They are in different countries but share the same hell. Maria is one of 14 women lured from Mexico to Seattle, Washington, with the promise of a job, then held by force in a brothel and required to sexually service men 12 hours a day. Anna is a young mother from the Ukraine who left her husband and children there to take a job as a housecleaner in Italy, where she was put in a barred, guarded house and forced into prostitution. Nadia is an 11-year-old girl in Africa, kidnapped and forced to have sex with a militiaman daily, with a machete ever ready nearby should she refuse. All three women are part of horrific sex slavery that has drawn the attention of officials in countries around the globe. It is not rare; officials say it is increasing, at least partly due to the billions of dollars it brings in for organized crime. The U.S. State Department estimates 800,000 victims, mostly women and children, are trafficked for sex trade across nations each year and millions more are trafficked within countries – including the U.S., Britain, Spain, and the Netherlands. As a Seattle Times reporter explained when Maria’s case hit the news there, the reality is that sex slaves for the most part are young women and teenaged girls who come from almost every one of the world’s poorer countries and end up in almost every country where there is a combination of sexual demand and money. But they are also in undeveloped Africa, in prisons internationally, locked in forced marriages, or sold to men by parents.
In this book, Parrot and Cummings outline the scope and growth of the sex slave market today and explain the history with various elements – including economic, political, cultural, and religious – that make this trade difficult to fully expose, quell, combat, and shut down. We hear from girls and women around the world describing how sexual enslavement has tortured them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, whether they suffer at the hands of prison guards in Turkey, criminals in Washington, or buyers dealing with parents who sell their daughters for the sex slave trade in Greece, Belgium, or France. The authors also describe national and international efforts and legislation passed or in design to stop sex slavery. Successful countries and regions are spotlighted. Then Parrot and Cummings point out actions still needed to stop the sex slavery trade.