27-29 of June 2001, Congress summary book- DGM Publications, 2001, page 2.

    General Women Services, Community of Madrid, 27-29 of June 2001, congress summary book. DGM Publications, 2001,pages 17 and 19.

    Prevention against prostitution. Susaeta publications 2000, Page 27.

    General Women Services, Community of Madrid, 27- 29 of June 2001, Congress summary book. DGM Publications, 2001,page 35

    Immigration: from the third world to the first. Educa publications, 2001, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Pages 75-79.

    Enviado por:Nicole Gomez
    Idioma: inglés
    País: España

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