With an estimated 4.8 million victims of sex trafficking worldwide, the United States surpasses other countries with the number of consumers increasing each year. As an industry which is illegal and immoral, many victims are forced into slave labor for sexual services. For sex traffickers, it generates an easy and profitable income. Although sex trafficking is a very serious concern, using women sexually for gain is part of U.S. society already, even legally. If within U.S. culture sex is seen as an acceptable way to appease any discrepancy, particularly in the business world—then what is in question is, how many of these women willingly agree to provide services in situations where there is a mild degree of force or expectation?
It may seem to be advantageous to give into demanded sexual situations if there is a benefit associated with it. With a tight economy, there may seem to be no other option. At the demand of a 3rd party, a woman might be expected to perform in some sexual way for another person, who is probably known, in exchange for non-monetary payment. As long as all involved get some benefit, it is a win-win, and for the performer, an extra means for perks. In the business world, a threat for employment may be enough for an individual to stretch boundaries to concede to sexual expectations to retain a job or as a double benefit for themselves and another individual. It might be being expected to be sexually available to a manager to protect their reputation, or as a way to be hired. There is a fine line between prostitution for employment and these encounters which mirror the sex trafficking model on a lesser level. How willing an individual is plays a factor into being enlisted for sexual services. What may be initially thought of as a one-time-sexual-incident, might end up being a subscription to the individual with the expectation to repeat sexual acts. Set intervals then become the standard to renew the agreement over and over. While these may be forced by another, each individual has a responsibility to set their own boundaries, and even in the most desperate situations, still has the right to say “no” and find other avenues.
A common complaint among women is there is an expectation to fulfill sexual needs of men within professional and social settings. Minorities, who are not Caucasian, are often expected to be the ones who will be available. The stereotype is not far from being accurate that certain ethnicities of women do not think twice about being expected to fulfill high demands of sexual needs—for them it is seen as innate to their culture. While it may not have been as prevalent of an expectation with Caucasians, it is becoming more incorporated as an expectation as cultures mix socially and within the workplace. For minorities who are in financial situations, using sex even if for a non-monetary benefit can be seen as profitable. If a person is expected to perform anyway, then why not do it for a perk or benefit? While the individual may not be open to full porn services which they market themselves for, they may be open to giving into the requests of a 3rd party to perform services if it is seen as more classy and has benefits as a result. For the philanthropically inclined, being coerced into sex may just need a little rebranding. By shifting their perspective to see a requested sexual favor as for the benefit of another, it is seen as a more worthy approach to what is demanded. Therefore, although reluctancy might exist, the service is considered acceptable. In some cases, individuals can be coerced not by threat, but by concept. Rather than selling sex as a mandatory activity, the non-official sex trafficker paints the sexual request done for another as a volunteer activity and one which would require a generous spirit, of which the person is capable of. This good karma will result in connections with desired sex partners and other non-tangible benefits.
Similar to those who are used in the business world or other settings, are those of wealth. Females of affluent families may be expected to be available for sexual services because of their status or as a social expectation of politeness. This can occur in work or social settings. Although they may not be coerced by a trafficker, it may be strongly indicated by a 3rd party, such as a family member or friend, as necessary. In this case, the required interaction is seen as an allegiance to continue a bond between families socially as a “tipping of a hat” of sorts. Providing sexual acts may be also self-demanded because of their upbringing. These interactions while they may or may not be enjoyed, have a relatively low threat level. It would be inaccurate that this obligation would the considered as sex slavery. Although it may be demanded the expectation is still within the acceptable boundaries these women set for themselves and participate in willingly without saying “no”.
Within the family, children are also subject to sexual demands with older members of the family serving as low-level traffickers. Children from the time they start becoming sexually active, might be expected to perform sexual services for the benefit of another. As minors, some are too young to live outside of the home. As a sex nuance, the child might be enticed with a benefit or gift in exchange for a high expectation to strip, be fondled or have sex at the request of a family member to win them over for specific reasons. Children may not know how to report the situation if they even realize this is wrong. Others might be abused if they do not do what is expected. Minors, even as teenagers may not see any other option, as they are trapped living in the home.
Beyond these work and society expectations, traffickers exist who manage loose business operations offering sexual services on-call as a provider of “a resource-in-place”. These calls are set up through a 3rd party who manages women in different areas to be on-call to show up in case there is a need to offset any perceived inconveniences or flaw of a specific person present there. Services are called upon, to simply show up and be available, whether needed or not. These connoisseur services are managed by a 3rd party who pays the “on-call sex temp” a small amount of cash, to be available in case sex is needed, for the perceived safety or benefit of another. A woman wanting to earn extra money, might be called upon to go to a local establishment to be available to provide for sexual services if needed to offset the inconvenience of another present. In many cases, there may not even be a threat or expectation from anyone there. The “one being saved” may have nothing to do with the connoisseur agreement, and in fact be humiliated as the “sex savior” shows up to advertise the unnecessary need. The 3rd party pays the woman, who has a chance of being needed, and she is expected, if requested, to offer exposure, stripping, or sex, for any offense. In a sense, the coercion is placed on the business owner who is forced to welcome a person offering suggestive services at the expense of his business. Without questioning for more information, some managers may see it as a favor bestowed to them. The 3rd party uses it as an intent to build a relationship with the business and to provide a low-risk, quick cash opportunity for the resource.
The same occurs in the business world to offset any potential error made by an employee. A 3rd party hires a woman who is paid to be the backup refund policy with sexual services she offers. Third parties will advertise such services even prior to employment of a candidate. The 3rd party provides the opportunity for these sexual providers to be available and recruits them to advertise their services as part of the package of what a new-hire brings to a company. Several issues exist with this. The first is that the candidate has no part of the negotiation. Secondly, it is presenting the idea that an offset is needed, and even prior to starting a new job. Thirdly, it is selling the idea that this type of prostitution becomes the expectation for anyone’s employment and works as an advantage to sell the candidate. Sexual services become the expectation for any employer that does not receive 100% accuracy or 100% satisfaction. There is no room for human error, gives no credibility to the hiring team, and encourages a culture of sex in the workplace. It is an unprofessional employment accessory which is being marketed as the new standard.
The highest-level of coercion by traffickers to willful participants, is discrimination. This trafficking is unique in that it spreads discrimination of an individual for employment and within society if not available for sexual services. Instead of the sex trafficker managing the sexual service, they manage the prevention of an individual being hired for employment or shunned within society until the sexual activity they desire occurs. Meanwhile, they revere the sexually available as more worthy of existence in any setting. This oppression, besides shutting doors, can take many forms of verbal disgrace, shun, and public humiliation. Propaganda can be passed to employers to shun a new-hire throughout entire teams and to customers, disregarding all HR policies and ending new jobs within a couple of days or even just a few hours. Traffickers select key individuals who will spread sexual hate comments, within the workplace, to earn a few extra dollars, at the expense of an employee present to be humiliated. Greater propaganda influences the views throughout cities in all places to publicly humiliate and mock. The thought process is by persisting with this, forcing their demands, the person with other standards will eventually concede. It can continue for years, if not decades, as sex trafficking members involved become so determined on forcing a situation with the intent of seeing conformity to their demands.
In the end, boundaries are important to have for any female. Parents need to teach children boundaries at an early age and what is appropriate sexually and what is not. The word “no” is important for all ages. Each female must determine what is acceptable and what isn’t, and to what extent she can sacrifice her life to it. Ultimately, sexual permission is in the hands of the individual, and anything else should be able to be walked away from, or if taken against her will then the individual(s) involved should be incriminated.
Written for Our Bread Foundation, Inc., June 2020
Learn more – See these resources…
Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery
by Siddharth Kara
Teaching True Love to a Sex-at-13 Generation
by Eric Ludy
Consent: The New Rules of Sex Education: Every Teen’s Guide to Healthy Sexual Relationships
by Jennifer Lang MD
Starring: Ashley Judd Elisabeth Röhm Sean Patrick Flanery
R-Rating (parents be advised)
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