Demand Hub Sex Trafficking

Caribbean Cambodia Brazil South Korea China Germany Israel





From scantily clad cheerleaders to groupies to VIP parties, sex and sports are linked in contemporary society. With no wives or girlfriends in sight, the adrenaline and alcohol fueled fans has the potential to create a concentrated demand for commercial sex. Unfortunately, this demand is sometimes being met by trafficked persons. Some of these victims will be underage — as young as 11 — who have been trafficked into prostitution, as well as other young women who have become ensnared in sexual servitude for a variety of reasons. A case in point: earlier this year in Florida, a number of arrests were made on charges of sex trafficking. In one case a Hawaiian man was caught trafficking an 11 year old child. As more cases are uncovered, the correlation between commercial sex trafficking and major sporting events is being documented.

Additional Reading

Sex goes to the Super Bowl | http://bit.Ly/b4Qvo7


Volunteers fight dark side of Super Bowl: child prostitution |

Sex (Trafficking) and Nachos: Superbowl Sunday Edition |


Perceptions of Atlanta: The Sex Industry Atlanta has a thriving adult sex industry. There are approximately 4,000 strippers who work at the 40 adult clubs in the metro Atlanta area (Emerson, 2005). As result, Atlanta has developed a national reputation as a sexual tourist destination. Internet sex guides and blogs offer comprehensive guides to escort services in Atlanta. Even Craig’s List advertises Atlanta-specific sex services. (Excerpt from Hidden in Plain View: A Study of the Atlanta Women’s Agenda)

Hidden in Plain View: A Study of the Atlanta Women’s Agenda


Contrary to what many people think, prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas but the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” media campaign and attitude has led tourists to believe that they can purchase commercial sex or engage in sex tourism without arrest or punishment.

Unfortunately, Las Vegas, often referred to as Sin City, attracts a large number of runaway teens, as well as pimps, and “johns”. With the constant demand for commercial sex, it is no surprise that Las Vegas is considered one of the top ten human trafficking locations in the world. Its culture of tolerance promotes promiscuity more than anywhere else in the country. Many tourists visiting Las Vegas do not come specifically for the accessible, tolerated commercial sex markets, however, the temptation is often hard to resist. In spite of the law prohibiting obscenity in advertising, magazine racks on the streets have free brochures and booklets advertising various sexual acts for sale.

Nevada is the only state in the United States that has legalized prostitution. However, the industry is heavily regulated by state and local government. State law prohibits prostitution in counties where the population is over 400,000, such as Clark County, which includes the city of Las Vegas. In spite of the law prohibiting prostitution in Las Vegas, prostitution is widespread there. In 2003, Carson City, Douglas, Washoe and Lincoln Counties banned prostitution. And although Eureka County neither permits nor prohibits brothels, the county does not currently have any. In the 12 remaining counties that have not prohibited prostitution, the practice can only take place in licensed brothels. According to state laws, all registered “brothel prostitutes” must frequently submit to tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Generally, prostitutes must be at least 21 years of age to work in a licensed brothel, except in Storey and Lyon Counties, where the legal age is 18. State law prohibit persons from actively encouraging others to become prostitutes as well as living off the proceeds on another who works as a prostitute. Currently there are between 25 and 30 licensed brothels in the State of Nevada.

Additional Reading

“Demand, A Comparative Examination of Sex Tourism and Trafficking in Jamaica, Japan, The Netherlands and The United States.” Shared Hope International. 2007

Sex trafficking in Las Vegas.” Shared Hope,

Las Vegas Mayor Considers Legalizing Prostitution in ‘Sin City’

Why Las Vegas is Locking up Child Trafficking Victims

“Las Vegas: Growing Hub For Sex Trafficking

Laws on Prostitution in Nevada

NRS Chapter 244 Counties: Government

NRS 244.345

NRS 201.354

NRS 441A.120

Further Reading & Media

Sex trafficking in Las Vegas (Shared Hope Documentary)


Mexico is a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking victims. However, a large number of Mexican boys and girls are trafficked within Mexico for the purposes of sexual exploitation. These victims are often lured from poor rural districts to urban and tourist districts. According to a recent report by ECPAT, Mexico has become the major sex tourism destination in the Americas. More than 16,000 children are estimated to be involved in the sex industry in the country’s popular tourist destinations of Acapulco, Cancun, Guadalajara and Tijuana. These cities have become magnets for sex tourists and paedophiles that prey on minors who have been trafficked to these areas. Mexican authorities and child-protection advocates say a weak justice system, police corruption and a lack of facilities to help homeless children have hindered attempts in Mexico to curb this epidemic. According to the Mexico City Human Rights Commission, both the child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation industries enjoy almost total impunity in the Mexican Capital. The Secretary of Labor launched awareness campaigns and workshops to address labor trafficking and the Mexican government has continued to work towards crafting a National Trafficking Action Plan. The Special Prosecutor’s office to combat trafficking has invested $1.4 million in 2009 to address trafficking prevention and reduce demand. However, these efforts did not culminate in any convictions or prosecutions of child sex tourists in 2009.

Additional Readings

Child Sex Tourism in Mexico

Child Sexual Exploitation Fuelled, Protected by Economic Clout

MEXICO CITY, Jul 27, 2006 (IPS) – While the Mexican government is touting the imprisonment of businessman Jean Succar, accused of running a child sex ring, as evidence of its tough stance against child sexual exploitation, authorities also admit that the number of minors subjected to such crimes has increased from 16,000 to 20,000 over the last six years.

Payan: Thousands Abused Every Year

Americans helping fuel Mexico’s child sex industry

Mexico: Lawmakers Want Registry for Tourists

Police Bust Mexico City Sex Trafficking Ring


Human trafficking is a major issue facing the Caribbean region. For example, in Haiti, an estimated 250,000 children80% of whom are girlshave been subjected to a system of domestic slavery termed “restavA?k” (a Creole word which means to “one who stays with”). As a consequence of the catastrophic earthquake in January, the number of persons who have been left vulnerable to exploitation has increased dramatically. Experts fear that the increase in children alone, whether separated from their families, or new orphans, or restavA?ks, who are now wandering the streets, will be absorbed by a culture that has looked on child servitude and child slavery as a normal part of life. Effectively, this increase the number of vulnerable children following the earthquake will result in a heightened demand.

Additional Reading


Study: Thousands Of Haitian Children Work As Slaves

‘Mission Sex’: Haitians turning blind eye to abuse by humanitarian aid workers (December 2009)


Trafficking Hotbed for Teenage Victims

Jamaica: Localization of Sex Tourism and Trafficking” Shared Hope,


Brazil has one of the worst child sex trafficking problems in the world. It also has a thriving sex tourism industry, with sex trafficking of Brazilian women occurring in every state and federal district of the country. [1] Foreign tourists from Germany, Italy, and other European states increasingly come to Brazil for sex tourism.[2] The age of consent in Brazil is 18; however, according to UN estimates “2 million young people under the age of 18 have been trafficked into prostitution.” [3]

In an effort to curb this epidemic, the Brazilian government has engaged in year-round prevention and awareness campaigns, with a peak of activity at a critical time: the Carnival festival, during which the illicit trade reaches its zenith. While Brazilian officials recognize human trafficking as a serious problem, the government’s response has been insufficient to eradicate the problem. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report, Sections 231 and 231-A of the Brazilian penal code prohibit the facilitation of prostitution within the country and internationally. The penalties for the violation of this code can include three to eight to years’ imprisonment with the possible increase to 12 years with the use of threats or violence. The Brazilian government improved efforts to prosecute forced labor crimes last year; however a 2006 presidential decree included a stated goal to amend Brazilian anti-trafficking laws and such amendments remain unrealized.

Additional Reading:


Some experts raise concerns that the legalization of prostitution is directly linked to the legitimization of commercial sex trafficking. They argue that the aggregate impact of legalization over the years in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and other countries has been to create major hubs of demand for trafficked women and children. As discussed in a report produced by the “Coalition Against Trafficking in Women” (CATW), legalization implicitly supports the view that “men need sex and are entitled to have it even if they have to purchase a woman’s body.” CATW makes the argument that as a consequence of legalization, commercial sexual exploitation is normalized, and demand is increased. Although there has not yet been an evidence-based research to verify this hypothesis, a growing number of countries, including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and the United States, are changing their laws to reflect concerns about legalization.

Additional Reading

Prostitution Fueling Exploitation of Women

Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work: UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry | Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Hidden Human Trafficking Info From Netherlands Revealed (

Increasing Concern over Human Trafficking in Germany

The Effects of Legalization of Prostitution on Human Trafficking


At the start of the new century, Israel found itself with an unexpected and unwanted reputation – as a destination hotspot for sex trafficking. In 2006, the United Nations named Israel as one of the world’s primary destinations for trafficked women. According to a Parliamentary Inquiry Committee report, between 3,000 and 5,000 women are smuggled into Israel annually where they are sold into the prostitution industry and subjected to continuous violence and abuse.[4] Most of the women are from the former Soviet Union, especially Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Uzbekistan.

According to anti-trafficking police chief Raanan Caspi, “progress” has been made: “in 2003 we used to find women who were being raped, incarcerated and suffering violence. The situation today [2007] is completely different – they get paid in most cases and the conditions that they’re in are much more humane.” [5] While it is true that, in recent years, NGOs and Government officials have achieved a measure of success in liberating and rehabilitating foreign women, and in convicting traffickers, the fact remains that the demand for commercial sex in Israel is still strong. In addition, according to some NGOs, the gap which has been created by the deportation or repatriation of foreign victims of trafficking is now being filled by Israeli women. Indeed, according to some estimates, hundreds of Israeli women are currently being trafficked internally within Israel to meet the demand which has yet to be significantly reduced.[6]

Additional Readings

“International Justice Mission – Spotlight: The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons,”

“Israel women trafficking soars.” BBC, March 24, 2005, sec. Middle East.

“Israeli Knesset Releases Report: Women trafficking to Israel Drops Sharply.”, December 17, 2007.

“Israeli sex trade under fire.” BBC, May 18, 2000, sec. Middle East.

“NGOs in Israel Warn Against Plan to Increase Russian Visas.”, December 17, 2007.

“Sex Slavery – The Growing Trade in Israel (VIDEO).”, April 7, 2008.




The commercial sex industry is flourishing in the Middle East. Most notably, underground prostitution rings are a problem throughout the region. , Many of the Gulf States, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, and Lebanon are significant hubs of demand. Indeed, the UAE has been dubbed the “Center for Prostitution in the Middle East.”[7] Many women, mainly from small towns in the Former Soviet Union and China, are trafficked to Dubai to fill the large demand for illicit sex that has been created by the huge influx of largely male, expatriate workers from the East and West. According to Conor Knighton, an investigative reporter, this demand runs rampant due to the “the ability to buy sex so easily, while the government looks the other way.” This, he continues, “has certainly kept many of the tourist and businessmen who visit Dubai coming back.”[8] Foreign national men are only part of the problem: new studies show that men from the Gulf States often frequent brothels themselves. According to an EPCAT International, a global network of organizations and individuals which aims to “eliminate child prostitution,” Syria has also recently become a popular destination for sex tourists, a demand driven by customers from wealthier middle eastern provenance; such as such as Saudi Arabia. [9]

Additional Readings

Sex Trafficking of Children in the Middle East

“Human Trafficking Plagues UAE” (Video)

Prostitution in Dubai: Ending the Cold War Accelerated Human Trafficking in the UAE


The World Cup, an international sporting event, attracts millions of spectators every four years. Events of this magnitude, where there is an influx of predominantly male fans, act as a magnet for commercial sex traffickers. This year, in South Africa during the world Cup (June 11 – July 11, 2010), it is feared that traffickers will bring in thousands of young women and girls, to meet the inevitable surge in demand generated by over 2.4 million sports fans. Experts estimate that 40,000 women and children are being transported into South Africa for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, making South Africa a clear hub for demand.

Additional Reading

“Ambassador CdeBaca predicts trafficking in south Africa in conjunction with the World Cup” |The Citizen: 2010 World Cup attracts human trafficking

“2.3 million tickets sold“| BBC News – FIFA denies African fans priced out of World Cup

40,000 prostitutes bound for South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, officials warn |

As Football Fever Heightens, so does the Demand for Sex Trafficking

SA prostitution (legalization) plans condemned |

German 2006 World Cup: World Cup Brings Little Pleasure to German Brothels |


Women and girls are trafficked both within India and into India from Nepal and Bangladesh and other neighboring countries. Huge red light districts holding thousands of women and children operate brothels offering girls as young as 9 and 10 for sale. Kamathipura in Mumbai, Sonagachi in Calcutta, Reshampura in Gwalior and Budhwar Peth in Pune all hold thousands of women, many of them in virtual captivity. Human Rights Watch estimates that over 15 million young women are trapped in prostitution. In Mumbai alone, over 100,000 are estimated to be in prostitution. Young women can live their whole lives in these brothels, have children (usually the offspring of their customers), and die there, often at an early age from HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Intergenerational exploitation is common.

A street in Kamathipura, the red light district in Mumbai

The current market for these young women and children is created by Indian men. While some claim that the origins of some of these districts goes back to the occupation of the British, who set up “comfort zones” for their troops, it was taken over by Indians when the British left. One new report estimates that at least 75 million men buy sex regularly in India — 24,000 clients every day is the estimate in Sonagachi, Kolkata’s red light area. One IOM study noted that they are ordinary citizens — men from all walks of life They cut across class, age and occupation, were mostly married or in a long term relationship not convicts, drug addicts or sexual deviants.Men who buy sex, most of them from mainstream society, are the single most powerful driving force in Asia’s HIV epidemic and constitute the largest infected population group, according to a new report.

Additional Reading

  • ‘Redefining AIDS in Asia: Crafting an Effective Response’ UN AIDS,
  • IOM Study on Demand


One of the main industries in Sri Lanka is tourism. Over half a million tourists arrive in Sri Lanka for the great climate, the beautiful countryside, and the beaches. However, there is an underbelly to this legitimate tourist industry: Sri Lanka has become a virtual haven for men seeking children to exploit for sex. Over two decades, the island developed a reputation for hosting European men interested in young boys. It is estimated there are over 5000 children trapped in prostitution in Sri Lanka today, most of them boys in the 7 to 16 age group. Although there is a market for it, the prostitution of girls is not as organized a trade as it is of boys. In 2006, Sri Lanka launched a two-year action plan to abolish child sex tourism. The ‘Zero Tolerance for Child Sex Tourism’ campaign launched by Sri Lanka’s Tourist Board with support from UNICEF targets tourists, children and teenagers as well as hotel keepers, journalists, families and community leaders.

Additional Reading

  • UNICEF: Zero tolerance for child sex tourism in Sri Lanka


The Cambodian economy relies heavily on the tourist industry.This lush tropical land with its beautiful beaches and ancient temples attracts many vacationers.Tourism is good and legitimate tourism needs to be encouraged. Unfortunately, there is dark underbelly which has flourished over the last twenty years: child sex tourism. Cambodia has come to be known for its thriving sex industry, where child sexual exploitation runs rife, and authorities are easily bribed to look the other way; thus, predators and child traffickers alike act with impunity.Today many NGOs and FBOs are working with Cambodian law enforcement officials to turn this situation around, but to date, Cambodia is still a major hub of demand for commercial child sexual exploitation.

Additional Reading

3 Americans Charged With Traveling to Cambodia for Sex With Children | News & Updates: Cambodia’s Thriving Child Prostitution Industry | Cambodia


China’s one child policy has created severe gender imbalances where boys outnumber girls by a significant margin. Because of a long-standing preference for sons, parents have actively engaged in gender based selective abortions/feticide, abandonment, and infanticide. Consequently, many millions of girls are missing and experts estimate that in this generation alone, over 37 million men will not find partners. Experts fear that this will generate a demand for trafficked women and girls — demand that will be met from countries like North Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mongolia, Thailand and elsewhere. In some provinces in China, reports are already surfacing of young women and girls bought and sold multiple times, shared by many men in one village, and subjected to sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, and domestic servitude (sometimes a combination of all three). Consequently, China’s one child policy is creating the next tsunami of demand.

Additional Reading

Female Feticide and its Impact on Human Trafficking |

The war on baby girls: Killed, aborted or neglected, at least 100m girls have disappearedand the number is rising |

What is happeningtowomenand girls in China? |




For years a number of international NGOs have raised a concern about a possible link between military personnel stationed in a foreign country and sexual exploitation. Now, new studies indicate that the full extent of this problem may go beyond what many would have predicted. One recent example: U.S. military men stationed in South Korea both frequented and guarded brothels filled with women and girls who had been trafficked from Russia, Ukraine, Southeast Asia, and other regions of the world. In addition, investigative journalists implicated U.S. military personnel as traffickers of women from South Korea to the U.S. through phony marriage schemes. In the course of the investigation, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) added new statutes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to prevent U.S. men from exploiting trafficking victims in brothels. DOD also tightened its regulations on marriage to encourage legitimate marriage and discourage schemes that used marriage for illegal or illicit purposes. Click to watch the video: The implication of this case? Concentrations of military personnel (not just U.S. military – military personnel from any country, as well as international peacekeepers) who are stationed abroad for prolonged periods of time can drive demand at both the base and back home.

Additional Reading

US Military Fueling Demand

VIDEO: US South Korea: An Investigative Report on International Sex Trafficking: US Military & South Korea |

Solving the problem of trafficking in women: The Women’s Human Rights Perspective by Cho Young-sook |

Ex-Prostitutes Say South Korea and U.S. Enabled Sex Trade Near Bases |

Addressing Demand

Prostitution crimes down among troops in S. Korea |


Image Sources

  • Map Design, File: Goode-homolosine.jpg, Wikimedia Commons, Image is in the public domain |
  1. Superbowl,
  2. Las Vegas & Nevada,
  3. Mexico,
  4. The Caribbean, File: tumblr_kxe8mx9EN91qaezi2o1_1280.jpg | Restavek Foundation, retrieved from
  5. Brazil,
  6. Germany & Netherlands,
  7. Israel,
  8. Gulf States, Image Source:
  9. South Africa, File: ctip_poster_color_logo.jpg, CHURCH ON THE BALL | Football World Cup South Africa 2010, retrieved from
  10. Brothels of India,
  11. Sri Lanka
  12. Cambodia, File: stop-child-sex-tourism1-420px.jpg| Stop Child Sex Tourism Campaign, Retrieved from:
  13. China, Imaged extracted from “Female feticide and its impact on human trafficking”. | Prism 2010,
  14. South Korea, File: 0102_01.gif, IOM retrieved from “Inside Korea” | retrieved from



Created By: Laura J. Lederer, J.D.

Map Design by

Eric Wells

Authors & Contributors

Laura Lederer Dyana Aziz Toni Cabangon Dianna Chamoun
Rya Gatt SookKyeong Gong Kristian Hinson Ashley C Mills
Damini Mohan Elizabeth Sarinana Nicole Williamson Edward Silvers IV
Sarah Strange Eric Wells


The Mapping Human Trafficking: Sex Trafficking Hubs of Demand Map

Part of Global Centurion Demand Reduction Strategy

2010 Global Centurion Foundation Inc., All Rights Reserved

[1] Trafficking in Persons Report. Vol. 10 Washington D.C.: US Department of State., 2010 pp., 89-92,

[2] “BBC NEWS | Americas | Brazil struggles to curb sex tourism.”BBC NEWS | News Front Page. N.p., 2 Dec. 2004. Web. 21 June 2010. <

[3] “Brazil struggles to curb sex tourism.” BBC, December 2, 2004, sec. Americas.

[4] “Israel’s sex trade booming,” Ynetnews, March 23, 2005,,7340,L-3062297,00.html.

[5] “Israel’s fight against sex trafficking,” BBC, November 6, 2007, sec. Middle East,

[6] “Traffickers target Israeli girls to replace foreign sex slaves.” Haaretz Daily Newspaper. August 16 2009.

[7] Conor Knighton. Dubai Prostitution. Current TV, 2007.

[8] Conor Knighton. Dubai Prostitution. Current TV, 2007.

[9]Sex Trafficking of Children in the Middle East