Daily Bulletin


  • Written by Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast
Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest is the tip of the iceberg: human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing crime

Jeffrey Epstein, a powerfully connected American financier, is facing charges of sex trafficking, bringing underage girls as young as 14 years old into homes in various locations across the US.

He reportedly had a network of more than 50 victims, and evidence against him included hundreds of lewd photographs of girls and young women.

Read more: Human trafficking and slavery still happen in Australia. This comic explains how

Accusations against high-profile people such as Epstein temporarily raise awareness of this significant human rights violation. But regardless of the outcome of this case, the ugly truth is this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Child sex trafficking is a critical issue affecting more than one million children worldwide, many of whom are left to suffer in silence.

Some consider human trafficking as the world’s fastest-growing crime. Worldwide, about 20% of trafficking victims are children, with up to 100% in some regions.

Sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking. Globally, an estimated 4.8 million people are forced into sexual exploitation.

And this industry produces $99 billion in profits a year for traffickers.

Who is targeted?

Most child trafficking victims are girls and often between the ages of 12 to 16. Although, when children under 12 are the victim, boys have been found to outnumber girls in some samples.

While trafficking often implies “transporting” across borders, trafficking can very often be a domestic matter with little to no transportation. For example, one study found more than 80% of sex trafficking incidents in the United States involved US citizens.

A child can become a victim of commercial sexual exploitation when they’re vulnerable, and some of the risk factors include: substance abuse, poverty, exposure to family violence or criminality, running away or told to leave home, abuse and neglect (including sexual victimisation), involvement in delinquency, poor mental health, and involvement in child protective services.

Read more: 4 questions answered on sex trafficking in the US

While these are some common risk factors, it’s important to note that there is no definitive set of risk factors – or single risk factor – that can determine whether a child will become a victim.

How are victims recruited?

Traffickers may recruit victims through “guerrilla pimping”. This involves aggression, threats and violence to engage and enslave the victim.

In other instances, recruitment through what appears to be kindness and compassion is shrouded in manipulation from food, money, shelter or drugs. This is referred to as “finesse pimping”. These exploited children, often victim to abuse and neglect in childhood, are promised shelter, love, and protection.

And some children might fall victim to “survival sex”, with no other option to attain food, money, shelter, or drugs. Such vulnerability places these children in high-risk situations where they may be manipulated and forced into exploitation.

Traffickers quite frequently use “recruiters” to identify vulnerable youth. While these recruiters might be other adults, victims themselves can eventually become involved in the recruitment. “Friends” may recruit peers into the commercial sex trafficking population through their social networks.

In fact, some research has found almost half were recruited by “friends” into the commercial exploitation industry as opposed to adults “preying” on susceptible youth. Recruitment to the industry by friends is particularly dangerous, as youth are less suspecting of their peers compared with adults.

Read more: Sex trafficking's tragic paradox: when victims become perpetrators

In some instances, youth involved in sex trafficking will even be given financial incentives, to introduce their friends to the exploitation population. Epstein allegedly used this tactic, paying his victims to recruit other girls.

As a consequence, victims can suffer long-term physical, psychological, and even neurological trauma, which can continue for their whole lives.

And the impacts of the trauma can also affect others, including families and wider society.

Why can’t victims just leave?

Once recruited, it’s difficult to leave. Experts have drawn parallels between the theoretic constructs of human trafficking to that of intimate partner violence, in terms of power and control.

In particular, the victim may be isolated as well as controlled emotionally and physically. The victim can easily become entangled through such controlling techniques or even through “traumatic bonding”. This is where the victim has appreciation towards the trafficker for being able to live, coupled with entrenched fear.

In some instances, a victim recruited through “finesse pimping” might feel indebted and obliged to stay with the trafficker.

Read more: Study shines light on how vulnerable children are trafficked in Nigeria

Other tactics to maintain control can include food deprivation or forced drugs. And older victims have reportedly been threatened that if they don’t cooperate, or if they don’t earn a certain sum of money that day, the victim’s child will be sold.

The ability to maintain total control over the victim may also be compounded by their vulnerability to manipulation (for example, by virtue of age), and potentially complicated by substance use problems, learning disabilities, and poor mental health.

With sex traffickers being strategic in their recruitment and ability to entangle the victim physically and psychologically, it’s not difficult to see how victims become entrapped.

Authors: Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast

Read more http://theconversation.com/jeffrey-epsteins-arrest-is-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-human-trafficking-is-the-worlds-fastest-growing-crime-120225

Writers Wanted

COVID has left Australia's biomedical research sector gasping for air


How Australian vice-chancellors' pay came to average $1 million and why it's a problem


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion