Human trafficking

Human trafficking is a system of violence, exploitation and inequality that is ravaging all countries of the world and must be combated and abolished. Enslaving a human being into slavery and treating him or her as an object without rights or dignity is one of the worst kinds of suffering that can be inflicted on a human being. If we wish to abolish human trafficking, we must address its roots, which are the ignorance of society and the impunity of those who profit from it (pimps in particular) or use its services (clients). The Perla association fights against all forms of human trafficking (forced labour, organ trafficking, etc.) but its current priority is sexual exploitation.

Is prostitution a choice?

For some people, prostitution evokes in general a job that uninhibited women adopt by choice. The reality is that prostitution is overall the result of an absence of choice among the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the world.

Most women that prostitute themselves have undergone sexual abuse, deprivation, marginalization and other related problems. Studies notice that 60% to 90% of people that prostitute themselves have been victims of sexual abuse in their childhood or teenage years. More than two-thirds of people that prostitute themselves suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at levels equivalent to those of war veterans or torture survivors. The fact that the person that prostitue himself or herself claims to do so by his or her own choice is not determinative, a free choice being unverifiable because of the many pressures that exist on them. Furthermore, on being queried, 9 persons out of 10 express the desire to quit prostitution if given the possibility.

They are lured into the sex industry by their need of money in order to survive. However, it appears that in the final analysis, they do not get out of poverty. In fact, the true profiteers of the money earned are trafficker, pimps and other criminals.

Is prostitution a choice?

For some people, prostitution evokes in general a job that uninhibited women adopt by choice. The reality is that prostitution is overall the result of an absence of choice among the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the world.

Most women that prostitute themselves have undergone sexual abuse, deprivation, marginalization and other related problems. Studies notice that 60% to 90% of people that prostitute themselves have been victims of sexual abuse in their childhood or teenage years. More than two-thirds of people that prostitute themselves suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at levels equivalent to those of war veterans or torture survivors. The fact that the person that prostitue himself or herself claims to do so by his or her own choice is not determinative, a free choice being unverifiable because of the many pressures that exist on them. Furthermore, on being queried, 9 persons out of 10 express the desire to quit prostitution if given the possibility.

They are lured into the sex industry by their need of money in order to survive. However, it appears that in the final analysis, they do not get out of poverty. In fact, the true profiteers of the money earned are trafficker, pimps and other criminals.

Over 40 millions of people prostitute themselves. The average age at the time of their entry into prostitution is 13 years old.

Pornography

More than 40% of prostitutes are recruited and used for pornography. The violence of the acts perpetrated in the context of pornography is unspeakable and causes a vicious circle: it has been proven that pornographers then go on to act with the prostitutes whose services they hire, thus making the requests increasingly degrading, dangerous and inhuman. Knowing that young people as young as 10 years of age are exposed to the pornography industry, Perla is fighting for awareness and change in the laws in this area.

Pornography

More than 40% of prostitutes are recruited and used for pornography. The violence of the acts perpetrated in the context of pornography is unspeakable and causes a vicious circle: it has been proven that pornographers then go on to act with the prostitutes whose services they hire, thus making the requests increasingly degrading, dangerous and inhuman. Knowing that young people as young as 10 years of age are exposed to the pornography industry, Perla is fighting for awareness and change in the laws in this area.

Human trafficking: definition

“Trafficking in human beings” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring 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.

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

Human trafficking: definition

“Trafficking in human beings” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring 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.

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

Prostitution or human trafficking?

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2014 which states that prostitution violates human dignity and human rights, and is an obstacle to gender equality “since women make up a disproportionate share of victims”. There is evidence of an interconnection between prostitution and human trafficking: sexual exploitation is linked to the fact that prostitution brings huge flows of money and criminals take advantage of lax law enforcement and the so-called choice of people to prostitute themselves. Furthermore, according to the same resolution, it is estimated that 84% of victims of trafficking are destined to be forced into prostitution. Finally, the parliament acknowledges the positive results of the criminalisation of the purchase of prostitution services as practised in Sweden, with a proven decrease in the number of victims of trafficking in this system.

DIFFERENT POLICIES

Every country does not consider prostitution in the same way:

Some states have a regulatory policy and advocate  the supervision of people that prostitute themselves with laws establishing a framework. For example, they consider prostitution is a professional activity and apply to  it the right to work (Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands…).

Some policies prohibit prostitution and recommend the interdiction of prostitution for morality and security reasons. The people that prostitute themselves, pimps and even the clients are legally guilty in case of practice. (USA – exception of Nevada –, Egypt, China, South Arabia, etc.).

Some states seek to abolish prostitution. They consider the people that prostitute themselves as victims of the prostitutional system. Clients and pimps are criminally punishable. (Sweden, Norway and Island). Sweden is the country in Europe where human trafficking and prostitution rates are at the lowest.

The association Perla, based on its experience in the field shares the view of the European Parliament and wishes all states to implement a judicial and legislative system enabling the fight against human trafficking in an efficient and uncompromising manner. The association Perla considers that victims ought to be protected not only during the procedure but should also be granted some assistance towards being reintegrated. Finally, persons who procure their  services ought to be prosecuted, together with all involved in the trafficking. Indeed, prostitution generaly implies accepting to provide sexual services of an unworthy, degrading and dangerous nature and ought not go unpunished.

For this website, we refer to human trafficking when there is established exploitation of others (with or without consent) . We use the term prostitution or people that prostitute themselves when we speak about this activity in a general manner, or when human trafficking is not proved.

Prostitution or human trafficking?

The Europen Parliament adopted a resolution in 2014 stating that prostitution violates human dignity and human rights, and is an obstacle to gender equality “since the female victim count is disproportionate”. It is demonstrable that prostitution and human trafficking are interrelated: Sexual exploitation is linked to the fact that prostitution generates large sums of money and that criminals take advantage of laxism in the application of laws and the so-called choice of persons engaged in prostitution. Furthermore, by this same resolution, “it is estimated that 84% of victims of trafficking are  destined to a life of prostitution”. Finally, the Parliament recognises the positive results of the penalisation of the procurement of services linked to prostitution such as practised in Sweden, with a reduction in the number of  victims of trafficking in this system. 

DIFFERENT POLICIES

Every country does not consider prostitution in the same way:

Some states have a regulatory policy and advocate  the supervision of people that prostitute themselves with laws establishing a framework. For example, they consider prostitution is a professional activity and apply to  it the right to work (Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands…).

Some policies prohibit prostitution and recommend the interdiction of prostitution for morality and security reasons. The people that prostitute themselves, pimps and even the clients are legally guilty in case of practice. (USA – exception of Nevada –, Egypt, China, South Arabia, etc.).

Some states seek to abolish prostitution. They consider the people that prostitute themselves as victims of the prostitutional system. Clients and pimps are criminally punishable. (Sweden, Norway and Island). Sweden is the country in Europe where human trafficking and prostitution rates are at the lowest.

The association Perla, based on its experience in the field shares the view of the European Parliament and wishes all states to implement a judicial and legislative system enabling the fight against human trafficking in an efficient and uncompromising manner. The association Perla considers that victims ought to be protected not only during the procedure but should also be granted some assistance towards being reintegrated. Finally, persons who procure their  services ought to be prosecuted, together with all involved in the trafficking. Indeed, prostitution generaly implies accepting to provide sexual services of an unworthy, degrading and dangerous nature and ought not go unpunished.

For this website, we refer to human trafficking when there is established exploitation of others (with or without consent) . We use the term prostitution or people that prostitute themselves when we speak about this activity in a general manner, or when human trafficking is not proved.

Ania* has just started working as a prostitute. Incapable of eating or sleeping, she has become a shadow of herself and in a fragile state of mind. An acquaintance seems to have advised her to prostitute herself to pay the costs of her mother’s cancer operation. Ania tells us she has to pay 700.- weekly for her room, and she only earns 150.- as “she refuses to do things requested by the men that she deems unnatural”. She seeks our help. How many others like her have had to accept to offer services  that are degrading or dangerous to their health due to financial constraints or the insistence of their clients or a pimp?

*Pseudonym

Our action plans

Perla organization acts on three levels in its fight against human trafficking:

VISITS

To provide dignity, support and an opportunity for reintegration. Perla Home is essential to help victims reintegrate into society

PREVENTION

Awareness-raising and prevention: inform, train, publish

COLLABORATION

To work in collaboration and network with the authorities and with any body aiming at the same goals.

VISITS

To provide dignity, support and an opportunity for reintegration. Perla Home is essential to help victims reintegrate into society

PREVENTION

Awareness-raising and prevention: inform, train, publish

COLLABORATION

To work in collaboration and network with the authorities and with any body aiming at the same goals.

Get involved

Let’s fight together against human trafficking. We offer different ways of participating in this fight for liberty

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