Debunking the Myths and Stereotypes of Sex Trafficking and Its Link to Labor


NEW YORK:  With approximately 17,000 women and girls sex-trafficked into the United States annually and tens of thousands more  trafficked for labor purposes, the second session of  AF3IRM’s Summer School of Women’s Activism will build the foundation of understanding the trade of women as commodities.

The second session will be facilitated by Fredi Kain, Joan Ariete and Nicole Ty, young women who have witnessed the impact of the commodification of women’s bodies in the sex and labor markets.

From porn to the sex trafficking of women, the facilitators debunk myths and stereotype of the sex trade as “legitimate” business and discuss both sex and labor trafficking from a five continents feminist perspective.  Ms. Kain, Ms. Ariete and Ms. Ty will provide a foundation for understanding sex and labor trafficking in the United States and overseas, the impact that it has on generations of women and how sex trafficking and labor trafficking are inextricably linked to each other.

The facilitators discuss the issue of “choice” versus agency, the problem of harm reduction, the mental health toll and how women’s bodies are created and used as a source of profit.  Sex trafficking is not just an international problem, it is prevalent in New York City.  As a “legitimized” business, the sex trade is subject to market principles where competition is invariably linked to race, class, gender, age, citizenship status and sexuality.  In ethnic neighborhoods, commercializing of very young women is almost par for the course.

The class will highlight the risk factors that make individuals, particularly women, susceptible to trafficking, the institutions that allow trafficking to exist and finding ways to become involved to eliminate trafficking in our own backyards.  The type of work where individuals are often trafficked: domestic work, nail salons, teaching, sweatshop labor, food service and migrant labor.  It is these women who are often left vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation.

Ms. Ty notes, “The creation of a temporary labor force and use of economic, psychological violence and citizenship status exacerbate exploitation particularly against women.”

As long as the business of exploiting cheap labor and the creation of sex as a “legitimate” business to support that idea that women’s bodies are for sale, women will always be treated as second class citizens.– #


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