International Relations
Online ISSN : 1883-9916
Print ISSN : 0454-2215
ISSN-L : 0454-2215
Trafficking in Persons as Sexual Exploitation: A Theoretical Approach toward Explaining Human Trafficking through Consciousness of Discrimination between Sex, the Rich and the Poor, and Citizen and Non-citizen
The frontier of International Relations 5
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2008 Volume 2008 Issue 152 Pages 132-152,L15


This paper attempts to develop a new model for analyzing the reasons behind trafficking in persons. Trafficking in persons in the form of sexual exploitation therefore is caused by differentials in power between sex, the rich and the poor, and citizen and non-citizen. From power differentials evolves discrimination, and discrimination is justified by power. Moreover, the paper suggests possibilities for constructing a social structure that is able to address the problem of discrimination.
By analyzing the trafficking of victims' throughout the world, based on the information provided by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), we recognize specific geographic aspects of human trafficking. Mostly, victims come from developing countries such as those in Eastern Europe or Asia, and their final destinations are developed countries such as Japan, the USA, or Italy. By scrutinizing the conditions for human trafficking based on the modern world-system theory we learn that “core” areas exploit “semi-periphery” areas. This finding applied to the problem of trafficking in persons then means that the “core” exploits the “periphery” physically..
However, modern world-system theory's explanation for the causes of this crime is insufficient. The existing deep discrimination between men and women or the rich, the poor, and citizen and non-citizen brings to light the relation of power between those who discriminate and those discriminated. In this sense, sex discrimination is caused by “nation states” politics, which is strongly patriarchal. Therefore, this politics forces women to be “peripheral”, i. e. to serve as assistants for men in society. Further, discrimination against foreigners is also strongly related with “nation states'” politics, which excludes “others”. Carrying this explanation further, we can argue that economic discrimination promotes people with power while discriminating “others”. The modern world-system structure ties agents' action, thus it is hard to solve the problem of discrimination. On the other hand, there are certain possibilities that agents' action can influence the structure of this world system.
The victims of trafficking in persons are forced to the bottom of the hierarchy structured by power differentials with discrimination and thus to fate of being the slave, whose human dignity is ravished by sexual exploitation. Thus it is essential to remove the consciousness of discrimination, which justifies power differentials between sex, the rich and the poor, and citizen and non-citizen. It is here, where cooperation with international organizations and NGOs serves our purpose.
Firstly, it is necessary to raise consciousness among those who ‘buy’ women, that their action is a “crime”. Secondly, it is important to enhance women's consciousness of being a victim. And finally, it is essential to bring the issue of trafficking in persons to the consciousness of the ordinary people, and encourage them to help the victims.

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